What Nikki Haley should have said and done from the start

‘Hints’ are not, and were never, enough…

Finally, Nikki Haley has a headline she can cut out and frame, if she has access to a print edition:

Nikki Haley Wins the Washington, D.C., Primary, Ending Trump’s Streak

Not that it means much. Do any Republicans actually live in D.C.? Is there not a local ordinance against that?

But we cherish whatever we have to celebrate.

Meanwhile, on Super Tuesday — possibly her last day in the race — she’s still trying to figure out who she is and how she wants to run. And she’s REALLY confused about her primary opponent, and the man the GOP nominee will face in November.

Let me refer you to this Washington Post story, “Haley hints she isn’t bound by loyalty pledge to support GOP nominee.”

But she still backs away from saying things you should say if you ever really want to beat the man who is almost certainly going to be the GOP nominee.

The NYT says it even better: “Nikki Haley Ducks and Weaves on Trump Endorsement, I.V.F. and Jan. 6.

If you’re running against Trump, the very first thing you have to do is tell the truth — about everything. That’s assuming you know what the truth is, and I’m not sure Nikki does. But let’s say she does — because she would need to know what it is, and tell it, to win.

Not that the odds would be in her favor. They never were. So she’s absurdly careful. She’s terrified of offending Trump supporters. So she says such idiotic things as this:

When asked directly if she would endorse Trump if she dropped out, she wouldn’t answer but said she has “serious concerns about Donald Trump. I have even more concerns about Joe Biden.”

Nikki may lack the sophistication and judgment to be president of the United States. And I think she does. But I don’t believe even she has more “concerns” about Joe Biden, or about anyone on the planet, than about Trump. If she believes that, she shouldn’t be running.

Which is why — even though we see examples of Democrats and independents turning out for her in states with open primaries — we won’t ever see enough of them for her to win unless she inspires far more of them, and the Never-Trump Republicans, to get behind her.

She needs every one of them. And she’s not going to get them to step up for her unless she throws all her timidity to the winds and tells the complete, unvarnished truth about everything.

Of course, it’s almost certainly too late now. But I’m Monday-morning quarterbacking here. And from the very beginning, from the moment she launched her campaign, she should have said, loudly, clearly and boldly:

  • The fact that Donald Trump ever occupied the White House, and even worse, the fact that we know “Republicans” will vote for him again, makes me ashamed to be a Republican. And it was once such a noble party. (Yep, I’m burning bridges right off the bat. They need to be burned, and a person who could seize this nomination would have the guts to do it.)
  • It would be extraordinarily dangerous for him to regain that power — for the country and for the whole world. And it would be the greatest gift we could give to those abroad who hate America.
  • And don’t give me that nonsense about “the world didn’t come to an end when he was president before.” Even if you’re too blind to see the damage he did to our country, especially on the world stage (something I learned a lot about when he named me, a completely unqualified person, to be ambassador to the U.N, solely to make a man who supported him governor of South Carolina), you certainly hear the things he’s saying now. He’s made it clear what he will do, given another term. And rest assured that there will be no “grownups in the room” this time. His appointments would no longer make any attempt at a veneer of legitimacy.
  • There are so many reasons to say these things — he give us more every day, but this one would be enough: On Jan. 6, 2021, he egged on a mob to attack our nation’s capital. And he did it to overthrow the clear results of a legitimate election removing him from power. We all know this, regardless of how the court cases come out. (“We all know this” works, remember, because she’s not trying to appeal to people who pathetically try to deny it.)
  • As for you who think — as I once did when I was parroting silly nostrums like “I want to run government like a business” — that he’s a good businessman, so he’s a good leader… This is probably the sleaziest businessman any of us have ever encountered. And you don’t have to wait for a court case to be settle to convince you of that. We recently got 355 million confirmations on that point. (OK, she couldn’t have said that when she launched, but she could say it now.)
  • Not only will I not support Donald J. Trump if he becomes the nominee, I assure you: In that tragic event, I will be voting for Joe Biden in November. I don’t much like President Biden. I disagree with him on a LOT of things. And even if I agreed with him, I think he (like Trump) is too old. But wrong as he is, he’s a normal, decent, sane human being. And voting for him will be the ONLY way to stop Trump — which anyone who cares at all about this country should be committed to doing. A write-in to make yourself feel good will accomplish nothing. You have to vote for the one person with the chance to beat him.

