X Close

Why Nikki Haley won’t quit

Nikki Haley at an election night event on Saturday. Credit: Getty

February 25, 2024 - 10:55am

Nikki Haley did something unusual on the eve of yesterday’s brutal home-state defeat. On a Friday call with reporters, her campaign manager announced a seven-figure ad buy, arguing that “this has never just been about who can win a Republican primary.” 

Sure enough, last night Haley lost another Republican primary, this time by roughly 20 points. The former United Nations ambassador has lost Iowa, New Hampshire, and now her “sweet” South Carolina by double digits. 

Less discussed, however, is that Haley went into every one of those major races with more money than her opponents. Even in Iowa, where the DeSantis campaign infamously concentrated its resources, Haley and her allies spent more. She lost big. 

In New Hampshire, Trump spent less than half of Haley’s $30 million on his 11-point victory. After that loss, Haley poured $14 million into South Carolina while her opponent didn’t even break seven figures. Heading into Super Tuesday on 5 March, when a third of all delegates are up for grabs, she trails Trump by nearly 60 points in the RealClearPolitics national average. 

This is not what most people would consider a good investment. Nonetheless, wealthy donors are keeping Haley flush with cash, as evidenced by the huge ad buy announced on Friday. Clearly her backers aren’t betting on a win as big donors often do. They are, however, betting on a winner. 

By positioning herself as a dogged challenger to Trump, Haley is winning hearts and minds in the corridors of power. She’s rubbing elbows with future benefactors in the donor class and media. She’s earning goodwill with Trump’s bitter opponents whose bank accounts are as big as her ambitions. What they’re backing is essentially a Haley-led public relations campaign against the former president. (And potentially a decent head start for Haley should some kind of black swan event take Trump out of the race.) 

For her part, Haley can ride the post-primary wave into a new position of prominence among the powerful people who soured on her for serving Trump in the first place. This is why she didn’t drop out after Trump won 54% of the vote on a budget in New Hampshire, and why she didn’t drop out before her fellow South Carolinians sided with her opponent by a wide margin. She’s not running just to win the support of Republican voters. 

Haley’s most powerful argument has little to do with policy. “Does anyone seriously think Joe Biden or Donald Trump will unite our country to solve our problems?” she asked in her concession speech last night, echoing frequent statements from her campaign, including “70% of Americans don’t want to watch Grumpy Old Men stumble across America when our country is on the brink and the world is on fire.” 

On the trail, Haley assures voters repeatedly that she’s their best bet at beating Biden. Some polling bears this out, and yet it’s telling that all the money in the world can’t convince GOP voters to ditch Trump. As recently as January, a Reuters/Ipsos poll found 61% of Republicans surveyed agreed they were “tired of seeing the same candidates in presidential elections and want someone new”. 

On paper, that’s a massive opening for a younger candidate with conservative bonafides and plenty of money. But “someone new” didn’t translate for any of the Republican candidates with much more traditional political backgrounds than Trump’s. 

“40% is not some tiny group,” Haley insisted during last night’s concession speech, referring to the votes she won at home. She isn’t wrong, but 17% actually is a tiny group — and that’s how many GOP voters support the former governor nationally. Thankfully for her, though, to run a winning campaign this time around Haley only needs support from around 1% of the country.


Emily Jashinsky is UnHerd‘s Washington D.C. Correspondent.

emilyjashinsky

Join the discussion


Join like minded readers that support our journalism by becoming a paid subscriber


To join the discussion in the comments, become a paid subscriber.

Join like minded readers that support our journalism, read unlimited articles and enjoy other subscriber-only benefits.

Subscribe
Subscribe
Notify of
guest

55 Comments
Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
5 months ago

She’s yet another grotesque money hustler grown in the U.N. Petri dish. Everything wrong in the world today can be laid the feet of her ilk.

Daniel P
Daniel P
5 months ago

Put another way…..she is running on behalf of the people that Trump and his supporters detest.

Aidan Twomey
Aidan Twomey
5 months ago
Reply to  Daniel P

Well, the feeling is mutual. I thought Trump was a good president, but he has gone mad since then. Now, what kind of sick citizen could support a candidate who wants “vengence” on fellow citizens? If Haley has the support of 17% of the Republican party, it means that there are 17% of conservatives who hate the toxic fatball enough not to vote for him, so he hasn’t a hope of beating Biden. I hope is supporters choke on 4 more years of a Senile progressive.

