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Despite Humiliating Loss in South Carolina, RINO Haley on a Mission to Destroy America First Movement

Despite Loss in South Carolina, Haley Resists Pressure to Quit

Haley has vowed to press toward Super Tuesday despite a double-digit loss in the state she served as governor for two terms.

February 25, 2024 (CHARLESTON, S.C.): Nikki Haley made just one prediction about this state’s Republican primary election. She said, “South Carolina will vote on Saturday. But on Sunday, I’ll still be running for president,” in a speech at Clemson University on Feb. 20.

Both are true, though an increasing number of observers wonder why.

The former U.N. ambassador continues her quest for the Republican presidential nomination despite losing her home state to President Donald Trump by 61 to 39 percent on Feb. 24 and having no readily apparent pathway to victory.

“I’m not giving up this fight when a majority of Americans disapprove of Donald Trump and Joe Biden,” Ms. Haley said in downtown Charleston after the race was called for President Trump.

Ms. Haley trails the former president by 61 percentage points in national polling. He has defeated her in each of the four early primary contests, collecting 139 convention delegates to her 20. And only the most cheerfully optimistic Haley supporters will say, when pressed, that, “Sure, she can win this thing, you betcha.”

Critics have outright called on Ms. Haley to exit the race.

Even before the polls closed in the primary election, Trump spokesperson Steven Cheung attacked Ms. Haley for being in the race, calling her President Joe Biden’s “biggest surrogate.”

Why doesn’t she just quit?

Ms. Haley appears to have a number of reasons for continuing her inscrutable run for the White House.

She Can

It is axiomatic in politics that campaigns end when they run out of money. That acknowledges the fact that donors fund campaigns with the expectation of winning. When winning seems to be impossible, the money dries up.

That hasn’t happened to Ms. Haley so far. Despite her failure to win in Iowa, New Hampshire, or Nevada, donors have kept supporting her

Super PACs committed to Ms. Haley had more than $22 million in cash on hand at the end of the year. The campaign itself had another $15 million, much of it contributed by a handful of “never Trump” billionaires.

“She’s obviously got the money to keep campaigning, and, as she has said, there’s no reason for her to drop out,” Patricia Crouse, professor of political science at the University of New Haven, told The Epoch Times. “There’s nothing that says she shouldn’t stay in the primary race.”

Beyond the high-dollar funders, many Haley voters are eager to see her continue the campaign despite the lengthening odds against her. Their reasons vary, the common denominator is their desire for a Republican alternative to President Trump.

“I was very angry that in 2020 the Republican Party of South Carolina did not give me a choice of who to vote for because we didn’t have a presidential preference primary,” Barbara Bates, 76, of Goose Creek, South Carolina, told The Epoch times. “I appreciate Nikki hanging in to give me a vote in the primaries.” Ms. Bates said she voted for President Trump in 2016 but by 2020 was ready for a change.

Nancy Hade, 65, of Goose Creek was more direct about her reason for wanting Mr. Haley in the race. “Because I can’t stand Trump,” she told The Epoch Times.

Indeed, some might ask why she would quit.

Image above: [Four-time loser] Nikki Haley speaks with supporters at a campaign event in Moncks Corner, S.C., on Feb. 23, 2024. (Ivan Pentchoukov/Epoch Times)

“It’s extremely rare for somebody to get out this early,” Henry Olsen, a senior fellow at the Ethics and Policy Center, told The Epoch Times. “She seems to still have a strong, albeit a minority, base of support that wants her to stay in the race. And so there’s a sense of not bailing before your supporters are ready for that.”

“I hope she will keep running,” Ms. Hade said. “The election is not over until the election is over.”

It Ain’t Over

The former president has now won four consecutive primaries, beating Ms. Haley by a wide margin in the three where both were candidates. That is not unexpected for a candidate who carries nearly the authority of an incumbent.

Yet Ms. Haley sees these primary results as a sign of weakness for President Trump rather than strength. She frequently cites her 43 percent finish in New Hampshire as proof that a large number of Republicans do not support the former president, a point she reiterated in her speech to supporters after this primary. “There are huge numbers of voters in our Republican primaries who are saying they want an alternative,” she said.

She argues that while the margin of victory may be enough to ensure President Trump the nomination, it’s too narrow to make him a shoo-in for the general election.

President Trump would defeat President Joe Biden in a general election by 42 to 40 percent, according to a HarrisX poll released Feb. 23. Robert F. Kennedy Jr. would command 14 percent of the votes, according to the same poll.

Ms. Haley and her supporters are quick to point out that she would be more likely to prevail against President Biden in November.

