Why Haley is Still Running and it’s Not Because of Trump’s Legal Problems

Nikki Haley’s presidential campaign began with excitement and high hopes, but many Republicans now view it as a questionable endeavor. Despite facing six consecutive defeats, she continues to stay in the race.

I have a theory: Perhaps the answer lies within the rules of the Republican National Committee and how they could potentially impact her ability to be heard at the July convention.

Haley is expected to arrive in Milwaukee with a number of delegates at her disposal. Currently, she has 20 delegates, although the exact count remains uncertain.

The rules do not simply grant power to a candidate based on their delegate count. In order for a candidate to have their name placed into nomination and receive television airtime at the convention, they must have a plurality of delegates in at least five states.

The threshold mentioned above has a significant impact on Haley’s influence, or lack thereof, at the convention. In recent times, political conventions have transformed into multi-day promotional events for a predetermined nominee. Each victor aims to leverage this platform to effectively deliver a well-crafted and persuasive message. By doing so, they can potentially garner a substantial and potentially game-changing boost in the polls.

However, it is crucial to ensure that there are no conflicts or conflicting messages emerging from the convention floor, which winners do not have complete control over. Even defeated candidates have the ability to utilize their delegates to impede the winner’s agenda, whether through contentious amendments to the party platform or by using their nominating speeches to criticize the nominee. This can attract media attention, prompting potential nominees to negotiate and make compromises to avoid such scenarios.

In light of these circumstances, Haley’s ongoing campaign is a strategic move. By accumulating more delegates, she can enhance her influence on the floor. This, in turn, strengthens her position to negotiate with former President Donald Trump for concessions on issues she values, like upholding U.S. support for NATO. It is worth noting that the party did not formulate a platform in 2020. Therefore, simply urging them to draft a new one for this election could be a substantial demand.

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Winning at least five states will be a challenging task for her due to her lack of support among conservative Republicans. It is highly unlikely that she will be able to secure victory in any state where the rules restrict the voting population to registered Republicans. Additionally, her chances of winning in caucus states are slim as these events typically attract the most dedicated and ideologically-driven party members.

There are several states that will be voting on or before Super Tuesday that are well-suited for Haley. How? Haley’s greatest opportunities lie in states that are more moderate than Iowa or South Carolina and allow all registered voters or registered independents to participate in the GOP primary. Additionally, these states should have a higher proportion of college-educated voters, which has been Haley’s strongest demographic so far.

Leading up to Super Tuesday, Haley’s travel schedule appears to be strategically aligned. She kicked off her campaign with two rallies in Michigan, followed by a Minneapolis event in Minnesota. These states are known for their moderate politics and lack of party registration, which allows for independent and stray Democratic voters to cast Republican ballots. The fact that Marco Rubio emerged victorious in Minnesota’s 2016 caucuses lends support to Haley’s belief that it could be a competitive state.

Haley traveled to Colorado this week, a state known for its moderate political leaning and highly educated population. She chose to hold her rally in Centennial, a suburb of Denver, which says a lot about her intended audience. Centennial is a affluent area, with a median household income of nearly $125,000, and more than 61 percent of adults aged 25 and older holding a four-year college degree or higher.

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In the ideal situation, Joe O’Dea’s victory in the GOP’s 2022 Senate primary, with a comfortable nine-point lead over a MAGA opponent, would be replicated. O’Dea’s success was primarily driven by his ability to secure significant support in the Denver metro area, as well as in liberal college and ski counties across the state, effectively overshadowing his opponent’s rural stronghold.

Haley makes an unexpected move by heading to Utah, a state that holds a caucus on Super Tuesday. This choice may seem peculiar at first, but it becomes clear when considering the strong opposition Mormons had towards Trump in the 2016 election. Back then, Trump only managed to secure third place in the GOP contest with a mere 14 percent of the vote. While his support has grown since then, there is still enough dissatisfaction among members of the Church of Latter-day Saints to give Haley a chance at success.

Afterward, she returns to the East Coast and organizes rallies in North Carolina, Virginia, and the nation’s capital. Washington D.C. presents her with a promising opportunity to secure a victory since it serves as the base for the anti-Trump GOP elite. In the 2016 elections, Rubio and John Kasich collectively received an impressive 73 percent of the votes in this region. If Haley fails to win here, it would indicate a significant challenge in winning anywhere else.

Virginia and North Carolina present opportunities for unexpected victories. In the 2016 contest, Trump narrowly defeated Ted Cruz in North Carolina, despite Cruz’s success in the state’s urban areas. Haley’s campaign rallies will take place in Charlotte and Raleigh, the largest cities in the state. These cities have experienced an increase in newcomers, which could work in Haley’s favor. Additionally, the fact that independents can participate in the voting process further enhances her chances.

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Virginia is being targeted by Haley for two specific reasons: the absence of partisan registration and the presence of a significant number of anti-Trump Republicans. In her efforts to secure victory, she plans to hold rallies in Richmond and Falls Church. Falls Church, similar to the wider D.C. suburbs, is characterized by a high-income demographic with a strong emphasis on education. In the 2016 elections, Marco Rubio easily won over the metro Richmond area and the Virginia suburbs of D.C., coming close to winning the state as a whole. Haley is optimistic that she can garner support from Rubio and Kasich voters, as well as potentially appealing to non-Republicans, in order to achieve an unexpected triumph.

Her last planned activities are in particularly revealing locations. One will take place in Needham, Massachusetts, a town that makes Centennial appear rundown from the less desirable areas. The median household income in Needham surpasses $200,000, and more than 80 percent of adults hold a four-year degree or higher. Following that, there will be a rally in Vermont, where Phil Scott, a moderate Republican governor, is one of the few who have publicly endorsed her.

Massachusetts, Vermont, and Maine all permit independent voters to participate in their Super Tuesday contests, which generally favor moderate Republicans. Haley is taking a gamble, hoping that these states will rally behind her despite the unfavorable odds.

Winning five of these states may seem like a daunting task, but it is not entirely out of reach. If she manages to achieve this feat, she will have the leverage she needs to negotiate the terms of her departure from Trump. While the outcome may not be substantial, it will provide her with something to boast about and potentially serve as a launching pad for future elections.

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