Nikki Haley’s potential as a good president can be argued from various angles, including her political experience, stance on leadership renewal, foreign policy expertise, and her approach to governance and political discourse. For those looking for an alternative to a Trump-Biden rematch, here are 17 reasons why Nikki Haley could be a good alternative.
Experience as South Carolina Governor
Haley’s tenure as governor provided her with executive experience in government operations and fiscal management. President Biden, who spent 36 years in the Senate, came in with no executive experience outside of his time with the Obama administration. Haley has managed everything from mass shootings to hurricanes to negotiating a bipartisan compromise removing the Confederate flag from the Statehouse during her time as governor.
At 51, Haley represents a younger generation of leaders. “I don’t think you need to be 80 years old to go be a leader in D.C.,” she told Fox News. “It’s time for a new generation of leadership,” she said in a campaign video. Trump, the Republican frontrunner, is 77, and incumbent president and Democrat frontrunner Joe Biden is 80.
Foreign Policy Expertise
When she was appointed as Trump’s ambassador to the United Nations, she gave him three conditions. She did not want a middleman between her and the president, she wanted to be in the room when all national security decisions were made, and she needed to be able to say what she thought. He agreed to all of them, which gave Haley significant foreign policy experience that is crucial for a president.
On the very controversial topic of abortion, USA Today reports, “Haley has a message with bipartisan appeal. As the only female candidate, she’s also in the strongest position to speak on this very personal issue. While she is personally ‘pro-life,’ she understands that the matter is nuanced and that talking about a national abortion ban is unrealistic and not helpful. Rather, she has said that the focus should be on access to contraception, encouraging adoption and banning late-term abortion. ‘Let’s treat this like the… respectful issue that it is and humanize the situation and stop demonizing the situation,’ Haley said at the first debate.”
Moral Stance Against Trump
She was a Trump critic who became a Trump appointee and is now officially a Trump rival. Haley has openly criticized Donald Trump’s morals, suggesting a commitment to ethical leadership. She has raised concerns about the age and mental fitness of leaders like Trump, advocating for more capable governance. Haley criticized Trump’s conduct post-2020 election, highlighting her stance on democratic principles.
Response to Racial Conflict
As the daughter of Indian immigrants in South Carolina, she has had to navigate racial issues her entire life, as reported in Politico. When she was growing up, she did not fit the white or black categories her community was used to. Today, she takes blows at her race with grace and says she doesn’t believe the U.S. is a racist country.
Commitment to Campaign
She is trailing behind her Republican opponent, Donald Trump, but polling better than current President Biden. Despite challenges, Haley’s determination to stay in the race demonstrates resilience and dedication. AP reports, “She’s vowing to stay in the race indefinitely, backed by thousands of committed donors, a key slice of the party’s moderate wing, and a new willingness to attack the mental fitness and legal baggage of 2024 Republican front-runner Donald Trump.”
Moderate Republican Support
Haley garners support from a key slice of the party’s moderate wing, indicating her appeal across the Republican spectrum. According to CNN, she holds 58% support among those who are registered as undeclared (New Hampshire’s term for independent voters) and plan to vote in the GOP primary, and 71% support among those who consider themselves ideologically moderate.
Stance on China
In her announcement kicking off her presidential campaign, Haley issued a robust condemnation of China, characterizing it as the “strongest and most disciplined enemy” the United States has faced. “China’s dictators want to cover the world in communist tyranny. We are the only ones who can stop them,” Haley said.
Rejection of Identity Politics
Haley has elected to not run her campaign as a woman of color, but on her merits as a candidate alone. Previous female candidates would leverage “breaking the glass ceiling” as a mainstay of their campaign. Haley’s dismissal of identity politics in favor of broader American values could unify diverse voter groups.
Public Speaking and Debating Skills
Her appearances and speeches, including on platforms like SNL, showcase her ability to engage with the public and use humor effectively. This can give her a leg up on her opponents, as Trump and Biden are both known for their gaffes.
In a campaign press release, it was stated, “As a former governor, Haley can fall back on her executive experience. From mass shootings to hurricanes to negotiating a bipartisan compromise removing the Confederate flag from the Statehouse, her tenure in Columbia was eventful.”
As governor, she prioritized bringing industry to South Carolina. 400,000 more people were employed by the time her 6-year term ended, leaving the unemployment rate at a 15-year low while the population grew at the third fastest rate in the nation. With the country feeling pessimistic about inflation and the current economy, her policies aimed at economic growth and job creation may make her a strong leader.
Education Reform Advocacy
Haley has shown interest in education, an essential area for national development. Haley agreed to sign a pledge from Moms for Liberty to “advance policies that strengthen parental involvement in decision-making, increase transparency, defend against government overreach and secure parental rights at all levels of government. This is not a Republican or Democrat issue,” Haley said. “Every parent, regardless of their education, regardless of where they’re from, knows what’s best for their child.”
Her administration’s approach to healthcare in South Carolina could inform her national healthcare strategies. She has criticized the Biden administration for high federal spending on COVID relief and for the number of people on Medicaid, a program she has argued the federal government should give states more flexibility in funding and administering. Former South Carolina Medicaid Director Anthony Keck pointed out that one of her early achievements as governor was fixing a $228 million Medicaid deficit.
Don Buldoc, a 36-year veteran, endorsed Haley. “Nikki Haley is the only candidate who has laid out a comprehensive plan to support veterans. That fact alone proves that she’s set apart from the pack. It says a lot when politicians ignore veterans until it’s convenient for them. Nikki knows convenience has nothing to do with it. She understands that America owes veterans a debt—a debt that can’t be ignored and must be repaid.”
Haley started every speech in her campaign for governor the same way: “I am the proud daughter of Indian parents who reminded us every day how blessed we are to live in this country.” She has also said, “No one who is willing to work hard, abide by our laws and love our traditions should ever feel unwelcome in this country.” Many feel she will have a more balanced, human approach to immigration policies.