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Nikki Haley plays against Trump at home (and loses)

2024-02-24T05:05:07.529Z

Highlights: Nikki Haley plays against Trump at home (and loses). Polls give the former president a landslide victory in the South Carolina primaries. Haley was born in Bamberg, the town in the middle of nowhere where she was born 52 years ago. “This is a town that taught me to be strong,” she told her former neighbors. ‘Our system favors the polarization of the parties, instead of the people,’ she says. “I don't see much of a future for it for it, so I don’t see much hope for it.”


Polls give the former president a landslide victory in the South Carolina primaries, the state in which the only remaining Republican rival was born and served as governor.


Nikki Haley plays this Saturday at home, but she has everything to lose.

Donald Trump's only rival still standing in the race for the Republican nomination for the presidential elections is like one of those mid-table teams about to play a game against their own against the unbeatable leader of the league.

Unless a miracle occurs, he has no way of winning it.

The meeting will be in the primaries of South Carolina, the state in which Haley was born and where she was governor between 2011 and 2017, before answering the call of (precisely) Trump to occupy the position of United States ambassador to the UN. .

The candidate has been touring the southern state all week and basically repeating the same rally, one of whose high points comes when she says: “There were 14 men in this race;

I have taken 12 ahead, now I only have the last one left.”

There are twelve party rivals who have fallen by the wayside in recent months, including Ron DeSantis, governor of Florida and former Republican leader.

But the last one is also the most difficult: Trump leads her in this Saturday's primaries by almost 35 points, according to polls.

If the forecasts come true, it will be the fourth early election campaign event that Trump wins without much effort, after Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada.

But Haley, who has had February 24 marked in red on his calendar for months as his big opportunity, already warned this Tuesday that, whatever the result, he doesn't plan to "go anywhere."

That he will continue fighting;

first, in Michigan, and then, on March 5, on the famous Super Tuesday, the day on which the largest number of primary elections coincide in States throughout the country.

For a handful of votes, Haley traveled 500 kilometers on Wednesday and Thursday, to two rallies a day, to give her all in North Augusta, one of those American towns that allowed itself to be swallowed up by its own suburb, and in Myrtle Beach, the city of holidays in low season, as well as in the charming and wealthy ports of Beaufort and Georgetown.

If these four places have anything in common, it is how little they resemble Bamberg, the town in the middle of nowhere where Haley was born 52 years ago.

It is a working class community, decidedly Democratic and with a black majority (63.7%).

The first is a rarity in South Carolina, which has voted Republican in the last 11 presidential elections.

The second, not so much: with 27.09%, it is the fifth State with the highest percentage of African-American population in the Union.

It is a segment that did not support her when she ran for governor.

This time, certain unfortunate comments by the candidate, who refused to cite slavery on television as the cause of the Civil War, will not help her in conquering it.

Last Wednesday it was impossible to find a Haley sympathizer in Bamberg, but at least one neighbor who remembered her.

“She was a friend of my daughter-in-law at school when she was in eighth grade [14 years old].

This is a small place, she knows?

We all know each other.

"My daughter-in-law speaks fondly of her," said Jeff Deibel, who runs the local radio station and that day he was taking photos of the hole left in "a three-story building" by a tornado that devastated the town of about 3,000 inhabitants in January.

Racism in childhood

Last week, Haley's campaign bus (the “Beast of the Southeast,” she calls it) stopped here, and the candidate was able to see the damage in person.

“This is the town that taught me to be strong,” she told her former neighbors.

In her memoirs (two to date) she remembers her years in Bamberg with less affection and talks about the racism she felt when the girl Nimarata Randhawa had not yet changed her surname to that of her husband and her family was the only one of Indian origin in the country. a place where they were twice denied the sale of a house because of their ethnic origin.

Or when she was eliminated from a beauty contest because she was “neither black nor white.”

Deibel, like many of those who attend the candidate's rallies these days, does not have much hope for her victory.

“Our system favors polarization.

