My guess is that former president Woodrow Wilson—the man who shepherded the US through WWI before bringing the world together at the League of Nations—had a different take on “prosperity” and “political campaigns” than the one I’m about to offer.
So, bear with me.
Because suddenly, the endorsement of Nikki Haley by Americans for Prosperity Action has put a new “pep” in the step in her political campaign to become the Republican nominee in the 2024 presidential election.
Polling at just 10% nationally—far behind front runner Donald Trump’s 60%—the former South Carolina Governor and US Ambassador to the UN has found some modest momentum as the US political calendar creeps closer to January’s opening primaries.
On the heels of last week’s seal of approval given by the powerful conservative political advocacy group, backed by billionaires Charles and David Koch, Haley is appearing more and more in the ascendancy as the clear alternative to Trump for the Republican nomination.
Yes, the backing from the Koch Network group comes with, what some describe as, unlimited campaign funds. But, as I was told by a Washington insider last week, it also comes with access to an army of on-the-ground organizers in some 30 states that will prove essential in mobilizing support and the “get out the vote” strategy in the upcoming primaries.
Now, Republican strategists, and political observers generally, caution about the overall impact of the endorsement and recent buzz around Haley. Alone, they claim, it may only move the needle slightly. But arguably, it is the seed being sown in the fabric of Republican voters coalescing around a single candidate to defeat Trump.
As the holiday season turns into primary season, it will be interesting to see if that coalescing in fact takes place.
Well, as I wrote in an earlier post, national poll numbers are misleading to properly understand how the Republican race is shaping up.
The first test of Haley’s strength vis-à-vis Trump—and her other competitors for that matter—will come on January 15th in the opening Iowa caucuses. There, polls show Haley gaining ground on a flagging Ron DeSantis campaign. She now sits a mere two points behind the Florida Governor, and 29 points back of Trump.
A far distance, yes. But much more reasonable than the 50-point spread in national numbers, and eight points closer than she was two months ago.
In the first primary a week later in New Hampshire, Haley sits firmly in second place. She is now 11 points clear of DeSantis—who sits fourth behind Chris Christie—and is gaining ground daily on Trump, who holds a 28-point lead.
Again, a big improvement over where she was in October.
With a strong showing in Iowa and New Hampshire—and the financial resources at her disposal to outspend and out-advertise her opponents—it is possible that Haley could be the sole contender standing against Trump when the race reaches the pivotal South Carolina primary in late February. Currently, in her home state, Haley sits 29 points back of Trump, though well ahead of the rest of the field.
Then again, maybe I’ve taken Wilson’s quote too far out of context.