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Veep Symposium: Nikki Haley

Should Donald Trump choose Nikki Haley as his vice president to make her miserable?

Conservatives Attend The Annual CPAC Event

Three M’s: money, moderates, and moms. That’ll be the justification if Donald Trump chooses Nimarata “Nikki” Haley as his running mate.

First, money. Haley has tapped into a well of ultra-wealthy donors over the course of her campaign that Trump has not been able to up to this point. The Trump campaign could certainly use the money. It started the year $13 million behind President Joe Biden’s campaign in terms of cash on hand, and legal fees are piling up. Some of Haley’s donors are Democrats or rabid never-Trumpers that would never cut the Trump campaign a check; others might consider it if Haley’s on the ticket. But whoever these donors are, Haley’s rather fond of boasting about them.

As for moderates, the claim would be that Haley will help Trump perform better with the moderate voters he struggles to court. The problem with courting undecided moderate voters is they don’t really exist, at least in numbers large enough to swing the election. As Lee Drutman laid out in 538, only 5 percent of moderates, who are actually overwhelmingly liberal, were undecided more than a year before the 2020 presidential election. 

Haley would also supposedly help Trump with “moms,” which I’m using as a stand-in for suburban women. Many of these women claim their issue is Trump’s personality, not his politics. I think that’s bologna. When it comes down to it, the college-educated, upper-middle class, increasingly-less-married suburban woman simply isn’t with us. They’re pro-abortion, pro-immigration, pro-LGBT, and, more than anything, pro-feminism. Which makes Haley the perfect pick to pander to them, but that’ll do little to change the minds of women who blame waking up in the middle of the night on what Trump tweeted at Cher in 2012 instead of menopause. 

But there’s another way to justify picking Haley as vice president: continue the Biden model. The octogenarian president has turned his vice president into his full-time Home Care Nurse. Biden makes a mess and tells her to clean it up; before she finishes, he’s already made another. Yet everyone blames her for the mess. Think of it: All this talk about replacing Biden as the nominee, and not one person has suggested Kamala Harris. Her presidential aspirations have been ruined by being one eighty-year-old heartbeat away from the Oval Office. That’s misery, and I wish nothing more than that for Nikki Haley.