And the parties, instead of the people, so I don't see much of a future for it,” she says.

And like those supporters, she also considers that she was a good governor.

So thinks Deborah Brooks, who before the Augusta rally recalled her “extraordinary and compassionate role when she prevented the Charleston tragedy from turning into a riot.”

Brooks was referring to the 2015 massacre of nine African Americans in a church at the hands of the young white supremacist Dylann Roof, which led to another of the touchstones of Haley's biography: that day when he ordered the Confederate flag to be taken down from the statehouse. .

Another of her voters, Monty Steedley, who supported Trump in 2016 and 2020, argued that he saw her as the “only possible option.”

He does not even want to hear about Joe Biden, a more than likely Democratic candidate, and he judges the former president “too obsessed with himself” and he still feels “chills” when remembering the assault on the Capitol.

“What would have happened if he had the Army on his side?” he asked himself.

Haley voters with signs that read: "South Carolina loves Nikki," on Wednesday in the coastal town of Beaufort. ALYSSA POINTER (REUTERS)

Both arguments, her record of service as governor and the calculation that she carries less baggage to defeat Biden, are recurrent in Haley's speeches, in which she defends that unemployment fell when she was in charge of South Carolina and that she attracted to companies like Boeing or BMW.

She blames Washington for all the evils and promises to bring the Capitol into line.

She also attacks her rival on Saturday for her advanced age, for increasing the public debt while she was president, for her sympathy with Vladimir Putin or for her attacks on veterans, an issue in which the candidate, after months of avoiding it, has decided to enter. On the personal level: she often says that her husband was stationed in Afghanistan and remembers that time when the magnate said that Americans who die in war are “losers” and “assholes.”

At her rallies, Haley also shows some of her contradictions.

For example, when she asserts that she would be the first woman in the White House, but she rejects the feminist rhetoric, she is not suitable for her conservative base, the “glass ceiling” that Hillary Clinton almost broke.

Or when the daughter of a professor who emigrated to Canada from India with eight dollars in her pocket advocates deportation as the only way out of the immigration crisis.

His supporters, like Bob Cook, present at the Georgetown rally with his dog Wallen, whom he wore an I Pick Nikki t-shirt, see in this battery of proposals the living image of sanity ― That, they trust in his campaign, may earn him the favor of the undecided and independents - as well as the "return to the essence of the lifelong Republican Party."

Perhaps Cook hasn't realized that that formation no longer exists.

David Sandifer, supporter and 'double' of Donald Trump, this Thursday at the doors of a Nikki Haley rally in Myrtle Beach (South Carolina).iker seisdedos

Or perhaps it is that it is hijacked by the fervor of those spontaneous people who show up at each and every stop on Haley's campaign bus with signs of support for the former president.

These days, Myrtle Beach was the busiest and most boisterous.

In front was a guy named David Sandifer, who likes to dress up as the tycoon “to show his support.”

In addition to the blue suit, the red tie and the yellow wig, he appeared with the rest of the official equipment of Trumpism: the hoax that the 2020 election was stolen from him, the complaint that the lawsuits against him (he faces 91 crimes in four different cases) are politically motivated, the warning that if she ends up in jail it could spark an “uprising” and the theory that if Haley is holding on it is because dark forces are financing her campaign in order to divide to Republicans and pave the way to Biden's re-election.

Beyond the conspiracies, Georgetown historian Michael Kazin believes that Haley's efforts may be due to two reasons: "the vain hope that one of Trump's legal troubles will turn the voters of his party against him," or that she is doing so with a view to positioning herself as a candidate in 2028. Others, like her classmate at Clemson University, Carie Mager, attribute it to her “very, very stubborn” personality.

Or, who knows, maybe it's that when she walks determinedly to the stage at one of her rallies she repeats to herself the South Carolina slogan, a phrase that adorns the license plates of her cars along with the palmetto, the official state tree: “As long as I breathe, there is still hope.”

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Source: elparis

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