And thousands of other things. She could say something different every day, never repeating herself, illustrating why it is essential for anyone who loves this country to stop Trump — and it is especially a duty for anyone who also cares about the Republican Party, which is facing its last chance to recover and redeem itself.

She should have said all these things without hesitation, because she had nothing to lose — and everything to gain.

But, she didn’t.


14 thoughts on “What Nikki Haley should have said and done from the start

  1. Ken

    Chris Christie said just about all those things at one time or another — some repeatedly. He also accurately assessed Haley when he called her “slippery” and “slick.” But that sort of candor would have helped her about as much as it did him.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Yes, he did. But with Nikki — who has a talent for charming people — it would come in a more presentable package.

      Christie is about as charming as Tony Soprano….

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          The fact that anyone is charmed by Trump surpasses understanding. But it would appear to be so. Call it “cursed” if you prefer. But it works for him. Millions adore him.

          I’ve tried for years now to understand it, and failed utterly. To me, Trump is a guy you see coming, knowing nothing about him, and cross the street to avoid him. He’s unspeakably off-putting…

          I don’t know about “many Americans,” but the word for Nikki is charming. She’s one of those people who make a great first impression, whoever you are. You have to get to know her to see past it…

            1. Brad Warthen Post author

              Well, I’m with you on that.

              Since I don’t understand how people can even be in the same room with him. For that matter, it’s gotten difficult to be in the same country with him.

              He was always a jerk, but he was easy to ignore when he was just that clown calling attention to himself in New York — say, back in the 80s. Now that so many here in SC bow down to him, he’s become intolerable.

        2. Barry

          Trump is something.

          There are women at Trump rallies with vulgar signs and shirts that say Trump can grab them between their legs anytime he chooses

          But they use the more inappropriate term for their private parts than “between their legs”

          That’s where we are at.

          No wonder so many “good christians” support him

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            He’s something, all right. But what?

            I keep coming back to the question. Is he:




            I suppose he’s all three, but I’m not entirely sure on the last. Is he actually stupid, or is it that he’s just so amazingly ignorant that he SEEMS stupid?

            1. Barry

              My wife and I frequently discuss the rationale given by Trump cult members regarding their support of him.

              Trump cult folks very often say they like him because “he says what’s on his mind with no filter and they like when someone does that”

              My wife told me she wonders ….. “What if you (me) walked up to one of those Trumpers and called their spouse a vulgar name and accused them of a very vulgar activity. Would they look at you with admiration that you were willing to “say what’s on your mind with no filter?”

              We know the answer. If they didn’t attack you physically, they’d for certain curse you out and never want to engage with you again. They would, under no circumstances, admire you for “being honest and saying what you think”

              But I don’t think an explanation of “Well, I was just following Trump’s lead and telling you what was on my mind with no filter” works for Trump cult members.

              They won’t admit it, but they’ve allowed him to occupy a space in their brains and lives where he can say and do anything he wants to do and they don’t care.

              Just remember that they next time they whine and complain about Joe Biden or some other Democrat whose shirt wasn’t pressed as sharply as they thought it should be.

              They are hypocrites. They are hypocrites whether they are on your own spouse your pastor/priest, your mom or dad, your grandpa, your aunt, your boss, your own children.

  2. Ralph Hightower

    So many points in your article.
    • The Republican Party is dead. It is now the Trump Party. In fact, Trump wants his daughter-in-law to be chairperson and wants the part to pay his legal bills.
    • Trump embraces tyrants and dictators while spurring our allies and friends.
    • January 6, 2021 was a black day with the Trump inspired insurrection. He gleefully cheered and wanted to go to the riots. He’s promised amnesty to all convicted.

    I had to call emergency services this week because of an accident. One of the cognitive questions I was asked was “What do you think of the president?” I answered, “Trump changed me from an independent to a Democrat.” They chuckled.

    Since I’m not an independent, I don’t think I should vote in the state Trump Party primary, which means that I cannot vote for Lexington County offices. Nobody runs as a Democrat for county offices in Lexington County.

      1. Ken

        Independence is a matter of state of mind, not registration. And in this state, many minds, such as they are, are thoroughly immured, enthralled, happily hobbled, wed to a politics of fanatical shallowness.


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