With one week to go until Christmas Day, Americans are getting geared up – or have already begun – preparing for the roughly ten-day end-of-year lull and respite from the acrimonious world of hard politics starting next weekend.
There’s little doubt that the state of the country today and the presidential race situations of both major parties will surface during normal Christmas dinner conversations, but what is there to say? Neither the Republicans nor Democrats feature much of a race for folks to chew over as they nibble at their holiday turkeys, hams or rib roasts.
Nevertheless, some people won’t be able to help themselves. The stereotypical crazy uncle or trouble-causing grandma will light the proverbial spark, and the angst fire will burn hot from there. Many a celebration will be altered by such squabbling, including the last vestiges of doubt created by the impending caucus and primary elections in Iowa and New Hampshire next month.
Polls show former president Donald Trump dominating the GOP side. But would one of the other Republicans, Nikki Haley, for example, be a better choice in the all-important general election? Pass the gravy, grab some stuffing and plan for a little wine-enhanced political give-and-take before the dessert is even served.In an article titled “Why Nikki Haley polls better against Joe Biden than Donald Trump does”, Steven Shepard wrote recently at Politico:
“They’re independents and moderates. They hate Donald Trump and have mixed views of Joe Biden’s job performance as president. And they just might help Republicans close a historic gender gap.
“Those are the voters who tell pollsters they’d vote for Nikki Haley over Biden. But if the 2024 election is a rematch of 2020, they would back Biden over Trump.
“Polls clearly suggest Haley is a stronger general-election candidate than Trump, with Haley leading Biden by 4 points in the latest RealClearPolitics averages while Trump leads the president by 2 points and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis leads by 1 point. Some polls even show Haley with gaudy, double-digit leads over Biden — including a Wall Street Journal poll released hours before this column published that showed her a stunning 17 points ahead of Biden (Trump led the president by 4).”
17 points? Whenever survey numbers like those in the previous paragraph are reported, the gut reaction is to question whether they’re accurate, and then wonder if they signal something useful. I’d argue that it’s just a figment of some pollster’s imagination and doesn’t do much to further the real narrative.
There are a number of reasons why the “Nikki Haley would do better as Republican nominee than Trump would” scenario is a fallacy. First and foremost, there’s a great deal of wishful thinking out there among Trump skeptics, nominal Republicans, Never Trumpers and otherwise disinterested fence-sitters who hate Trump and speculate that Nikki Haley still has a chance in the Republican 2024 nomination race.
News flash to the political fantasizer crowd: she doesn’t.
I don’t need to cite a truckload of polling data here to demonstrate the point. Donald Trump is registering at or near 60 percent in the Real Clear Politics average with less than a month to go before the Iowa caucuses. True, that’s a national average, and his Hawkeye State numbers are slightly less impressive, but Nikki Haley can’t even lay claim to having a clear path to second place overall.
So, even if Trump “only” wins Iowa and New Hampshire by 30-ish and 25-ish points respectively, his margin in other places is bound to be bigger. In the end, then, it doesn’t really matter what individual polls show regarding hypothetical general election match-ups, because they are just that – hypothetical. Illusory. Ghosts. Shadows. Phantoms. One-way mirrors. Whatever.
These polls paint a picture of reality that isn’t possible. Put up Trump against Santa Claus on Christmas morning and chances are the North Pole dweller would come out ahead (at least in Never Trump homes and Democrat circles). But if Nikki Haley isn’t on the ballot next November, it doesn’t matter whether her lead over senile Joe (or whomever the Democrats settle on) is five – or fifty – points.
Next, Haley is attractive to self-identifying “moderates” now because the establishment media is going out of its way to portray her as a centrist. It’s true, Haley is no full-spectrum conservative, and that’s why most liberty-loving folks who call themselves conservatives can’t stomach her contrived phoniness. They’d vote for her in a straight-up match against broken-down old goat Biden (or whomever the Democrats nominate), but they wouldn’t be wild about it.
Haley, by appearances (not a female looks thing, either), is somewhat better than some of the wishy-washy squish establishment candidates of the more recent past. She talks tougher on immigration than George W. Bush, John McCain or Mitt Romney ever did, so there’s a reasonable expectation that she’d at least address the problem rather than merely smiling and winking while crossing her fingers behind her back like those other guys did.
