Monday, April 15, 2024

Top 5 This Week

After Nikki Haley’s Exit, Biden Aims to Win Over Her Disenchanted Supporters

Haley's departure leaves anti-Trump Republicans without a home, as Biden woos them to join his coalition.

Nikki Haley drops out
Brian Snyder/Reuters

Nikki Haley suspended her presidential campaign on Wednesday after being defeated across the country on Super Tuesday, leaving Donald Trump as the presumptive Republican nominee for 2024.

In her speech in Charleston, South Carolina, Haley declined to endorse Trump. Instead, she challenged him to earn the support of moderate Republicans and independent voters who had backed her candidacy.

“It is now up to Donald Trump to win the votes of those in our party and beyond it who did not support him. I hope he does that,” Haley said. “At its best, politics involves bringing people into your cause, not turning them away. Our conservative cause needs more people.”

In a fundraising email sent shortly after Haley’s announcement, Trump’s campaign falsely claimed she had endorsed him. Trump also mocked his former rival online while inviting “all Haley supporters to join the greatest movement in history.”

In recent weeks, Haley has aggressively warned the GOP against embracing Trump again, arguing he was too chaotic and consumed by grievances to defeat President Joe Biden.

With Haley’s departure, Trump can focus on a likely rematch with Biden in November. Trump is on track to clinch the 1,215 delegates needed for the Republican nomination.

Haley’s loss marks a blow for anti-Trump Republicans who oppose his fiery brand of populism and embrace of dictators like Vladimir Putin. Haley drew significant support from moderate, suburban, and college-educated voters — groups expected to be pivotal in November. It remains unclear if Trump can unify a deeply divided GOP.

While Haley tried positioning herself as a fresh voice for the Republican Party, her inability to dent Trump’s support reveals how he has transformed the GOP in his image. There is no room left for moderates or independent thinkers – only blind loyalty to Trump.

This raises alarming questions about American democracy should Trump recapture the White House in 2024. As president, he repeatedly tried pressuring officials to overturn election results and showed utter disdain for checks on his power. If he faces so little resistance now within his own party, one shudders to think what he’d do in a potential second term.

Nikki Haley tried giving voice to Republicans uneasy with Trump’s stranglehold over their party. But her suspended campaign shows the cold reality – Trump leaves no room for dissent in today’s GOP.

Recognizing these disaffected conservatives have nowhere to turn within their party, Joe Biden and his allies are now actively courting their support. Members of the fundraising arm of Biden’s presidential campaign began privately calling Haley’s donors right after she dropped out of the race.

This represents a coordinated effort by Democrats to provide a new home for Republicans alienated by Trump’s hostile takeover. The message is simple: if you believe in decency, honesty in government, and safeguarding the country from another Trump term, then Biden is your only hope for this election cycle. Having nowhere left to turn in their party, Biden and Democrats are throwing out a lifeline to conservatives with principles.

Biden is banking on enough conservatives choosing country over party to stop Trump’s second term. And early signs show the strategy bearing fruit. Polls found that a significant percentage of Nikki Haley’s supporters say they’ll never vote for Trump under any circumstances. This reveals cracks in Trump’s support even among Republican voters – cracks Biden believes his character and temperament can exploit.

The contract between Biden and Trump could not be more stark. Rather than reach out to Haley or her supporters, Trump attacked her as “crazy” and mocked the idea he should welcome these voters. This arrogant attitude perfectly encapsulates why many Republicans have grown uneasy with Trump as the face of their party.

On the other hand, Biden promotes an inclusive vision that appeals across party lines. His policies may lean progressive, but his temperament and character hew toward old-school Republican values like integrity, personal responsibility, and standing up to America’s enemies like Russia.

Unlike Trump, who has repeatedly praised Vladimir Putin and given the Russian dictator an open invitation to attack NATO allies, Biden recognizes the grave threat posed by the Kremlin. As Barack Obama’s vice president, Biden pushed for harsh sanctions on Russia.

This hardline stance against America’s adversaries used to be a pillar of Republican foreign policy before Trump’s troubling fondness for Putin turned the GOP dovish on Russia. Biden’s administration has supplied critical military assistance enabling Ukraine’s brave defense against Russia’s illegal invasion, while also leading coordinated international sanctions that have crippled Russia’s economy. At the same time, he has worked to bolster NATO, expanding the alliance’s capabilities and unity in the face of Russian aggression.

Trump meanwhile continues an appeasing approach that seemingly aligns America’s interests with Putin’s. He has praised the Russian dictator’s cunning and has successfully pushed Republicans in the House to block military aid to Ukraine. For Republicans who hoped Haley could restore their party’s moral compass, her announcement leaves them politically homeless. Biden is now actively inviting those voters into his big tent coalition to consign Trumpism to the history books. The choice facing conservatives who care about character and country over party could not be clearer.

Nikki Haley’s failed presidential bid marks the end of the road for conservatives seeking to reclaim the Republican Party from Trumpism. Her supporters now face an agonizing reckoning – bow before a dangerous demagogue who brazenly assaults democratic norms, or align with Biden to place patriotism over partisan politics. The decision is wrenching yet obvious for voters who hoped that Haley could realign the GOP to decency.