Nikki Haley—GOP Consultants’ Great (Indian) Hope Against Trumpism
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Pictured above right: actual Sikh Warrior Princess Mai Bhago.

Former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley just repeated her bellicose defense of neoconservative imperialism in her appearance on Sunday’s CNN’s State of the Union, a sign that the Regime Medias has decided to promote her Moment in the Republican primary [Full interview with Ambassador Nikki Haley, September 10, 2023]. After the August 24 debate, dollars poured into her campaign, and her poll numbers, although still far below President Trump’s, twitched. The usual pundits claim that the former UN ambassador is the candidate who can beat Joe Biden. My view: Her chances of victory in the primary are slim to none. But her GOP Establishment support is still disturbing news for immigration patriots—because it shows that they have learned nothing.

Small white pill: at 19:20 in the CNN interview, Haley dodged on deporting illegal aliens’ Anchor Baby children, and argued for a merit-based legal immigration system—which admittedly just means Indians like her.

Moral: Immigration patriotism must really be strong in GOP Establishment polling.

At the debate, Haley—real name, Nimarata Randhawa—didn’t say anything spectacular. Her staunch neocon sloganeering was nothing compared to Donald Trump’s famous speech as he descended the escalator in 2015. It was retrograde, pre-Trump, Conservatism, Inc., twaddle. She insisted that America needs Israel and America needs less government.

The only unique thing about her performance: her nuanced take on abortion restriction, which she claimed hurts Republican candidates.

An internal poll from the Trump campaign found that Haley was essentially tied with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and Indian pharmaceutical panjandrum Vivek Ramaswamy for second place in Iowa [Trumpworld sees Haley surging toward DeSantis, by Alex Thompson, Axios, August 29, 2023]. A DeSantis poll found her rising to double digits (11 percent) following the debate [Iowa poll shows Florida gov closing the gap on Trump after first Republican debate, by Houston Keene, Fox News, August 25, 2023]. A New Hampshire poll released found Haley tied with DeSantis for second place in the Granite State [Nikki Haley now tied with DeSantis in New Hampshire: poll, by Ryan King, New York Post, September 5, 2023]. A recent CNN poll found Haley performing the best among all GOP contenders against Biden in a head-to-head matchup [Nikki Haley is GOP’s best chance at beating Biden in 2024: poll, by Ryan King, New York Post, September 7, 2023].

Bur these numbers aside, she’s still choking on Trump’s exhaust fumes. The most recent Real Clear Politics average of GOP primary polls, by the way, puts her at 6.2 percent, behind Ramaswamy, who is puttering along at 6.6. Trump is still 38.5 points ahead of DeSantis, 52.7-14.2.


And DeSantis’s donors are defecting to Haley. “I think he’s done a terrific job as governor of Florida, and I’ve been, as I think you know, a big supporter of him in that role,” former Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner, who gave $1 million to DeSantis’s gubernatorial campaign, said. “[But] I think Nikki Haley probably has the best chance to win the general election. … I think everyone is trying to sort things out. We gotta win, we gotta win the general.”

Donors are turning away from DeSantis for several reasons. Some don’t like the restrictive abortion ban he signed this year. Others don’t like his fight with Disney and his alleged obsession with Wokeness. And many don’t like DeSantis’ lack of a firm commitment to neocon foreign policy [DeSantis built a massive network of big donors. Many have ditched him., by Alex Isenstadt and Jessica Piper, Politico, September 6, 2023].

Haley has repeatedly highlighted these facts about DeSantis. She contrasts her opposition to stringent abortion restrictions to DeSantis’s six-week ban. She has frequently attacked DeSantis’ fight with Disney and invited it to move Disney World to the Palmetto State [Haley slams DeSantis for his handling of Disney, by Lauren Sforza, The Hill, May 9, 2023]. And she has ripped into the Florida governor for not being pro-Ukraine enough.

Foreign policy is Haley’s central focus in the campaign. Her hawkishness may not be a hit with the base, but it’s certainly popular with the Donor Class

The GOP Elite want a candidate who will return the party back to its pre-Trump days. They don’t want a candidate who might bring the troops home and deploy them to the southwest border. They don’t want a candidate talking about immigration. They just want a pro-business, anti-Russia candidate committed to wasting American blood and treasure on pointless wars overseas.

That candidate turns out to be not Ron DeSantis. He’s too Trumpy. He suggests he might restrict legal immigration, end support for Ukraine, and (famously) target Woke corporations.

While the Establishment likes that he’s not Trump, they don’t want someone who pledges to advance Trump’s issues more effectively.

So, the GOP Ruling Class candidate appears to be Haley—who wants tax cuts for the rich and more tax dollars for Ukraine. Indeed, Haley—who once said she wouldn’t run in 2024 if Trump did—explicitly rejects Trumpism. Her campaign attacks DeSantis and Ramaswamy for being “Trump-lite,” implying that Trumpism must be purged from the party. That’s music to the ears of the Donor Class [Haley team blasts DeSantis, Ramaswamy as ”Trump-lite,” by Alex Thompson, Axios, September 6, 2023].

On top of that, she has a terrible immigration record. Haley attacked Trump’s immigration patriotism when he ran for president in 2016. She declared Trump’s proposed “Muslim ban” “un-American.” She falsely claimed “the fabric of America is based on legal immigrants” and insisted the GOP must welcome foreigners. And she removed the Confederate Battle Flag from the grounds of the South Carolina Capitol, erasing Southern heritage to satisfy the demands of the Left. Ann Coulter did not approve.

All this endears Haley to a certain kind of “conservative.” The New York Times’s house(broken) “conservative,” David Brooks, has proclaimed the Indian the “best alternative to Trump.”

Republicans have been unable to take down Trump because they haven’t been able to rebut and replace the core Trump/Ramaswamy ethos—that politics is essentially a form of entertainment. But time and again, Haley seemed to look at the Trump/Ramaswamy wing and implicitly say: You children need to stop preening and deal with reality. She showed total impatience for the kind of bravado that the fragile male ego manufactures by the boatload.

Nikki Haley Is the Best Trump Alternative, August 24, 2023

Haley also has big fans at the Wall Street Journal. Haley was an “adult” on the debate stage, columnist Kimberly Strassel wrote:

Nikki Haley was notably adult. The former South Carolina governor and United Nations ambassador showed a command not only of policy issues, but of her own convictions. She broke with the others to make a compelling case for Republicans to approach the divisive issue of abortion with more compassion, and to leave the tough particulars to the states. She called instead for federal lawmakers to focus on widely held “consensus” views—on late-term abortions, the merits of adoption, the need for available contraception.

Adults on the GOP Debate Stage, August 24, 2023

This creates the impression that the Establishment is crazy enough to discard DeSantis, former Vice President Mike Pence, and South Carolina Senator Tim Scott to rally around Haley against the Trump menace.

That’s a disturbing thought even if it’s unlikely to succeed.

A second-place finish behind Trump—whom Haley vows to support if he’s the nominee—would still be a bad omen. It would show what the GOP would be like without Trump.

Instead of Trumpism without Trump, it would be a party without Trumpism.

Haley’s ascent represents a GOP that is returning to its bad old self—no lessons learned from the Trump years.

This GOP/GAP would do more to help secure Israel’s borders than our own and fight harder for Ukraine than the Historic American Nation.

My view: Trump must not just defeat Haley. He must crush her. That’s the only way the neocons will learn that it’s not their party anymore.

Washington Watcher II [Email him] is an anonymous DC insider.

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