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Reblogged:Haley at the Ready

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The Semafor, David Weigel opines that Nikki Haley is "riding a charming, focused, and consistent campaign to third place."

With polls all over the place, I presume Weigel is placing the former South Carolina governor behind Trump and one of DeSantis or Ramaswamy.

I think it is premature to consign Haley to third place: Aside from political junkies and Trump-worshipers, not that many people are paying much attention. This means that, while part of Trump's overwhelming-looking support is never going away, a significant amount remains persuadable.

In this context, Weigel's description of how Haley has been running her campaign sounds more like strategic patience than futility:
Image by Rachel Leppert, via Wikimedia Commons, public doman.
... Haley has built her own lane in the Republican primary. A relentless commitment to her message -- and even the anecdotes she tells on the trail -- has helped. Reporters are invited to watch her dazzle crowds, but they don't get to pepper her with questions after.

Instead, Haley gets to talk about her own electability, in sync with the voters showing up to see her. She pledges to "veto any spending bill that doesn't take us back to pre-COVID levels," a $1.8 trillion spending cut, without much detail. She leans into her support for funding the war in Ukraine, and commits to an amorphous abortion stance -- finding "consensus," to "save as many lives as possible" -- even as social conservatives protest it.


No other candidate in this race has executed an underdog strategy so effectively, with so little deviation from her original plan. Haley has managed to nail her core message -- that she's a fresher, more electable, less erratic alternative to Trump.
Yeah, Gus, but this depends on Trump imploding, you might say.

I say that with all his legal troubles, he may have already imploded, and closer to election time, it's going to look uglier to the persuadable part of the GOP electorate. And with Trump's volatility, there's always the chance he'll scare away a few voters on top of that.

Haley is building her case now, and has neither alienated nor pandered to the Trump base. She has been running a frugal campaign, but stands to benefit when big anti-Trump GOP donors -- who have been backing away from DeSantis since he began his stupid war on Disney -- decide where their best chances lie.

Haley does best against Biden in polling of any Republican in the field now, and there is no doubt that if Trump ends up in jail, or is declared to be disqualified from office, she would have a decent chance of winning the GOP primary. She is ready, if things break her way, and more people paying attention might constitute breaking her way in this election.

I wouldn't write her off just yet.

-- CAV

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