Haley exposes Trump’s weakness

Nikki Haley lost to serial sex abuser Donald Trump (SSAT) in the South Carolina primary by a margin of 60-40%. Some observers had expected that although she had vowed before the election to stay in the race whatever the outcome, that was jus bravado to keep her supporters motivated to still come out and vote for her. But after her loss, Haley gave a speech where she vowed to continue, promising to make big ad buys in Michigan that voted on February 27 (where she lost again by a margin of 68-27%) and in the many Super Tuesday states that vote on March 5th. Oddly enough, the more she loses, the more she seems to be enjoying being in the race and needling SSAT, which must be greatly infuriating him.

The media are portraying South Carolina as a big win for SSAT but I don’t see it that way. Sure winning by 20% points is pretty convincing in a normal race but not when you consider that as the former president, SSAT is like an incumbent with all the advantages that it brings. Furthermore, pretty much every member of the state Republican establishment, including its elected representatives, endorsed SSAT. Senator Tim Scott was particularly obsequious in his support for SSAT despite Haley having initially appointed him to that position. The only factor going for Haley was that she had once been the governor of that state, which would undoubtedly have helped her by giving her a lot of name recognition and familiarity with voters.

Furthermore, voters like to identify with a winner and the fact that Haley was almost certain to lose would normally have deflated supporters and kept them at home, feeling that there was no point. But that did not seem to be the case.

On a Beast of the South-East bus tour across her “sweet” South Carolina, Haley was often greeted by crowds of women and girls eager to see her make history. But also – and more importantly, they emphasize – she would restore a sense of normalcy to American politics.

“She’s not the best woman for the job. She’s the best person for the job,” said Judith Smith, who carried a homemade Run Nikki Run sign at a Haley event in Moncks Corner on Friday.

Those like Smith who recall Haley’s tenure as governor point to her stewardship of the state’s economy and her leadership in the wake of the racist massacre at the historically Black Mother Emanuel AME Church in 2015. Others cite her foreign policy experience as United Nations ambassador under Trump.

But a not insignificant source of her support is her opponent.

“To be honest, I hate Trump,” said Barbara Bates, 76, of Goose Creek, when asked about her support for Haley.

Not all of Haley’s supporters are anti-Trump. Some are enthusiastically pro-Haley. A group of Republican women cheered wildly and danced in the crowd as they waited for Haley’s bus to arrive in Moncks Corner. Some wore shirts that said “barred permanently” – a reference to Trump’s threat to ex-communicate any donor who continued giving to her campaign.

There are other warning signs for SSAT.

Behind every silver lining, there has been a cloud for Trump during the GOP primary, and otherwise sunny South Carolina proved no exception. With about three-quarters of the expected vote in, some 40 percent of voters rejected Trump.

That number itself isn’t a problem in a primary. But it includes some serious reasons for concern in a general election. Trump lost moderate and liberal voters to Haley by a wide margin, according to exit polls. And, according to AP VoteCast, a bit over 1 in 5 GOP primary voters said they would not vote for Trump in November if he was the party’s nominee.< ... “I’m an accountant. I know 40 percent is not 50 percent,” Haley said Saturday evening. “But I also know 40 percent is not some tiny group. There are huge numbers of voters in our Republican primaries who are saying they want an alternative.”

Alyssa Farah Griffin, SSAT’s director of strategic communications when he was in the White House, says that the South Carolina results should ring warning bells for SSAT and the GOP.

“Somebody who’s running as virtually an incumbent — Donald Trump — getting 60%, and 40% being against him? That’s not a mandate,” Griffin, now a CNN political commentator, said during a Saturday panel for the network. “Especially with the entire Republican Party apparatus behind him, with most elected Republicans behind him.”

Griffin continued: “Now, it’s unclear what a path could look like for Nikki Haley. I think we’re all very open-eyed about that. But she is underscoring the fundamental weakness of Donald Trump, and it should be a five-alarm fire for the party, but for some reason, it is not.”

Some of these people who did not vote for him will undoubtedly drift back into the Republican fold once the general election gets close. But SSAT should not be sanguine that all will, especially if he continues to provide an increasingly angry and dark vision of America. That kind of rhetoric will enthuse those who are angry and conspiratorial but tends to turn off those who seek a reassuring candidate.

While SSAT is undoubtedly going to be nominated as the GOP’s presidential candidate, I just do not see this as a big win for him.


  1. John Morales says

    Weak opinion piece, this.

    While SSAT is undoubtedly going to be nominated as the GOP’s presidential candidate, I just do not see this as a big win for him.

    A win is a win. He won, expected as it was, routine as it happened.

    The rest of the piece, suggesting that SSAT had to win by >> over Nikki in order to be credible is just weak bullshit.

    Winning the Republican nomination is not winning the actual election, which we all know, and there is no linkage made between those two things in that opinion piece.

    Not like those who supported Nikki instead in these primaries are gonna support Biden in the actual election, is it?

    Far as supposedly exposing weakness, that last quotation really tries to bullshit hard:
    “running as virtually an incumbent”
    (that’s a win, no?)
    “with the entire Republican Party apparatus behind him, with most elected Republicans behind him”
    (that’s a win, no?)
    “Griffin continued” with more bullshit, of course.
    The claim being that SSAT beating Nikki in every possible aspect somehow “is underscoring the fundamental weakness of Donald Trump”. As if the more advantages one has the lesser is the win.


  2. david says

    Let’s hope that the people voting for Haley are sufficiently disgusted with SSAT that, come November, they stay home. Especially those in swing states.

  3. lanir says

    I’m kind of surprised so many Republicans are still fawning over Donald Trump to be honest. Sure, Haley isn’t going to win this time around. But where’s Trump going to be next January? Assuming he’s not in jail, that leaves… begging Fox to give him a tv show so he can relive his days at The Apprentice? Making new NFTs? Maybe some wine to go with his steaks?

