KOLEAN: By Exiting Now, Nikki Haley’s Presidential Hopes May Endure in Post-Trump Era


(Charlie Kolean, Headline USA contributor) The current political landscape within the GOP, echoing the dynamics of 2020, presents a challenging scenario for potential candidates, particularly for Nikki Haley, the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

Despite her emerging prominence in the Republican Party, a detailed analysis of her political strategies and the latest polling data suggest that her path to the GOP nomination in 2024 is fraught with formidable obstacles.

Since her departure from the ambassadorial role in 2018, Haley has embarked on a nationwide speaking tour, aiming to bolster her name recognition. However, this strategy seems to pale in comparison to the overwhelming support enjoyed by former President Donald Trump.

RealClearPolitics averages, as of Nov. 28, paint a clear picture: Trump leads with an astonishing average of 61.3%, while Haley trails significantly at 9.9%. This stark contrast in polling numbers is more than just numerical data; it’s a vivid portrayal of the current political sentiment within the GOP.

The dilemma Haley faces is further compounded by her actions during the 2020 election. Her hesitation in unequivocally endorsing Trump has placed her in a precarious position. In a political environment where ideological loyalty is paramount, Haley’s pragmatic stance appears to disconnect her from the core GOP base, a base that overwhelmingly supports Trump, as evidenced by his polling average being more than six times higher than hers.

Given these realities, Haley’s bid for the GOP nomination in 2024 seems increasingly challenging. The enormous gap in polling numbers—Trump’s soaring 61.3 against Haley’s modest 9.9—underscores the monumental task ahead of her.

This disparity is not merely a hurdle; it’s akin to scaling a political Everest, with Trump’s towering support casting a long shadow over her campaign efforts.

While Haley’s foreign-policy expertise and visibility during recent global crises have boosted her media presence, this “sugar high” of increased TV appearances is unlikely to translate into a substantial shift in the polls. Her lack of a strong ground game and a network of activists in key swing states further diminishes her chances of securing the necessary 1,235+ delegates at the RNC convention.

From a strategic standpoint, Haley might need to reconsider her campaign, particularly in light of the upcoming South Carolina presidential primary. Trump’s nearly 29-point lead over her in her home state poses a significant risk to her political credibility.

Withdrawing before a potential defeat in South Carolina could preserve her status as a viable contrarian candidate, positioning her favorably for a future bid in 2028, especially if Trump is defeated in 2024.

Haley’s prowess in articulating sensitive issues with clarity and sensibility is nearly unparalleled. Her focus on messages that align with her record—strong national defense, fiscal responsibility, government transparency and enhancing economic opportunities for all—has the potential to resonate deeply with voters.

RED PAC’s success in winning primaries by focusing on these topics is a testament to their appeal. Therefore, Haley should not hastily squander her prospects in a race that appears to be almost decided. Instead, she could strategically channel her strengths and prepare for a more opportune moment to make a significant impact on the national political stage.

Charlie Kolean, the chief political strategist at RED PAC, has been involved in politics for over a decade as an activist, candidate, political consultant, and party leader at the state and national level. Kolean was a bundler on the Trump Finance Victory Committee, and he has acted as an advisor to numerous campaigns, super-PACs and multimillion-dollar ballot proposals. He is a member of the American Association of Political Consultants.

Editor’s Note: The above piece is an opinion piece. Although Headline USA does curate and edit such pieces for style purposes, the views expressed in it do not necessarily represent those of the publication. Headline USA did not receive nor furnish any compensation for the submission.