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Haley 2024 Is Set to Launch

It really isn't a secret that Nikki Haley has her eye on the White House. She's basically been running for the job since she stepped down as Donald Trump's ambassador to the United Nations. And yesterday, people around her confirmed that she's going to jump in... in just a couple of weeks. Why you effectively announce twice, depriving both announcements of most of their oomph, is not clear to us.

What is also not clear to us is what exactly Haley is thinking. What, exactly, is her path here? There have already been about 50 polls of the Republican primary field, and she's in all of them except the ones that are Trump vs. DeSantis only. In the past 2 years, she's never clocked in higher than 7%, and even that was back in December 2021. If we limit ourselves to, say, the last 6 months, she's never gotten higher than 5%.

It's true that we wrote an item yesterday about Gov. John Sununu (R-NH) in which we noted that he might make things interesting if he declares a presidential bid (something he is considering). And it's true that the pollsters don't even ask about him, such that he's never even pulled a 2% or 3%, much less a 5% or 7%. But there's the rub. Nobody has been thinking about Sununu as a presidential candidate because he didn't make his interest clear until this weekend. People have been thinking about Haley as a presidential candidate for years, and she's still not breaking through.

Her biggest problem, perhaps, is that Republican politics these days are defined in terms of the Trumpy lane and the non-Trumpy lane. But Haley is in both, which really means she doesn't fit in either. On one hand, she worked for Trump and has generally been supportive of him. On the other hand, she's also been critical of him at times, and she's failed to wholeheartedly embrace his culture wars stuff. Put another way, she's too Trumpy for the Never Trumpers, and she's not Trumpy enough for the MAGA crowd. Who's left?

Haley is also, of course, a person of color. It is true that many Republicans are willing to vote for a candidate of any ethnic background. It's also true that some Republicans are willing to vote for a Black candidate, in particular, because that allows them to say they're not a racist (kind of like "Hey! I have a Black friend!). We are not sure that dynamic extends to people of Southeast Asian descent, however. And, in any case, there are also certainly plenty of Republicans whose racial views belong in the 19th century and not the 21st.

On top of that, Haley is a woman. Recall that the appeal of Trump, for many of his voters, is his vigorous, di**-swinging masculinity. Will such people be willing to consider a female candidate? Or how about those evangelical Christians who believe a woman's place is in the home? Perhaps we are wrong in guessing that sexism is still a barrier for an aspiring female Republican presidential candidate. But, at least to this point in U.S. history, the proof is in the pudding. Since the GOP was founded in 1854, only three women have gotten delegate votes at the national convention, and two of those three only got one apiece. If you would care to guess who the three women are, we'll put their names at the bottom of the page. But in any case, until we are presented with evidence to the contrary, we have to interpret the fact that something like .001% of Republican presidential delegates have gone to Republican women candidates as a sign that the Party is not too likely to nominate a woman.

It's always possible we're wrong here, and that Haley 2024 will surprise us. But we really don't think so. The only thing that makes some sense to us is that maybe she's really running for the VP slot. There's no way that Trump would pick her; he loathes people who have criticized him in the past. But maybe Ron DeSantis might be interested. Still, that's a pretty longshot thing, enough so that it would not seem to justify 1-2 grueling years of campaigning. (Z)

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