The Trouble with Nikki
There is no "Not Trump" lane.
1. Nikki! Nicky! Nické!
Look: Nikki Haley might not be your first, fifth, or fifteenth choice to be president of these United States of America. But she’s fine.
And by “fine” I mean: If Haley became president, she might be 10 percent—or 50 percent—worse than your first choice, but she wouldn’t be an illiberal menace threatening the stability of the republic. She might even be a good chief executive! Whatever the case, she’d live between the 40 yard lines of American politics and that’s great.
The problem is that, as Sarah explained this morning, there is no constituency for Nikki Haley within the Republican party.1
A Nikki Haley candidacy is premised on the idea that she is Not Trump. The theory behind this is that the Republican electorate’s preferences in 2024 can be divided into “Trump” and “Not Trump” lanes and that if Haley can win the “Not Trump” primary and then consolidate those voters, then she can win a head-to-head matchup against Big Orange.
But I want to put this in bold:
There is no “Not Trump” lane.
Let me explain.