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The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

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Why Nikki Haley for President is a Mistake

The former South Carolina governor would only clear a path for another Trump nomination.
Photo Courtesy / YouTube NBC News

Former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley’s bid for the White House isn’t just a mistake — it’s a blunder that could potentially risk another Donald Trump versus Joe Biden matchup in 2024.

Haley is the newest, and currently, only challenger to former president Trump for the Republican nomination for president. Haley served as governor of South Carolina from 2011 to 2017 and as the United States Ambassador to the United Nations from 2017 to 2018 under the Trump administration.

As governor, Haley posed a challenge to some of the negative narratives and perceptions around the Republican party. For starters, she’s the daughter of Indian immigrants. She also brought South Carolina past the Civil War by removing the Confederate battle flag from the state capital in response to the massacre of Black churchgoers by the hands of a white supremecist in 2015. 

One would assume Haley would be hailed by the party to onboard two important voter blocs Republicans have struggled with in recent years: women and immigrants. But Haley’s flip-flopping isn’t likely to attract anyone at all.

Haley is simply just another politician. After accusing former President Trump of being sympathetic to the Ku Klux Klan and having the attitude of a “kindergartener” during the 2016 campaign, she seems to have done a full 180 without any reference to her past statements. She’s gone so far as to advocate for his re-election at the 2020 Republican National Convention.

Compare that to the current U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris. During a debate for the Democratic nomination for president in 2020, Harris accused future running-mate Joe Biden as being, wait for it, being sympathetic to racists. 

You could write an epic with Biden’s flip-flopping on key issues too. Take for instance his prime time fear-mongering during his 2023 state of the union address, saying Republicans are coming to slash social security benefits for Americans by sunsetting legislation every five years, despite Biden co-sponsoring an identical bill as senator of Delaware. 

Though Haley’s policy goals would be different than that of Biden’s, America would find itself in the same position it is now should Haley take office: led by a flip-flopper with an endless closet full of contradicting statements. 

Americans are tired of the status quo and Haley will only serve as a spoiler in a GOP primary. A February Reuters/Ipsos poll has Trump with the support of 43 percent of Republican primary voters, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis at 31 percent and Haley at 4 percent. 

Trump doesn’t need a majority of Republican voters to win. He just needs the field to become so crowded that he wins by plurality. A December CNBC poll shows that 61 percent of Americans do not want another Trump run for president and 70 percent do not want another Biden run for president. 

Haley does not have the same name recognition as any of the aforementioned candidates, including Trump and DeSantis. She has no path to victory in a Republican primary. To avoid another 2020 election, voters who want change should rally around DeSantis. His resume is the same, if not better, than anything Haley could boast. 

According to CNN exit polls for the 2022 midterms, DeSantis has shown his small government agenda can win a majority of women voters and appeal to minority voters given that he carried 58 percent of the Latino vote in a state with a large population of Cuban immigrants. Florida’s economy has grown immensely under DeSantis’ watch, and for the first time in data that goes back to 1982, the sunshine state has more jobs than New York. 

The choice here is obvious, and if Americans want to move on from the endless Trump versus Biden news cycle, they’ll pay Haley’s campaign no mind.

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About the Contributor
Sergio Padilla
Sergio Padilla, Opinion Editor
Sergio is a junior journalism and business administration student currently serving as Opinion Editor. He joined The Torch in 2021 as a contributing writer. He is born and raised in San Antonio, Texas. Outside of The Torch, Sergio has bylines in the San Antonio Business Journal and Pensions & Investments. When he's not writing, you can find him at the gym, watching cowboy movies or in line at Dunkin' Donuts. Sergio can be reached at [email protected]
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