Before last month’s primary debate, many voters may have forgotten that Nikki Haley was running for president. She hadn’t received much press since her initial announcement in February made her the first candidate to challenge her former boss, Donald Trump.
Haley’s Strong on Foreign Policy
But Haley made herself known after a strong showing in Milwaukee. She snapped at an obstinate Vivek Ramaswamy, saying, “you have no foreign policy experience and it shows,” earning her a roaring round of applause from the audience.
In fact, it could be debated that Haley was the only one on the stage with any real tangible foreign policy experience.
She demonstrated her knowledge and savvy in a recent interview with Jake Tapper of CNN.
“How much more has to happen for Biden to realize you don’t send cabinet members over to China to appease them? You start getting serious with China and say we’re not going to put up with it. They keep sending different cabinet officials over, Jake, and it’s embarrassing.”
Haley has continued to come out strong, forcing many Republicans to take a second look.
According to Axios, a prominent pollster told Republican donors that former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) “has surged” in polls in Iowa after the Republican presidential debate.
Still, she would have to leapfrog the second runner up, Ron DeSantis, and it’s quite a hop to overcome the leading candidate, Trump.
According to the most recent polling in Iowa, she would even have to surpass fellow South Carolinian, Tim Scott. Weeks after the dust has settled from the debate, Trump sits on top with 49 points, DeSantis follows with 14, Scott sits at 8 points, and Haley draws just 7.
It seems a far jump, but Republicans serious about winning the general shouldn’t underestimate Haley.
In fact, Haley has been seen sporting a t-shirt that reads “Underestimate Me. That’ll Be Fun.”
Is It Time for a Woman President?
Haley’s broader base appeal may be one of her greatest strengths.
While it’s been proven voters won’t vote for a candidate solely because they are a woman (particularly when many don’t even seem to know what a woman is these days), Haley’s sex might be just enough for the scales to tip in her favor, despite her pro-life stance on abortion.
While it is certainly not a focal point of her campaign, Haley has thrown out some zingers regarding her womanhood. In the primary debate, amid bickering between her male competitors, Haley interjected, “This is exactly why Margaret Thatcher said ‘If you want something said ask a man, if you want something done ask a woman.’”
Haley doesn’t need to beat it over the heads of women voters. They know she’s a mother with a husband in the military and that is appealing to many.
“There’s no need for her to light her hair on fire and [stress] the fact that she’s a woman because she uses her ability and experience as a way to connect with voters,” said GOP strategist Alice Stewart, a CNN political commentator who advised former Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann on her 2012 presidential bid. “What suburban women want is a candidate that’s going to speak the truth, and Nikki Haley is out there being truthful about Donald Trump’s record. She’s being truthful about what we can actually accomplish in the future on abortion.”
Haley is strong without being bombastic. She stands up for what she believes in without instigating petty arguments. She’s got a great track record as the governor of South Carolina, where most of her constituents supported her leadership.
As one Townhall reporter wrote, “We need a Republican nominee who can win votes. And we need a president who can win the hearts and minds of the American people because that is the only way we will solve our big problems and make America strong and proud again.”
I agree and I do believe Haley could be that candidate. It remains to be seen how many agree with me.
Jennifer Galardi is the politics and culture editor and opinion writer for 19FortyFive.com. She has a Master’s in Public Policy from Pepperdine University and produces and hosts the podcast Connection with conversations that address health, culture, politics, and policy. In a previous life, she wrote for publications in the health, fitness, and nutrition space. In addition, her pieces have been published in the Epoch Times and Pepperdine Policy Review. You can follow her on Instagram and Twitter.