Carlos Danger
Carlos Danger
4 months ago
Reply to  Aidan Twomey

I have a tough time figuring out why some people hate Donald Trump so much. In my mind, it doesn’t make much sense. His threats of vengeance, like most of his comments at rallies, seem bluff and bluster, faux and hyperbolic. It’s his shtick.
To take his threat of vengeance, for example. He’s talking about retaliation for the actions that have been taken against him, and they are legion. The FBI’s Operation Crossfire Hurricane. The Meuller investigation. Two impeachments. Bans from social media. The January 6 committee investigation. Four criminal indictments with 91 felony counts. A civil fraud case. A civil rape case. Ballot disqualifications.
You may not like Donald Trump or his politics, but to bombard him with those kind of charges to stop him from governing is not just an attack on him, but our democracy. This is, indeed, “a form of Navalny”.
I’m curious. What has Donald Trump done to elicit that kind of hatred? Or is it just something he said?

Aidan Twomey
Aidan Twomey
4 months ago
Reply to  Carlos Danger

Well when you a politician, what you say is kind of important. When Biden mixes up Egypt and Mexico, do you think, well it doesn’t matter what he says?
I know a lot of the cases against him are garbage, but I’m actually tired of his schtick. I could get on board with Make America Great Again, but he hardly ever talks about America now, it’s all about him. That they are his boxes of documents, that he had the election stolen from him, that Mike Pence should have been loyal to him, that all that really matters is the world gets justice for Donald J Trump. He is the first candidate for president that wants us to feel his pain, and I have no time for a 77 year old with butt hurt making everything about him.

Peter F. Lee
Peter F. Lee
4 months ago
Reply to  Aidan Twomey

You sound like a person with TDS looking for reason.

Carlos Danger
Carlos Danger
4 months ago
Reply to  Aidan Twomey

So you don’t like what Donald Trump says. His shtick and his butt-hurt attitude. The way he makes everything about him. Pretty petty complaints, with nothing to do with substance. Abstractions.
And that counts more than the Democrats fining him $450 million, taking over his companies, nailing him for $90 million more, crippling his presidency, and threatening to put him in prison for life? Nothing abstract about that. It’s all very real.

Damon Hager
Damon Hager
4 months ago
Reply to  Carlos Danger

It’s really his style that they dislike. He talks and thinks like a conservative, blue-collar American. Their hatred of him is really a veiled manifestation of their cultural contempt for the working class.

Peter F. Lee
Peter F. Lee
4 months ago
Reply to  Carlos Danger

Its the modus operandi of the Dems. Party. Smear, smear and smear again until you have people believing you. Its not that difficult if you have the MSM bad-mouthing Trump all the time. if not Trump, then De Santis or who is the front runner that is not a RINO.
For the average republican voter, Haley has lost all repect.

Martin M
Martin M
4 months ago
Reply to  Peter F. Lee

Smear, smear and smear again until you have people believing you.
Yeah, not like Trump. That “stolen election” thing is true, right?

Martin M
Martin M
4 months ago
Reply to  Carlos Danger

Well, the two things that spring immediately to mind are 1) Send his goons to trash Congress, and 2) ask the Georgia Attorney General to “find me 11,000 votes” (translation: fabricate some votes for me, or bin some votes for Biden). I found him amusing before he lost the election, but I think he is just dangerous now.

Robert Cannon
Robert Cannon
4 months ago
Reply to  Martin M

Goons? The FBI plants that the recently revealed videos show were staging the violence for the “insurrection”? And in Georgia one investigator found evidence for major fraud of tens of thousands of ineligible ballots in spite of the “baseless” claims media kept pushing and still do. And evidence of “Mules” stuffing ballot boxes that True the Vote later found (see movie 2000 Mules) was ignored by Georgia officials, who instead bashed the group via media. It is a conspiracy at high levels to get and keep Trump out, I think because there is too much money riding on Military, climate change, drugs across the border, Terrorism, Chinese money, Marxism, etc. Years of increasing corruption. The Trump days stopped much of that and the pocketbook was dwindling. No more of that.

Martin M
Martin M
4 months ago
Reply to  Robert Cannon

No they weren’t, and no they didn’t.