    I don’t think Trump is going to leave behind a void in the GOP that anyone else can step into. And I’m not sure where his political career could go if he loses this election. I get that opposing him seems like a bad idea but making a show of being supportive seems kind of pointless. Trump doesn’t care and neither do his voters.

  4. sonofrojblake says

    This really is baffling.

    While SSAT is undoubtedly going to [win], I just do not see this as a big win for him

    Eh? Literally everyone agrees there’s no doubt he’s going to win… and this is somehow NOT a win? What fucking universe is this? The delusion is strong here.

    Also, remember what we’re talking about here is Republican voters, choosing between Republican candidates in a primary, not a general election. Right now, they’re being offered the choice between strawberry and raspberry flavour ice-cream, and we’re supposed to be happy that 40% are choosing raspberry. And we’re supposed to be happy about that because later this year, when they’re presented a choice between strawberry and dogshit, we’re supposed to hope that they’ll pick dogshit, or just not have ice-cream at all? Again -- this is whistling-in-the-dark delusion and infuriating complacency.

    And there’s more:

    where’s Trump going to be next January? Assuming he’s not in jail, that leaves… begging Fox to give him a tv show so he can relive his days at The Apprentice? Making new NFTs? Maybe some wine to go with his steaks?

    Is that even a serious question, because you appear to have neglected the actual most likely possibility? How about THE FUCKING WHITE HOUSE??? That’s why they’re fawning over him, complacent Dem dipshits, they’re fawning over him because Biden’s numbers are tanking and Trump is DEFINITELY going to be the candidate and right now I wouldn’t bet against him winning -- would you? Because if you would, you are just not paying attention.

    Stop whistling in the dark. Register to vote. Get every sensible person you know to register to vote, and for fuck’s sake VOTE. Complacency and arrogance on the Dem side put Trump in the White House in 2016, and if this post and the responses to it are anything to go by he’s well placed to repeat that trick.

    Anyone with an above-room-temperature IQ should be terrified of a Trump victory this year, not sitting back and satisfiedly saying “eh, this isn’t really a big win for him.”

  5. birgerjohansson says

    SSAT’s ongoing dementia (no, it is NOT the same thing as age-related cognitive decline) will get worse.
    The idea of a televised debate between him and the 4-year-older Biden will demonstrate he is unfit, especially if Biden choses topics with words that Trump cannot pronounce due to neural damage.

    Also, the economy of the GOP is in a very poor state. They will not be able to outspend the Democrats.
    I am *cautiously* optimistic about November.

    Meanwhile, Nikki Haley -who would beat Biden, judging by polls -- will be able to say “I told you so” and be in a good position for 2028.

    But if Biden manages to win, the GOP is in a big demographic chrisis. They have come this far only by gerrymandering and picking SCOTUS judges. The young people are turning away and the old voters literally die off.
    And with Trump off stage and Fox News no longer peddling the lie it will be obvious the GOP congressmen were willing to sacrifice democracy, something challengers will remind voters of for the rest of their careers.

  6. sonofrojblake says

    Agree the dementia’s not going to get better. I’m not sanguine about that mattering, though.

    Re: televised debate -- I don’t think it’ll do either of them any favours. Biden is eighty one. I’m not one of those people who thinks he’s losing/lost it -- he’s damn fit for a guy of 81, mentally and physically… but that qualifier matters, and the fact that Trump is also in physical and mental decline again doesn’t seem to matter to people who support him. Bear in mind that in the good old days of the cold war the leaders of the USSR looked almost comically ancient, and by the time he’d reached Biden’s age Leonid Brezhnev had been dead for six years. If some eastern European former Soviet state was lining up two guys this old to contest leadership they’d be laughed at and called a gerontocracy.

    I’m not optimistic about November -- I’m terrified (partly because like eight billion other people, I don’t get a vote but will be affected by the result). Nothing I’ve read or seen makes me think it’s anything other than a knife-edge right now. About a year ago I posted here and said this, to some ridicule at the time: bet me, now, that Trump won’t be the candidate. Bet me twice as much that WHEN he’s the candidate, he’ll get fewer than fifty million votes. A year ago, even the first seemed unlikely. Now? Has anyone updated their opinion based on the observed facts?

    I agree that Haley, unlike DeSantis, has done a good job of setting herself up for ’28. It’ll be interesting to see how that pans out. A Haley/Harris showdown for the Presidency would be quite a thing -- guaranteed woman President, and neither of them likely to just take the voters for granted.

    I hope you’re right about demographics, and about that I am cautiously optimistic. The generations behind mine seem to be bucking the trend and not getting as right wing as their forebears as they age. Come on kids -- my parents’ generation pulled the ladder up behind them, and my generation haven’t done much to fix it -- it’s nearly your turn to have a go. Do better than we did, please.

    it will be obvious the GOP congressmen were willing to sacrifice democracy, something challengers will remind voters of for the rest of their careers.

    I think a large part of the problem is that a lot of Americans actively don’t want democracy, because over the last 20 years it has finally dawned on them that “democracy” means brown people and atheists getting a vote that gets counted, and that, to them, is just not on. They want “democracy” as it pertains to them getting a vote what kind of gas gets used in the chambers, they don’t want the wrong sort of people getting votes and rights and all that. The quiet part was said out loud just last week when that chap at that CPAC thing talked about the end of democracy, just before the UK’s worst-ever prime minister had the sheer brass neck to speak in public.

    I could rant for a long time about Liz Truss, but I’ll just say she make Margaret Thatcher look like FDR. And in case you want a feel for how the UK feels about Margaret Thatcher, never forget that the week she passed away the number one song in the pop charts was “Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead”. I am not making that up.

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