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Haley Wants to Be in Trump's Cabinet

Last week, Nikki Haley caved and said she would vote for Donald Trump, even though she has called him unfit and many other things. Now she has gone a step further and said she is open to working with Trump in some form. This is code for "I want to be in the Cabinet." Trump replied that she is very capable and there could be a place for her on his team.

Trump undoubtedly hates her guts, but knows that about 20% of Republicans voted for her in the primaries. He needs those voters. Her merely voting for him might not convince her supporters to vote for Trump. He needs more, namely, that she formally endorse him and actively campaign for him. She could possibly make a deal that if she campaigns for him, he will put her in the Cabinet. Of course, he could double-cross her and then after she worked her heart out for him, not make an offer. But she is not in a strong negotiating position here.

From Haley's point of view, disappearing from public view until mid-2027 could be fatal, but if she is in the Cabinet, that would give her visibility for a 2028 run. Hence, if Trump promises to put her in the Cabinet in return for campaigning, she would probably risk it. When reporters ask her about all the terrible things she said about Trump, her reply would simply be: "Trump is not perfect, but Joe Biden is an unmitigated disaster for the country, so he must be stopped at all costs." That might work with Trump. Whether it would work with her supporters is less clear.

In some ways, Haley is not unique. Among all Republicans, 15% view Trump unfavorably and half of those view him very unfavorably. But most of them see Joe Biden as truly evil. This puts them in a bind. If Haley were to actively campaign for Trump and yell at the top of her lungs that Biden is old and senile and dangerous, that might be enough to get some anti-Trump Republicans over the hump and have them come home. This might be her only way to stay relevant until the show starts again in 2027 (assuming that 2024 is not the last presidential election ever). Although keep in mind that she was a Cabinet-level official in the first Trump administration, and where did that get her? (V)

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