Home » Despite her great popularity, Nikki Haley will not be able to become president of the United States. here’s why

Despite her great popularity, Nikki Haley will not be able to become president of the United States. here’s why

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Despite her great popularity, Nikki Haley will not be able to become president of the United States.  here’s why

The results of the South Carolina Republican primaryon February 24, fell a few minutes after the closing of the polling stations: a new victory for Donald Trump.

In a state where Nikki Haley served as governor, the equivalent of prime minister, this is a terrible defeat. It seems to confirm the inevitable nomination of Trump as Republican candidate for the 2024 presidential election, especially after another defeat, that of New Hampshire, the state where she had the best chance of winning according to the polls.

Even if Haley succeeded to achieve a victory in the District of Colombia on Sunday, this should probably not change anything in the race. His campaign is expected to end after Super Tuesday tomorrow, when 15 states will decide for this electoral race. Statistically, tomorrow’s results will not be able to formalize Trump’s nomination. But it seems to be only a matter of time. The Supreme Court has also just confirmed Trump’s eligibility to run in the presidential election.

However, despite this announced defeat, it is Nikki Haley who stands out in the polls for the upcoming presidential election.

How can we explain such a discrepancy?

A doctoral student in political communication at the University of Montreal, my research focuses mainly on American politics, particularly on high-profile elections and the transformation of the Republican Party.

Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley stands in the crowd after speaking at a Republican campaign event in Raleigh, North Carolina, March 2, 2024. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton )

Nikki Haley, ahead of Trump and Biden!

A recent survey comparing Nikki Haley to Joe Biden in a hypothetical presidential duel revealed an advantage of more than 15 percentage points for the Republican candidate.

Certainly, the average of the polls does not allow us to demonstrate such a large gap for Haley against President Biden. But she still reaps a greater advantage than her counterpart of the same party with a margin of around 4.9%, against 1,5 % pour Trump.

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Thus, among the important candidates still in the running, Haley would most likely be the one who would garner the most support in the next presidential election.

But within her own party, Haley trails Donald Trump on average by more than 60 percentage points.

What makes all the difference are voters affiliated with neither of the two major traditional parties, that is, the independent vote.

The results from New Hampshire confirm this: if this state was considered the most advantageous for Haley, it was notably due to the significant presence (almost 40%) of independent voters.

Through her more moderate policies, Haley managed to reach this part of the electorate, thus explaining her popularity in national polls.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally March 2, 2024, in Richmond, Virginia. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

But the problem for the former South Carolina governor is support, or rather, lack of support among the Republican electorate. Faced with Trump, she only accumulates the quarter of the members of his own party in the New Hampshire and South Carolina primaries, the two races in which she was best positioned.

Americans do not want another Trump-Biden duel

Despite everything, Haley continues to hang on, repeating that the majority of Americans do not want to see a duel between Trump and Biden again, and thus presenting herself as the alternative.

Indeed, a 2023 survey allowed this trend to crystallize, while around six in ten people indicated that Trump should not run in the next presidential election. As for Biden, the proportion rose to seven in ten people.

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On the one hand, the former Republican president accumulates criminal trials and perpetuates the lie that the 2020 election was stolen from him. His role in theinsurrection of January 6, 2021his political incivility and his tendency towards the autocratic also motivate the negative sentiment towards the re-election of the 45th president of the United States.

On the other hand, Joe Biden’s age undermines the credibility of his candidacy and seems to increasingly worry the American electorate. The majority of his party members thinks he should not run again. Recent moments of confusion in his speech have helped fuel the aura of weakness around the current president.

President Joe Biden speaks to the media before boarding Marine One at the White House, March 1, 2024. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Even if Biden and Trump are relatively the same age, this factor is felt much more for the Democrat, helping to tarnish the image of his potential re-election.

A political system on the verge of breakdown

Why is Haley remaining in the primary race despite her disadvantage?

Part of the answer lies in its financial resources. As she now positions herself as the figurehead of the anti-Trump movement, she attracts the support of many donors. This allows him both to continue his campaign, but also to legitimize its continuation.

In fact, Nikki Haley appears more and more as the symbol of the failure of the American political system: a president that the United States cannot have.

Haley’s inability to win the Republican primaries was due to the fact that these less important elections attracted low turnout rates. Thus, a mobilized minority, Trump supporters in this case, manages to impose its will on this electoral process, thus contributing to the emergence of a more radical fringe within the party. Trump’s particular situation, rare president to run for a second non-consecutive termalso contributes to his popularity and the feeling of inevitability of his election to represent the Republican Party in the next presidential elections.

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Thus, Haley cannot achieve her electoral popularity in the face of a political system that imposes an almost inevitable two-party system. It offers him no real way to get elected.

Marked by the current context of a increasingly important polarization, the American political system appears to be on the verge of giving in. Even Biden’s candidacy, despite his age, bears witness to this. The current president, who represents a more moderate fringe of the Democratic Party, seems to embody the only candidate capable of rallying the country against Trump. But every day he becomes the oldest president in United States history.

Ultimately, despite the near-impossibility of the election of Nikki Haley as representative of the Republican Party for the 2024 presidential election, the candidate symbolizes above all something that goes beyond partisan lines: a sick political system. If the solutions to this situation appear limited, let us dare to believe that 2028 will leave room for the development of new possibilities.

Due to their respective ages, and the constitution which limits presidential terms to two, neither Trump nor Biden should run again in the next elections. The cards are already starting to be shuffled for the future.

While her race could probably end tomorrow, Nikki Haley embodies the hope of a new future, but the realization of which remains more than uncertain.

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