But Democrats would eventually hate her – and smear her – just as much as they would any other Republican, depicting her as a radical on abortion and desiring to take food out of the mouths of children after she gets done pushing granny off a cliff. This despite Haley’s complete record which wouldn’t impress those principled individuals who value steely-spined boat rockers and anti-establishment types.
Third, any poll that shows Nikki Haley doing well in a general election contest clearly isn’t reflective of the number of votes the Republican ticket would forfeit if Donald Trump isn’t the nominee. Trump is perhaps the only candidate in either party who generates votes from the pool of indifferent or occasional voters, those so disgruntled and discouraged by the ruling class that they don’t bother to cast a ballot at all.
How do pollsters weigh such people? They can’t realistically be measured. Plenty of Americans will vote because they don’t like senile Joe Biden or Donald Trump, but would Nikki Haley motivate the otherwise apathetic political participant to get off the couch? Or, as some surveys have shown, African-American voters are discouraged this year, particularly black men. Would these traditional Democrats buck trends just to pull the lever for Haley?
Fourth, the Washington swamp establishment, which certainly includes media publications like Politico, wants Nikki Haley as the Republican nominee. Why? Because, as the fourth Republican debate demonstrated, she can be easily rattled and disturbed, with plenty of RBF (resting bitch face – it really does exist!) and multitudes of eyerolls following any remarks from an opponent that gets under her paper thin skin.
If thirty-something Vivek Ramaswamy could get to Nikki Haley (she called him “Scum” in the third debate), what would the much more nasty and aggressive Democrats do to her?
Lastly, it’s still almost a year away from the 2024 general election and Haley hasn’t been fully vetted on a national scale yet. Thus far, Haley’s flown mostly under the radar, traveling to the early voting states spreading her “It takes a woman to fix a country” nonsense to differentiate herself from Trump and the other Republican candidates.
It’s only been in the past couple months, when her polling numbers seemingly started to rise, that Haley’s been confronted with serious questions about her record, her allegiances, her connections to the corporate swamp – and her temperament. Ramaswamy’s “Nikki = Corrupt” sign was only a prop in a TV show/debate, but eventually Nikki’s going to have to answer for her ties to big money interests.
We’re already dealing with a corrupt first family. We don’t need another one.
The establishment media allowed Mitt Romney to skate by the intense scrutiny until he won the GOP nomination, and then it was open-season on the “47 percent don’t pay taxes” and Bain Capital money man. Conservatives had warned against Romney for a long time, but it wasn’t until the lead-up to the 2012 general election that his true flaws were exposed.
The media that declared Romney off-limits until it mattered will give Haley the same or similar treatment. Nikki’s not like Trump, who everybody knew prior to his entering politics. His brand was already well-established, even if many conservatives remained skeptical of his motives until he actually won the election and kept the vast majority of his MAGA promises.
By contrast, what is Haley’s brand, or unique selling point? Her sex, or as is more politically palatable these days, her gender? Yes, she wears dresses or skirts and high heels (no reference to Gov. Ron DeSantis’s shoes here), but other than these distinguishing characteristics, what sets her apart? Is it her age (roughly twenty-five years younger than Trump)? Or the fact she served in the United Nations? Her endorsements from wealthy not-Trump Republican donors and increasing number of late-race pickups? Or her demonstrated sell-outs to cultural Marxism during her tenure as governor?
The Politico article suggested Haley polls better in the general election because she attracts a much greater percentage of 2020 Biden voters than does Trump. What, besides pure personality considerations, makes Haley a superior choice for those folks but Trump doesn’t? Is it because Biden is such an awful president that these people feel let down, or did they finally realize that the Republicans have a better record of executive governance?
Would some of these pro-Haley voters change their allegiance once the either/or 2024 general election choice is clarified? If not, it’s merely a personality decider, something that will inevitably weaken Haley but won’t necessarily change much for Trump. In other words, Nikki can only go down from this point forward, since she’s actually not as likable as she appears right now.
Americans will do a lot of thinking over the coming holidays. The final week of the calendar year always brings opportunities to reflect on the happenings of the previous months – and years past. Lots of people are worried about the state of the economy and culture in this country, and serious as to pondering who would do the best job of leading a revival. We’ll soon discover their conclusions.
Joe Biden economy
Biden cognitive decline
January 6 Committee
Build Back Better
Marjorie Taylor Green
2024 presidential election