During a recent interview with Fox News, former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley signaled that she was ready to lead the Republican party. I believe she’ll be a tremendous candidate for the 2024 Republican nomination, but securing that prize will be a battle and every true leader must plan for success.
I’d hoped Colin Powell would seek the Republican nomination in 2000. Instead, George W. Bush nominated him to be Secretary of State, the first African American to serve in that post. Nearly two decades later Nikki Haley was tabbed by President Trump to serve as the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Rumors later swirled that Haley was considered as a possible replacement for Vice President Pence in 2020. That nugget in Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s upcoming book, cannot be overlooked.
The revelation that some in the administration opined about the benefits of adding Haley to the ticket speaks to how dynamic she can be and how highly she’s regarded in some circles of Trump’s orbit.
Haley also has history on her side. Of those who have been elected President, 17 have previous Executive experience as Governors. Before serving as South Carolina’s Governor from 2011-2017, she spent three terms in South Carolina’s State House, the only freshman legislator to be in leadership.
Although Haley isn’t the only Governor in this race, I believe she’ll ultimately be better positioned than Florida’s Ron DeSantis, who has yet to announce his intentions. If he runs DeSantis will face a barrage of questions and attacks as the race’s early presumptive front-runner.
Now polling in the single digits, there’s an opportunity for Haley to build momentum without the burden of high expectations. She can connect with Americans across Iowa and New Hampshire before heading to her home state of South Carolina, where she won her last bid for Governor by a 56-41 margin. While on the stump she’s likely to articulate a comprehensive plan to help Americans who are frustrated by inflation, while calming fears of a recession and listless economy. Look for Haley to highlight her proven record.
According to data provided by the Global Business Alliance, she helped create nearly 127,000 quality jobs through foreign investment in the Palmetto State. Haley also encouraged American companies to return home as well. She’s called South Carolina the beast of the Southeast, she’ll argue that it’s time to expand the policies she’s implemented and get government out of our way. South Carolina has historically been the gateway to the South for Republican Presidential hopefuls. Now those voters can propel her to Washington.
Haley can intrinsically and passionately speak about immigration. She and her parents are examples of the opportunities available to Americans. As the first Indian American Presidential candidate, Haley and others embody the virtues of legal immigration. She is best positioned to couple discussions about necessary legal immigration reform with the importance of border security measures.
It is possible for Republicans to be strong leaders without appearing harsh. Haley will have fair chance to demonstrate to voters that she is that leader, and that this is her time.