Jae
Jae
4 months ago
Reply to  Martin M

No problem with the Democrats weaponizing the DOJ against a candidate in an election though. Your comments are typical, you are narrow minded in your thinking and assessments.

Martin M
Martin M
4 months ago
Reply to  Jae

Oh, so candidates should be able to commit all the crimes they want?

Robert Cannon
Robert Cannon
4 months ago
Reply to  Carlos Danger

Oh how we hate you Trump, let me count the ways.
You won the election in spite or our election fraud due to a much higher turnout than we expected
You have exposed our climate change agenda for us to make a fortune on alternative energy and take away power from oil industry and society in general with eventual controls on energy usage
You stopped terrorism in its tracks so we cannot keep the people in fear, relying on the government to save them
You controlled the border so we can’t have a constant influx of future democrat voters, illegal drugs, terrorists and others we have use for
You nixed our hope for middle east wars to support our defense contractors and a major source of our campaign supporters
You hurt our Chinese imports that support our communist brothers in Asia
You brought too many jobs for our subjects we need to support on welfare and other handouts and keep their votes
You prevented Russia’s advances into Ukraine that we wanted to happen to support our defense contractors and keep our donations flowing
You rallied our true Americans to support the country and make it great, which spoils our Marxist agenda to increase class warfare and eventual takeover our the US government and transition to Chinese style dictatorship and control and we will have total power over the people.you managed to evade our attempts to discredit you with various false charges and unfounded impeachments
We are Godless Marxists and hate all who oppose us, and eventually we will take over. We are almost there after one hundred years + of dedicated efforts! You alone have done major damage!!! We however still control many things and planned a very effective worldwide pandemic to facilitate our fraudulent voting scheme to remove you from office with hundreds of thousands of fake ballots stuffed in the ballot boxes during the night by our agents, and the fake ballots delivered during the night. And we plan to do it again but it will be more difficult because they are on to us, so we have to use lawfare to hopefully get you out of the running. Marxism is the only way for the world! Let’s sing together The Peoples Flag!

Damon Hager
Damon Hager
4 months ago
Reply to  Aidan Twomey

Mr Trump’s greatest de facto polling boosters are the Dems sponsoring the lawfare. If you dislike him so much, you should probably talk to them.
As for wanting “vengeance against fellow citizens”, he also said he’d “lock up” Mrs Clinton. He didn’t, though, did he?

Peter F. Lee
Peter F. Lee
4 months ago
Reply to  Aidan Twomey

What do you think Biden has been doing for the past three years or is Biden the one who wants ‘vengence’. If you knew a little bit more about american civics you would know that it is not 17% of the Republican Party.

Jae
Jae
4 months ago
Reply to  Aidan Twomey

Hahahaha, nice try. Doubt you ever thought Trump a “good president”.

Martin M
Martin M
4 months ago
Reply to  Jae

I can’t speak for Aidan, but I thought Trump would be an amusing President, which he was for a while. Plus, I hated Hillary. Still, I knew it would all turn bad if Trump ever lost, because his ego wouldn’t be able to cope.

Simon Boudewijn
Simon Boudewijn
5 months ago
Reply to  Daniel P

If you want to understand Nicki just look at how she tries to belittle, discredit, and tear down Trump. Trump is the Republican chosen leader – the one who will go against the Democrats baring disaster. He is the hope of the Republican’s success.

Why would a Republican try to tear down the presumptive leader of her party? This is purely an attack on her own party given the reality on the ground, and it is on the eve of its great battle.

She is out to win future wealth and power by showing her loyalty is to the one who will give her $s, and so whom ever wishes to buy her in the future knows well that she will do their bidding no matter what it is, even if it is turning against her own people.

Martin M
Martin M
4 months ago

“….the one who will go against the Democrats baring disaster“. I’m sure Trump will be baring a lot of things.

Bret Larson
Bret Larson
4 months ago

Intrinsically, there is nothing wrong with what Haley is doing. The problem is that it is backed with a wad of cash.

She should stop spending money on ad’s and donate it to child literacy or some such cause.

Martin M
Martin M
4 months ago
Reply to  Bret Larson

Why? She is raising political donations, and spending it on a political campaign.

Francisco Menezes
Francisco Menezes
4 months ago
Reply to  Daniel P

Here is the latest news. Koch brothers pull out of Haley.

