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What’s Next for Nikki Haley?

What’s Next for Nikki Haley?


Losing isn’t simple.

That will be forgotten within the rush of a presidential marketing campaign — the speeches, assaults, tv commercials, endorsements and the ups-and-downs of polls. But the candidates are, ultimately, bold women and men who’ve invested their egos and reputations in an enterprise that may outline their political lives.

Having to give up will be painful, an act of minor humiliation carried out on a public stage. Conversations about what comes subsequent — whether or not to slog it out in a race or take into consideration subsequent adventures — are tough. So it’s that candidates who’ve spent months working for president usually want just a few days to understand their campaigns are over.

Nikki Haley, the previous United Nations ambassador and former South Carolina governor, is going through her personal resolution this morning after dropping to former President Donald J. Trump within the New Hampshire major. This was the race that she needed — a two-person face-off in a state the place independents are a key bloc and Republicans are extra reasonable than in Iowa. It is tough to place a great spin on it.

But Ms. Haley is simply 52 years previous and there are nonetheless 5 months till Republicans collect in Milwaukee to appoint a presidential candidate. Here are some things she may determine to do within the days forward:

The subsequent contested state on the Republican major calendar is Ms. Haley’s again yard — “my candy house state,” she stated in Concord on Tuesday night time, after New Hampshire was known as for Mr. Trump.

Ms. Haley stated the race was “removed from over” as she pledged to remain in it on Tuesday. She has invested appreciable time and promoting cash within the state the place she was born and received two phrases as governor. But South Carolina has turn out to be Trump territory since she stepped down from that job to hitch his administration, and most polls present her heading for what could be a 3rd decisive loss. (While she campaigns in South Carolina, Mr. Trump is prone to proceed consolidating his party’s assist. In early February, he’s anticipated to win the Nevada caucuses, a contest Ms. Haley is skipping.)

That makes South Carolina dangerous.

A defeat there could be each embarrassing and damaging to any hopes she has for a future marketing campaign for the White House.

On the opposite hand, if she had been to win there, she would be capable to current it as a come-from-behind upset of Mr. Trump, and place her to struggle in — properly, maybe it’s higher we defer right here to a memo despatched out by her marketing campaign manager, Betsy Ankeny, on Tuesday.

“Despite the media narrative, there’s vital fertile floor for Nikki,” she wrote. Among the states talked about: Virginia, Texas, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota — properly, you get the thought.

Ms. Haley has vowed to remain in, however after an evening of speaking to her advisers and supporters, she might reassess.

Candidates do rethink. The morning brings the ultimate election end result, which will be sobering. Donors cease writing checks. Loyal supporters start to edge towards the exits.

Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida additionally stated he was staying within the race after h completed second in Iowa, trailing Mr. Trump by almost 30 factors. That lasted six days.

There are many sturdy arguments for Ms. Haley to hitch Mr. DeSantis, Vivek Ramaswamy, and Chris Christie, to call just a few, who’ve suspended their campaigns. That begins with the mathematics of the caucuses: With all due respect to the memo Ms. Ankeny wrote earlier than the outcomes had been identified, it’s laborious to see any states on the horizon the place Ms. Haley might do what she has not but completed in 2024: Win.

Although Ms. Haley has stepped up her assaults on Mr. Trump over these previous months — most notably skewering his age and psychological acuity — stepping out now might spare her from incomes the longtime enmity of Trump supporters, or no less than Republicans who wish to rally behind Mr. Trump and switch to the final election.

It additionally might set her as much as run once more in 2028. She would have time to rebuild and launch Haley 2.0.

“If I had been working for her, I might exit and get wealthy, go away for some time, after which in 4 years present up with the best 18-minute commercial you’ve got ever seen and light-weight up the party,” stated Mike Murphy, a longtime Republican strategist.

The massive query: Would Ms. Haley be a part of Mr. DeSantis in endorsing the person she has spent weeks criticizing?

Ms. Haley might decide to staying within the race for the lengthy haul, no matter what occurs in South Carolina, within the hopes that for some purpose, by the point the Republican National Committee gathers in Milwaukee in July, Mr. Trump, who’s 77 years previous and charged with 91 felonies, one way or the other finally ends up not being the nominee.

Ms. Haley could be the one declared candidate left within the race.

Sticking round wouldn’t earn her many pals in her party, if it appears as if she is rooting for circumstances, be they Mr. Trump’s well being or the courts, to drive Mr. Trump off the ticket.

It would additionally imply — if Tuesday night time was any indication — that she could be on the market, persevering with to make the case in opposition to Mr. Trump and, arguably, serving to President Biden within the course of.

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