Fri. Feb 23rd, 2024

Nikki Haley’s bid to stop Trump may depend on South Carolina Democrats

By 37ci3 Jan 30, 2024


Nikki Haley is the former Republican governor of South Carolina, but to try to slow Donald Trump’s seemingly inevitable march to the GOP nomination, she may need a bloc of local state voters who have never needed a lawsuit: Democrats.

Trump’s dominance is winning Iowa and New Hampshire further instilled an aura of invincibility around his main campaign. If Haley hopes to break through South Carolina and salvage any sense of vitality, she’ll likely have to build her coalition beyond anti-Trump Republicans and independent-minded voters — which almost certainly includes at least small pockets of Democrats who aren’t selling out. is a duty to do. About those who want to switch sides to re-elect President Joe Biden or prevent Trump from getting the GOP nomination.

This already difficult political math is made even more difficult by the fact that Biden and the Democrats have a huge incentive to generate a monster turnout after making South Carolina the party’s first sanctioned nominating contest, and little appetite for crossover voting in the Palmetto State. .

“Democrats don’t vote in Republican primaries here, just like Republicans won’t vote in Democratic primaries,” said former South Carolina Republican Party Chairman Caton Dawson. “We worked and worked and worked, I spent money on it. We saw that there were not many there.”

Both in New Hampshire and Iowa, Haley faced criticism from his opponents that he was targeting Democrats to overcome his disadvantage with Republican primary voters, an idea his campaign has retracted. However, officials do not dispute that Republicans are trying to broaden their base.

Haley spokeswoman Olivia Perez-Cubas said, “The Republican Party should be a story of regrouping, not regrouping. Trump lost races that we should have won in 2018, 2020 and 2022.” “If Republicans want to start winning again, we need to start attracting new voters, including conservatives, independents and Democrats fed up with Joe Biden.”

Still, some Republicans they argue that the three weeks between Saturday’s Democratic primary and the Feb. 24 Republican primary gives Haley a unique opportunity to pick up voters who normally fail to turn out in GOP primaries.

In South Carolina, voters can choose to participate in either party’s primary. So if a voter doesn’t vote in the Democratic primary, Haley’s team will have three weeks to crunch the numbers and target the exact set of voters in the state who have yet to vote.

“Haley must make sure every possible voter participates in the primary, and with the Democratic presidential primary three weeks away, there should be plenty of time to identify those who did not vote in the primary and encourage them to vote Republican. Primary,” said Alex Stroman, former executive director of the South Carolina GOP.

Not requiring party registration in South Carolina “gives us the best candidates to win the general election,” he said.

“Haley needs to win among independents, moderates and true Republicans to improve on her results in New Hampshire and send her to Michigan and then Super Tuesday,” Stroman added, referring to the March 5 round of 16-state primaries.

Jay Parmley, executive director of the South Carolina Democratic Party, said he has heard from some Democrats who plan to vote for Haley.

“Yes, we’ve heard of that happening. It might be smart for Haley, but it’s stupid for Democrats to vote in the Republican primary.” “He’s as bad as Donald Trump. My challenge to Democrats is, ‘If you didn’t vote for him for governor, why would you vote for him as a candidate?'”

“We’re doing everything we can to talk to Democrats and get them to vote. “Now some are saying they might try to stop Trump by voting for Haley,” Parmley added. “It’s just stupid.”

Haley has established herself as a politician eager to take on the establishment in both political parties, an opportunity that may now be in her home state.

Both the Biden and Trump camps have sent signals that they want him to leave so they can focus on a general election matchup they see as already set. On the night of the New Hampshire primary, Biden said it was “now clear” that Trump would win the GOP nomination.

Democratic strategists say they expect many of their party’s voters to vote for Biden on Saturday and miss out on the Republican primary three weeks later. Plus, there’s little love lost between Haley and Democrats in a state she runs from the political right.

“Democrats don’t have a big push to vote for Nikki Haley. He was not good for us when he was governor. So there’s no need to think he’s going to be good for us as president,” said Clay Middleton, a longtime Democratic operative who served as a senior adviser to the Biden campaign in South Carolina.

“Our goal as a campaign is to make sure we connect with voters and show them what the president has done for South Carolinians, and African Americans in particular, and show that appreciation by voting on February 3rd.”

President Joe Biden speaks during the South Carolina First Nations Dinner at the state fairgrounds in Columbia on January 27, 2024.
President Joe Biden speaks at a First in the Nation dinner in South Carolina on Saturday.Kent Nishimura / AFP – Getty Images

Middleton noted that Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and “a number of top surrogates” have visited the state in recent weeks, including Democratic National Committee Chairman Jaime Harrison, South Carolina-born California Gov. Gavin Newsom and Rep. Roe. Khanna, D-Calif.

Speaking at a First in the Nation dinner in Columbia on Saturday, Biden highlighted his decision to make the South Carolina primary the opening contest on the party’s calendar.

Nationally, the Biden campaign dismissed the idea that Haley could appeal to Democratic primary voters because of it. stance on abortion and unable to enter last month”slavery” in response to a question about what caused the Civil War in New Hampshire. He later clarified that “of course” the Civil War was about slavery, but the political damage had already been done.

Lauren Hitt, a senior spokeswoman for the Biden campaign, said: “We are confident that Democratic voters in South Carolina will overwhelmingly reject a ban on abortion after 6 weeks, and we can say without hesitation that slavery caused the Civil War.”

South Carolina has seen a large population increase in recent years. In percentage terms, it was the fastest-growing state in the country last year, and as of 2016, the state had 400,000 people registered to vote. last time Republicans ran a competitive primary in the state. That could provide pockets of opportunity for Haley, or at least add a layer of uncertainty to the mix.

“These voters never voted for Trump or Haley here,” Dawson said. “These are the voters who are begging Nikki Haley. They are moderate to conservative and pro-life with exceptions.”

The state’s fastest-growing regions gave Trump big support in 2020. Horry County, home to Myrtle Beach, was the state’s fastest-growing county last year and voted 66.1% for Trump in 2020, its fifth-highest percentage. Among South Carolina’s 46 counties.

Despite the influx of voters who have never seen Trump or Haley in the state’s competitive primary, nearly all public polls have Trump ahead by double digits. In the latest state poll released by GOP pollster Ryan Tyson of Florida, who helped run Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ failed presidential campaign, Trump’s vote is up 27 percent.

“Any good pollster is going to pick up this new population, so that’s what we’re going to have to see,” Richland County GOP Chairman Tyson Grinstead said. “He’s going to have to play the package game and probably win over the Republicans who are now in Trump’s camp. “He’s not going to get there under the false impression that Democrats are meddling in the Republican primary.”

With Trump’s so-far unshakable hold on GOP primary voters, it also raises the same question Haley faced in her first two nomination contests: What does “winning” look like?

“He should do well here,” Grinstead said. “We have 20 to 30 days to figure out what it means, but the politics are changing every minute, so who knows?”



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By 37ci3

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