“Trump does not beat Joe Biden,” Ms. Haley told reporters in Columbia on Feb. 2. “The Quinnipiac poll yesterday shows that I defeat Biden.”

Image above: Bitter RINO presidential 'candidate' and former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley speaks during a campaign event at Clemson University in Clemson, S.C., on Feb. 20, 2024. (Madalina Vasiliu/The Epoch Times)

According to the most recent poll, released by Marquette University on Feb. 22, Ms. Haley would defeat President Joe Biden in the general election by 16 percentage points. That poll did not include Mr. Kennedy as an option. Other polling shows Ms. Haley beating President Biden by just 3 percentage points.

Haley supporters are hopeful that others will come to see Ms. Haley as the more electable choice.

“If you look at the big picture, do we want to win?” Melanie Sabelhaus, co-chair of Women for Nikki, said on Feb. 23. “Wake up America! We want to win. The polls are saying ... she can beat Joe Biden.”

So far, the majority of Republican primary voters have been unmoved by that argument, especially in South Carolina. Exit polling on Feb. 24 revealed that 83 percent of voters believed President Trump was likely to beat President Biden in a general election matchup. Just 55 percent said the same of Nikki Haley.

In any case, President Trump is now on track to clinch the Republican nomination in early March.

To win the party’s nomination, a candidate must secure a commitment from 1,215 of the 2,429 delegates to the Republican National Committee’s nominating convention to be held in July.

President Trump has so far secured 139 to Ms. Haley’s 20.

Another 1,215 delegates will be awarded on Super Tuesday, March 5, when 15 states will hold primary elections or caucuses. If Ms. Haley is unable to gain a healthy share of those delegates, the race will be effectively over.

After Super Tuesday, Ms. Haley will have a decision to make, according to Rep. Ralph Norman (R-S.C.), who has been one of Haley’s most prominent supporters.

“What she’ll do is count the delegates up,” Mr. Norman told The Epoch Times. “At the end of the day, everybody will come together, whether it’s [for] Nikki Haley or Donald Trump.”

To Influence Policy

A cold, pragmatic assessment of delegate math makes Ms. Haley’s ongoing campaign seem illogical. Yet that reasoning does not account for the fact that nearly all candidates have multiple motives for entering a race, especially a presidential race.

Most of the 13 Republican candidates who appeared at Iowa’s Lincoln Dinner last July voiced some vision for change that they hoped to bring about. Yet most lacked the support in donations or polling to make the cut for the Republican debates. Nearly all dropped from the race by summer’s end.

Ms. Haley has said she continues to run for the same reason virtually all candidates enter a political contest: to effect change.

“I’m running for president because we have a country to save,” Ms. Haley said on Feb. 20. She reiterated the tenets of her platform, which include improving educational outcomes, securing the southern border, ending the fentanyl crisis, reducing urban crime, and restoring America to prominence as a world leader.

“Since the start of my campaign, I’ve been focused on the real issues our country faces. The ones that determine whether America will thrive or spiral out,” she said.

Image above: Nikki Haley supporters await her arrival at a campaign rally in Moncks Corner, S.C., on Feb. 23, 2024. (Ivan Pentchoukov/Epoch Times)

It’s possible to advance some elements of that agenda without winning the race, according to Mr. Olsen.

“If she’s able to win a significant number of delegates, there could very well be discussions about things in the platform or policy accommodations that President Trump could make to unify the Republican Party,” he said.

Indeed, many who support Ms. Haley do so because they like her ideas.

“She was an awesome governor for us,” Rob Hanawalt, 42, of North Charleston told The Epoch Times. “I’ve had my own business for 19 years, and she’s good for business. But she’s not good for business against people. She’s good for everybody.”

What’s Next?

Will Ms. Haley accept a spot on the Trump ticket? Will she launch a third-party run with No Labels?

Haley herself, and a host of experts, have denied the first possibility and discounted the second.

“Some people used to say I was running because I really wanted to be vice president. I think I’ve pretty well settled that question,” she said.

Matthew Wilson, a professor at Southern Methodist University, agrees. “Trump does not respond well at all to people who have been sharply critical of him. And as she has ramped up her criticism of him over the last several weeks, I think she has made that less likely.”

President Trump, for his part, has ruled out Ms. Haley too.

Experts find it equally unlikely that she will mount a third-party bid because of the political risks involved.

“She could well be attracted to the No Labels folks,” Mr. Wilson said. “If she were to do that she would completely burn her bridges with the Republican Party,” he added.

So what’s next for Nikki Haley?

According to her schedule, it’s a campaign swing through Michigan, a key battleground state with a primary election on Feb. 27.


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