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Nikki Haley: The New Conservative Hopeful

Until today, President Trump was the only Republican candidate who officially declared his candidacy for the 2024 presidential elections. Although many conservative and liberal pundits claimed that DeSantis will eventually jump into the race, Donald Trump so far, was the uncontested candidate of the primaries until his former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, decided to join the race. This candidacy isn’t a surprise at all. It was expected. And to be frank, her candidacy isn’t the only one expected. Nevertheless, we knew that the former Governor of South Carolina will challenge the leadership of President Trump.

In her short video announcing her candidacy for the White House, Governor Haley talked about “fiscal responsibility”, “border security,” and the “vulnerability of America in the hands of the socialists.” In the launch of her campaign, Governor Haley called for a new generation of leadership. This means that she wants America to break away from the dinosaurs of the political landscape, notably Presidents Donald Trump and Joe Biden. Interestingly, in 2021, she explicitly claimed that she wouldn’t run for President if Donald Trump was in the race. Now, here she is.

In her announcement speech, Governor Haley tried to not fall into identity politics. She deliberately avoided talking about being a woman in politics, and potentially the first female president. She mentioned race, but to emphasize its meaninglessness. Governor Haley wants to present herself as the new face of the Republican Party, a face where her cultural origin, skin color, and gender are irrelevant. On these notes, she scores important points. Now, what about her policy proposal? What does she want to do for America? What do we know about her track record?

On economic policy, Governor Haley has been a proponent of lowering taxes. Under her governorship, the State announced the recruitment of more than 85,000 new jobs and $21.5 billion in capital investment. Moreover, she implemented policies for lowering property taxes on owner-occupied residential property. On foreign policy, Governor Haley described herself as a “strong supporter of the State of Israel.” She accused Iran of backing the Houthi rebels in Yemen and said that the “fight against Iranian aggression is the world’s fight.” Nikki Haley is committed to the peace-through-strength doctrine and believes that America shouldn’t hesitate to spend what’s necessary to protect Israel’s sovereignty. On social issues, Governor Haley is pro-life and supported legislation to restrict abortion. She has consistently supported bills that give rights to a fetus and restrict abortion except when the mother’s life is at risk. She is also pro-death penalty. As U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., she voted against the resolution titled “The Question of the Death Penalty,” which condemned the use of capital punishment when applied arbitrarily or in a discriminatory manner.” For Governor Haley, the death penalty is an effective means to deter criminals and crime to expand. On immigration, she has been a strong proponent of law and order and believed that our borders should be secured and immigration laws must be reinforced.

Overall, Nikki Haley is a classical Republican. In other words, she is an Establishment Republican. She had some differences with President Trump, which eventually cost her her position as U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Does she have a chance to overpower President Trump? Not really, to be frank. But her candidacy, nonetheless, remains an interesting one that can potentially play a role in the outcome of the Republican primaries. If DeSantis decides to run, and still leading the polls, will she rally behind him against President Trump?


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