Fri. Jul 19th, 2024

Nikki Haley has gained ground — but GOP rules mean it may result in few delegates

By 37ci3 Feb15,2024

CHARLESTON, SC — Nikki Haley is framing her path to the GOP presidential nomination as a long, state-by-state war of attrition. But while Haley is fighting for public opinion, the GOP is vacating the delegation — and those rules are designed to create blowbacks.

Haley spent most of the week in his home state of South Carolina, and he wraps up the week with a trip to Texas, one of the many states that host races on Super Tuesday in early March. But both states, and many others in Haley’s path, handsomely reward candidates who can win majorities in states or congressional districts — the likely outcome of a now one-on-one race with Haley, a former U.S. ambassador to the United States. Nations that are significantly behind in the public vote.

Even if Haley makes things relatively close against Donald Trump — by, say, getting her primary vote share into the 40s, as in New Hampshire — she could quickly be buried with a large delegate lead for the former president as states begin to vacate. representatives at high speed. Unlike the Democratic presidential primary, where winning 40% of the popular vote results in about 40% of the delegates, GOP rules make it easier for the front-runner to win all or a large majority of the available delegates.

The only way Haley can prevent that is to radically shift Republican public opinion after a race in which even four indictments have failed to sway Trump.

“A number of people say the rules are Trump’s firewall. I think that’s true, but it’s a conventional firewall: it only exists if Trump is very popular,” Josh Putnam, a political scientist specializing in presidential nominations and a nonpartisan consultant at FHQ Strategies, told NBC News. “And he’s so popular that he’s going to run most of those winner-take-all thresholds in the states” and win a large chunk of the party’s delegates.

February is shaping up to be a tough month for Haley.

He was not on the ballot for the Nevada caucus and failed to win delegates there. Haley’s campaign has criticized the caucus process as “rigged for Trump” and has called for a “non-binding primary.”none of these candidates.” In the meantime, South Carolina, where he serves as governor, can hardly be a firewall: Polls show it’s low, and delegate rules greatly benefit the candidate who wins the majority. Neither Haley nor her top campaign have set expectations there for the win.

The Haley campaign has the money to get through the dark times. Her campaign has diligently raised money instead of blowing it early, and resilience has been the name of the game for Haley’s team, which regularly predicts more “fertile” ground and opportunities in states deeper into the 2024 calendar.

In A memo released after the New Hampshire primaryHaley’s campaign pointed to the majority of swing states that allow independents or some portion of Democrats to participate in GOP primaries, creating “significant fertile ground for Nikki” to gain support from anti-Trump voters.

But one-third of the 874 delegates awarded on Super Tuesday are from states where the candidate with the majority of the vote will receive every delegate.

These include Massachusetts, where Haley just announced her leadership team, but former Gov. Charlie Baker, a high-profile Trump critic, chose not to run again, avoiding the possibility of a tough primary against a Trump supporter.

Among them is California, where Haley has been fundraising and rallying this week. There are Republicans changed the ground rules Instead of allowing candidates to go district by district to hunt for votes in the 2023 convention, award each delegate to the candidate who wins the majority of votes.

Another 252 Super Tuesday delegates will go to states where a candidate with more than 50% of the vote in a congressional district wins every delegate up for grabs, plus the “at-large delegate” with a statewide majority.

Since mid-March, most of the delegates are awarded in the winning states. So without another candidate to cut into Trump’s vote share, Haley needs to start winning states outright and fast.

In an interview on NBC’s TODAY show this week, Haley talked about the narrow path to victory. He was forced to say which states he believed would win, without naming any. Instead, he focused on the argument that the race was about scrapping for long distance and reps.

“You need 1,215 delegates. He was 32 and I was 17 when he came from New Hampshire,” he said. “After South Carolina, we’ve got a lot of states — we’re going to hit 20 states in 10 days. Let it happen.

“Don’t count on me defeating dozens of people,” Haley continued. “When you all say I can’t do it, don’t take into account that I won 20% in Iowa. Don’t discount what I bought 43% in New Hampshire, and don’t discount it now.”

“Why should I quit as long as we’re competitive?” he added.

But winner-take-all limits can be fatal to this strategy. GOP nominating contests have always featured a healthy number of states with such rules, but since Trump first ran in 2016, more states have shifted in that direction. Since then, party organizations have changed their rules in a quarter of state and territory races. In Putnam’s words, to be more of a “leading companion.”

And Trump continues to hold sway with the majority of GOP primary voters. An NBC News survey released last week showed this 79% of GOP primary voters they said they preferred Haley over Trump in the hypothetical presidential nomination contest. Fully 61% said that Trump should remain the leader of the party. It is among those voters that he must find his way to the majority.

Haley’s allies know it’s a tough road, but they’d rather see the race continue as it could, rather than as the polls show. That’s one reason he’s stepped up his rhetoric about Trump in recent weeks — blasting him as “untrained” and “unofficial.”He is not eligible to be president of the United States.”

“Certainly, if you accept the numbers today, yes, it’s not a very difficult path,” a Haley ally told NBC News, speaking on condition of anonymity. “But that’s why we conduct campaigns.

“We only have to look back four years to see who did that exact thing,” the ally said, referring to Joe Biden’s turnaround in political fortunes with a dominant performance in the South Carolina primary after poor showings in the first three Democratic nomination races. in 2020.

But the comparison misses at least one key difference between the GOP and Democratic races: Democrats give all their delegates proportionally to candidates who get at least 15% of the vote, making it difficult for runners-up to quickly drop out of the mix. If they still win significant portions of the popular vote by state in terms of representatives.

Here and now, only Haley and Trump are competing according to GOP rules.

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By 37ci3

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