IS "MADAME PRESIDENT" IN NIKKI HALEY'S FUTURE?

12/25/2017 10:29 pm ET

Professor Jonathan Adelman

During the difficult first year of the Trump administration, two people have stood out as future leaders of the Republican Party--Nikki Haley and Mike Pence. Here we will focus on Nikki Haley. In 2020 or 2024 she may emerge as the next American Presidential or at least a Vice Presidential candidate

How might that happen? She has shown herself at the United Nations as a smooth professional yet passionate defender of the United States. She is as well a convincing speaker. To win the Presidency she has a combination of six factors which no other Republican has in toto.

First, a Republican needs to do better among women who make up 53% of the electorate. While Trump won only 42% of the female vote, Clinton won 54%. This is an historic weakness for many candidates. Haley would be the first woman to win the Presidency and has a very good chance to win the female vote.

The importance of being a woman is reinforced by the massive outpouring of uncovered sexual harassment by men in the hallowed halls of the U.S. Congress, the Hollywood entertainment industry and world famous Silicon Valley. A female candidate influences not only female voters but many male voters who feel that it's time to have a woman in the White House.

Second,  having grown up in South Carolina, the former majority whip of the South Carolina House of Representatives and the governor of South Carolina has a natural appeal to Southerners. Usually the Republicans have swept the formerly Democratic South but this year Virginia, Georgia and Alabama all elected Democrats to the Congress. Nikki Haley has spent over a decade in South Carolina's politics and as a fellow Southerner could sweep the South.

Third, as an Sikh Indian American born as Nimrata Randhawa in South Carolina she would have a natural appeal to 20 million Asian-Americans who voted 75% for Clinton and only 19% for Trump. Among the the 4 million Indian Americans who voted 77% for Clinton and 16% for Trump, she should be able to win a convincing majority. This would be the first time that a major party would have nominated an Asian American or Indian American to high office. That might even attract some non-Asian Americans who are attracted by this background as proof that the American system really does work.

Fourth, she has another virtue, being very experienced in business. While her father was a college professor at Voorhees College, she spent a number of years working for her mother's dress shop. She has an accounting degree from Clemson University and actually kept the books for the store from the age of 12. The Economist in 2016  in a piece entitled "Haley's Comet," compared her to another shopkeeper's daughter, Margaret Thatcher, and spoke of her fiscal ferocity and capability for conciliation. Her mother's family mantra was "Deal With It."

Fifth, there are the donors to the campaigns. She will have strong appeal to pro-Israel groups, who applauded her statements and actions at the United Nations over the move of embassies to Jerusalem. They would like the intelligent, straight forward way in which she made her case.

Finally, at 45 years old she is relatively young and energetic. Many of the other potential candidates for either the Republican or Democratic Presidential nomination in 2020 and 2024 are, like Jerry Brown, Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden, in their 70s or like Elizabeth Warren and Howard Dean in their late 60s.

Of course, her future may not turn out as well as it is seen her. A female Democratic nominee for the Presidency would disrupt some of Haley’s advantages. But, if its happens that she becomes the Republican Presidential nominee in 2020 or 2024 the prospects for victory would be strong. Only time will tell the outcome but right now Nikki Haley’s future looks bright.

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