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Divided We Stand

Divided We Stand
New book about the 2020 election.

Friday, February 23, 2024

South Carolina Snoozer: Pre-Mortems

Our latest book is titled Divided We Stand: The 2020 Elections and American Politics. The 2024 race has begun. The nomination phase has effectively ended.  The Haley campaign has already expired, and the South Carolina primary will merely be the death certificate.

 Natalie Allison at Politico:

For years after she left the governor’s office, Haley failed to nurture her own base of support with the party faithful.

“We didn’t abandon her,” said Allen Olson, formerly the head of the Columbia Tea Party, who was supportive of Haley as she entered the governor’s office. “She abandoned us.”

As Haley campaigns in her home state ahead of Saturday’s primary, she is encountering an electorate that is not only enamored with Trump but that she has done little to cultivate. More than a decade after she last won over conservative voters here, Haley had become a stranger at state and local party events, avoiding Silver Elephant Dinners, party conventions and grassroots gatherings as she embarked on national speaking circuits and book tours, stumped for Republican candidates around the country, appeared on national TV and flirted with the question of whether she would run for president.


Haley returned to South Carolina in 2019 after serving at the United Nations and living in New York City, putting down new roots in the coastal resort community of Kiawah Island. It was hours away from Lexington, the Republican-rich suburb of Columbia where she launched her political career as a state representative.
Far from the heart of conservative South Carolina, Kiawah Island is a golf and beach town, a destination for transplants and retirees and part of a county that President Joe Biden won in 2020. The Biden family has vacationed there at a donor friend’s mansion.

Haley has been making the electability argument.  Yes, the polls show that she would run better than Trump in November.  But most polls also show Trump winning. albeit by a slender margin.  The  "loser" label does not work with voters who think that he actually won in 2020, but was the victim of a rigged election.  

Lately she has been saying that Trump sides with foreign thugs.  That is closer to the mark, but most voters do not care about foreign policy.

She does not want to say the obvious:  that Trump incited a violent rebellion against the government he swore to uphold.

Jonathan Martin at Politico:

For all their enmity toward the other in the last few months, Ron DeSantis and Haley are strikingly similar in their failures. Both made scant effort to develop relationships, whether with the media or with fellow Republicans. Neither was widely accessible to the press until their fate was likely sealed and neither had much goodwill with other GOP lawmakers. So when Haley, as recently as this month, sought out endorsements from some of the most prominent figures in the party it was too late. Those horrified by Trump stayed quiet and everybody else in the party gave in and endorsed the frontrunner.
For all Haley’s talk about hard truths, a staple of her stump speech, the one she hasn’t come to terms with is that Trump represents the bright line of our times. It’s a which-side-are-you-on moment. And, as she made clear in her remarks, she doesn’t want to pick one.

Instead, she’s contorting herself, and blurring the history we’ve all lived through, to argue Trump has changed. It’s a way to rationalize her own capitulation to him in 2016 and accommodate a party rank-and-file that just maybe can be convinced that the person who called for a Muslim ban, mocked Mitt Romney for walking like a penguin and belittled John McCain’s war record and gold star families was a bigger person when he first ran for president.
I know why she’s doing it — she doesn’t want to be seen as Liz Cheney, as donning the blue jersey by saying Trump is unfit for office. Haley wants to retain her viability with Republicans, which is why she made clear again in that speech she’s no Never Trumper.

There are many others like Haley. There’s actually a word for them in the Trump era: homeless. Or to use a more modern phrase: the politically unhoused.