N Satori
N Satori
5 months ago

There was a conspiracy theory going the rounds last year that the Democrats actually want Trump to be the nominated because they are sure that he will be unelectable as President. According to this theory the legal actions against him are all part of the plan to heighten his popularity (ie. the Dems are so scared of him they have to use lawfare to try to stop him)
How well is that theory holding up at the moment I wonder.

Troy MacKenzie
Troy MacKenzie
5 months ago
Reply to  N Satori

Election day is still a long way away. Trump might beat Biden, but that’s not even guaranteed. If the Dems parachute in someone like Michelle Obama, or Gavin Newsom, then Republicans can kiss the election goodbye. I sincerely hope Trump can pull it off, but they media has really managed to poison his image to a large part of the population.

Martin M
Martin M
4 months ago
Reply to  Troy MacKenzie

In fairness, Trump does a pretty good job of poisoning his own image.

Johann Strauss
Johann Strauss
5 months ago

It seems to me that the author is delusional. The longer Hailey goes on attacking Trump, the more likely she will never be a political force in the republican party again. Not to mention that she is a neocon, forever war, war-monger. Unfortunately, she is being funded by democrats who will stop at nothing to try and weaken Trump. But as all the lawfare cases have shown, the more Trump is attacked, the more blatantly unfair judicial decisions are piled on to him, the stronger Trump gets.

Patrick Ruark
Patrick Ruark
5 months ago
Reply to  Johann Strauss

Hmm, you assert she is being funded by Democrats? Where do you get that? Or is the UnHerd comment space just another place where people make up facts?

Johann Strauss
Johann Strauss
4 months ago
Reply to  Patrick Ruark

Maybe read the news from US outlets insted of just relying on UK ones. It’s not my assertion that she is being funded by democrats.

Francisco Menezes
Francisco Menezes
4 months ago
Reply to  Patrick Ruark

The analysis of her voters in New Hampshire showed many recent voter registrants who turned out to be Democrats. She lost in Nevada from ‘none of the candidates’ with 36 percent against 63 percent. The votes Ms. Hailey gets are Democrats who try to obstruct Trump. If you want more background information watch PBD on Youtube. She only scores derision for being such obvious ”MIC-candidate disguised as an ageing MILF”.

Martin M
Martin M
4 months ago
Reply to  Patrick Ruark

Well, I bought one of her t-shirts, and I live in Australia! I figure that as she’s giving the Orange Monster some grief, she’s doing the whole world a favour!

Jae
Jae
4 months ago
Reply to  Martin M

You’re a typical Australian, big on mouth, short on facts. Plus you love nothing more than an authoritarian nanny government. And that’s what you have.

Martin M
Martin M
4 months ago
Reply to  Jae

We had a right wing government until quite recently.

Martin M
Martin M
4 months ago
Reply to  Johann Strauss

Not to mention that she is a neocon, forever war, war-monger. In other words, she would be a pretty much text-book Republican President.

Jae
Jae
4 months ago
Reply to  Martin M

See, big on mouth, short on facts. Democrat presidents typically start wars. Look it up before posting.

Martin M
Martin M
4 months ago
Reply to  Jae

I can remember as far back as Nixon, although I was a child then. Reagan and the Bushes were neo-cons. I liked them. I particularly liked Reagan. He won the Cold War, and he was a pleasant courteous man. The US could do with another President like him.

Arthur King
Arthur King
5 months ago

Americans want a peace president like Trump. They are tired of being exploited as the world’s policeman. And being used by the military industrial complex to make useless wars.

Martin M
Martin M
4 months ago
Reply to  Arthur King

A “Peace President”? He’s probably going to start a Civil War!

Caty Gonzales
Caty Gonzales
4 months ago
Reply to  Martin M

No, he won’t start a civil war.
The political party most likely to be associated with anything like that, is the Democrats who will no doubt encourage ‘not my president’ type protests, claim BLM or pro-Palestinian riots are justified, and refuse to enforce law and order when it is a Democrat-approved group.
At some point these groups might get some push back when they ‘take to the streets’ for some ‘peaceful protesting’. And then the media will claim ‘right wing’ groups are instigating violence.

Jae
Jae
4 months ago
Reply to  Martin M

Only because the Left are lunatics.

