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Nikki Haley Announces Who She's Voting For
OPINION

Message to Nikki Haley: Time to Go

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
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AP Photo/Meg Kinnard

The early contests have made it clear – Nikki Haley has no chance of winning the GOP presidential nomination. She should drop out of the race, endorse Trump, and help launch the general election to remove Joe Biden.

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In Greenville, South Carolina, on Tuesday, the former South Carolina governor and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, in what her campaign billed as a “major address,” attempted to explain her reasons for continuing her campaign for the GOP presidential nomination despite the long odds facing her. 

She was unpersuasive. 

Haley has no chance of winning the GOP presidential nomination. She did not win in Iowa, New Hampshire, or Nevada. She will not win in South Carolina on Saturday despite having served as its governor – in fact, polls in her home state have consistently shown her trailing by more than 25 points. She will be wiped out in South Carolina, as she has been elsewhere, and as she will be on Super Tuesday, March 5.

No GOP presidential nominee has ever begun a winning nomination campaign by losing both Iowa and New Hampshire. Haley lost both. 

On the flip side, no non-incumbent GOP presidential nomination aspirant has ever succeeded in winning both Iowa and New Hampshire. Until this year, when former President Donald Trump didn’t just win both; he won both with a solid majority of the vote in each state despite running against multi-candidate fields. Trump’s impressive victories in Iowa and New Hampshire were, in fact, a demonstration of sheer political muscle.

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Yet, while winning one of the first two contests is important to get off on the right foot, it is the South Carolina primary that has been the key to winning the GOP nomination: Since its inception in 1980, the winner of the GOP South Carolina primary has gone on to win the GOP nomination in every contest but one – 2012, when Newt Gingrich won South Carolina but eventually lost the nomination to Mitt Romney.

State GOP chairmen recognize Trump’s political muscle and can see the writing on the wall. They’ve begun to endorse Trump even before their own states have gone to the polls to register their preferences. Why? Because they know what the outcomes in their states will be, and they don’t need to wait.

Consequently, state GOP chairs in Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Michigan,  Mississippi, Ohio, Oregon, Texas, and West Virginia have all recently endorsed Trump.

Not Haley, Trump.

Haley declared in her Tuesday remarks that “If the race ended today, we’d have the longest general election in history.” To which my response is, so what? The stakes of the general election could not be higher – the nation simply cannot afford another four years of Joe Biden. The opposition to Biden must have as much time as it can possibly get to organize itself to ensure his defeat. Haley’s declaration that her withdrawal would lead to the longest general election campaign in history isn’t a bug; it’s a feature.

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Haley continued her argument: “But there’s another reason Trump is wrong. At the end of the day, the only candidate who’s helping Joe Biden is Donald Trump because Trump is the only Republican Biden can beat.”

Has Haley checked the RealClearPolitics polling page, which shows the results of just about every major poll released in the United States? In the last 50 national surveys posted, going back to November, Biden leads Trump in precisely nine. On the other hand, in 33 of the last 50 polls – including 12 of the last 15 – Trump leads Biden.

The Trump v. Biden polling is even more revealing when we look at the contest in the battleground states: In Arizona, Trump’s lead over Biden in the Real Clear Politics average is 4.7 percent; in Georgia, it’s 6.8 percent; in Michigan, it’s 4.6 percent; in Nevada, it’s 8.4 percent; in North Carolina, it’s 6.0 percent; and in Wisconsin, it’s 0.6 percent. Among the battleground states, only in Pennsylvania – a state Joe Biden’s been in so many times over the course of his career that he was regularly referred to as “Pennsylvania’s Third Senator – does Biden have a lead in the Real Clear Politics average:  Precisely 0.6 percent. 

Clearly, Trump is not just competitive against Biden; he’s leading Biden nationally and in the battleground states. What in the world is Haley thinking when she says what she does about Trump’s chances against Biden?

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Trump is the leader of the Republican Party, and everybody knows it. He has been the leader of the party since before he took office in January 2017. He has successfully dispatched more primary election foes than any GOP presidential aspirant in history, and now he faces just one final opponent. Nobody doubts the outcome of the nomination fight. Haley should withdraw and let the GOP finish the process of uniting for the critical fall campaign. The time is now.

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