Senate GOP Cuts Ties With Trump
Senate Republicans who express concerns about the viability of former President Trump in a general election now view Nikki Haley as their last and best opportunity to prevent Trump from securing the GOP presidential nomination. Their aim is to avert what they perceive as a potential disaster in the general election.
Even those GOP senators who do not support Trump acknowledge the possibility of his victory, given President Biden’s weak job approval ratings. However, they see Haley as a much more electable alternative, emphasizing that she does not alienate independent and suburban women voters, a concern they associate with Trump.
The worry among these senators is that if Trump becomes the GOP nominee, it could lead to a detrimental outcome for their party. While Trump currently leads in GOP primary polls, many GOP lawmakers prefer Haley due to her absence of legal issues and her perceived ability to avoid making unpredictable statements that could become political liabilities.
The increasing attention around Haley coincides with the diminishing prospects of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. Some senators believe Haley is gaining momentum, especially after key endorsements and successful debate performances. They anticipate her garnering more media attention and potentially seeing a rise in polls after the upcoming Republican presidential debate.
Senators like Mitt Romney and John Thune recognize Haley’s appeal, citing her strong debate performances and relatable political style. Thune, emphasizing the importance of appealing to moderate and independent voters, sees Haley as emerging as the leading alternative to Trump.
Despite Trump’s commanding lead in national and battleground polls, senators believe the race is still fluid, and they are curious about Haley’s potential to shift the narrative. They expect her to gain momentum after the early primary states, particularly after the Iowa caucuses.
Haley’s recent surge is attributed to her overtaking DeSantis as the leading alternative to Trump. Key endorsements, such as from Americans For Prosperity, indicate a changing pecking order in the GOP field.
Senators believe Haley’s timing is crucial, with expectations that the race will narrow down to a two-person contest after the early primary states. Even though DeSantis is focusing on winning Iowa, some senators doubt the impact of an Iowa victory on success in subsequent primaries.
Former supporters of DeSantis suggest that he may have peaked early, while Haley’s increasing momentum is seen as a factor that shouldn’t be underestimated. Some senators think Trump’s recent efforts, such as declaring intent to repeal the Affordable Care Act, are aimed at solidifying his conservative credentials and countering Haley’s perceived moderate image.
Recent national polls place Haley in third place, trailing Trump and DeSantis. However, DeSantis’s national poll numbers have dropped, and Haley is close behind. In New Hampshire, Haley is performing well, ranking second in several polls, setting the stage for a strong showing in the primary and gaining momentum for the subsequent South Carolina primary, where she holds a home-field advantage.
The historical significance of winning the South Carolina Republican presidential primary is noted, with the winner typically securing the party’s nomination. Trump’s previous victory in South Carolina in 2016 is cited, further emphasizing the strategic importance of Haley’s performance in the early primary states.