Simon Boudewijn
Simon Boudewijn
5 months ago

Haha – I just read the Unherd Wiki – you guys need to update it, but had a laugh

”When the site (Unherd) was launched in July 2017, Simon Childs in Vice was critical of the underlying premise, saying: “The social media news cycle can be a jading stream of ill-informed narcissists, but it’s refreshing to be reminded that at least it offers a more diverse outlook than Tim Montgomerie funded by an oligarch publishing the kind of people who are generally ‘unheard’ because people edge away from them at parties.”

Vice is going down in flames – laying off over a hundred of the wretched things it calls journalists… and the ‘Go Woke, Go Broke’ springs to mind. I wonder how they all do at parties now?

Simon Boudewijn
Simon Boudewijn
5 months ago

Bit of the old herd mentality in this article, the herd being the 100% owned and corrupt Fake News industry.

”Haley is winning hearts and minds in the corridors of power. She’s rubbing elbows with future benefactors in the donor class and media. She’s earning goodwill with Trump’s bitter opponents whose bank accounts are as big as her ambitions. What they’re backing is essentially a Haley-led public relations campaign ”

She is rubbing scales with the Lizard Masters, haha…..

‘wealthy donors are keeping Haley flush with cash, as evidenced by the huge ad buy announced on Friday. Clearly her backers aren’t betting on a win as big donors often do. They are, however, betting on a winner. ”

A winner? She is a Shill for the Globalists, Militarists, and is Biden in a dress, a WEF lackey. She may win, but if so it is reversely correlated with American winning.

”she didn’t drop out after Trump won 54% of the vote on a budget in New Hampshire, and why she didn’t drop out before her fellow South Carolinians sided with her opponent by a wide margin. She’s not running just to win the support of Republican voters.”

No, she is Not running to win the support of the Republican voters, but then her ilk hold them in contempt anyway…,. No she is running to burnish her credentials of being for sale to the highest bidder; for future Swamp $$$$$. The opening paragraph kicked off with her cynical purpose:

”On a Friday call with reporters, her campaign manager announced a seven-figure ad buy, arguing that “this has never just been about who can win a Republican primary.” ”

The steaming Swamp is full of Lizards….haha….

Aidan Twomey
Aidan Twomey
5 months ago

There is no swamp. There’s no fake news industry. There are just grifters stroking peoples’ confirmation bias for clicks.

Peter F. Lee
Peter F. Lee
4 months ago
Reply to  Aidan Twomey

So how do you account for all MSM reciting the fake news, not only on the same day, but in word perfect unison. How do you account for the differences in justice between the Intifa riots and J6 riot. How do you even account for the very strange election of Biden, who was just about to be seen as unelectable, to subsequently gain more votes than any other in history, 81 million courtesy of the swamp.

Martin M
Martin M
4 months ago
Reply to  Peter F. Lee

So how do you account for all MSM reciting the fake news, not only on the same day, but in word perfect unison.
It is because they are of one mind….

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
4 months ago
Reply to  Aidan Twomey

Hmmmm….Government control of Twitter, media lying about Russiagate, Ukraine collusion, Biden corruption, Hunter laptop, fraudulent use of FISA court, domestic spying, election pvote counting…..for starters

Jae
Jae
4 months ago
Reply to  Aidan Twomey

Your posts are quite delusional.

Caty Gonzales
Caty Gonzales
4 months ago

Well, the Lizards are retreating to their sunning rocks, as the donors are withdrawing.

Martin Layfield
Martin Layfield
4 months ago

Considering how much money is being wasted it feels like her campaign is a glorified welfare programme for talentless political hacks nad publicists.

Bruce Metzger
Bruce Metzger
4 months ago

Bottom line: the old guard, Rhino Republicans cannot accept the outsider, Trump, because of their own hubris. They are like Democrats and old Commies – party before country.

Martin M
Martin M
4 months ago
Reply to  Bruce Metzger

….because of hubris, and the fact that he is a lunatic.

Wynn Wheldon
Wynn Wheldon
4 months ago

Rather disheartening to find so many UnHerd readers unable to understand why Trump is so unlikeable.

Martin M
Martin M
4 months ago
Reply to  Wynn Wheldon

I would have thought you could work that out if you were observing Earth through a telescope from the third moon of Saturn.