Haley’s Role Now? Baiting Donald Trump

by Emil Guillermo

Nikki Haley, the lone Asian American, and lone woman, left running for president on the Republican side, isn’t quitting the race yet, despite an 11-point loss in New Hampshire.

Instead, she may be doing the country a big public service. As long as Haley keeps running, she baits Trump into showing us exactly why he’d be a terrible choice for the GOP and for America. That is, if 91 felony counts, four indictments, two impeachments, and being found liable for sexual assault aren’t enough presidential resume killers.

For a conventional win, Haley’s best shot moving forward is to dress up as if she were a modern Statue of Liberty and tell her fellow Republicans, “Give me your college educated, your moderates.”

They’re the ones who overwhelmingly voted for Haley in New Hampshire.

By the way, The New York Times asked recently this question: Since when did immigration become so polarizing? Have they heard about the Chinese Exclusion Act? How about the Immigration Act of 1924? How about the efforts to exclude Filipinos by self-deportation? The American blind spot is Asian American history.

For now, Haley is the immigrant daughter who appeals to the rational GOP and moderates. According to media exit polling, independents went 58-39 for Haley over Trump; college grads were 56-42.

Furthermore, the exit polls say if Trump wins, 84% of Haley supporters will be dissatisfied. It suggests they won’t be “nose clip voters,” holding their nose as they vote for Trump.

They might be able to win if they were joined by enough chronic non-participants who see this existential moment in American democracy important enough to actually turn out to vote.

Admittedly, it’s an outside chance.

Consider that a sighting of Halley’s Comet, which is visible to earthlings every 79 years or so, is more likely than a Haley presidency.

Still, it’s worth a shot to remind us all once again the worst qualities of Trump.

On primary night, Trump acted like Haley was some walking-dead-zombie. “Even Ron came in second and he left,” said Trump to his followers in New Hampshire. “She came in third and she’s still hanging around.”

Trump couldn’t understand why she wouldn’t just quit.

“I find in life you can’t let people get away with bulls**t,” Trump said, who described watching Haley’s acknowledgment that he won, and then watched her say, “The race is far from over.”

Trump seemed angry and in disbelief at his post-campaign speech.

“And when I watched her in that fancy dress, probably wasn’t so fancy, I said what is she doing? We won,” Trump said. “Who the hell was the imposter that went up on the stage before and claimed a victory? She did very poorly, actually. She had to win…then she failed badly.”

Both candidates made revealing speeches to end the New Hampshire primary.

Trump, of course, started his off with a lie. “If you remember, we won in 2016, and if you want to play it straight, we also won in 2020,” Trump said, repeating the “Big Lie” as his election-denier fans cheered.

As we all know, Biden beat Trump by a 4.5%% popular vote margin, and by 74 votes in the electoral college.

To say Trump won in 2020 is the lie that still motivates Trump voters, almost as much as racial animus.

Just before the vote this week, Trump made race the polarizing issue in New Hampshire by purposefully bungling Haley’s South Asian name, calling her “Nikki Nimrada Haley.”

There was no apology for greenlighting this kind of racial transgression for his MAGA base to emulate.

At his victory celebration, Trump showed how he believes he’s inoculated himself from charges of racism. He surrounded himself on the stage not by white MAGA politicians but by his new dark surrogates. Behind Trump was the glib Vivek Ramaswamy and the South Carolina Senator Tim Scott flashing a broad toothy smile.

Trump even let Ramaswamy give a cheerleader-like rah-rah speech. “What we saw tonight is America First defeating America last,” said the former candidate for the Republican nomination turned attack dog for Trump.

More embarrassing was when Trump brought up Scott and mentioned how Scott was appointed by Haley to be senator but endorsed Trump.

Trump then said to Scott, “You must really hate her?”

Scott, the African American senator who ran and failed in a presidential run based on positivity, tried to stay positive even here.

“I just love you,” said a tense Scott as the crowd cheered. (Perhaps it was his Marianne Williamson impression?)

Trump misogyny
So we have at least a few more weeks of this, or at least until the rich capitalists like the Kochs who are funding Haley’s campaign realize they’re just burning money.

It leaves us with the misogynists’ dream battle. Trump v. Haley, mano y mano.

Trump was recently jolted into reality by a New York jury that ordered him to pay $83 million for defaming writer E. Jean Carroll.

Trump was in court in attempt to disrupt justice, but his antics only showed what a bully he was toward Carroll, an 80-year-old woman. Trump already was found liable for sexually assaulting Carroll. This was merely a trial to determine the damages, and justice was served.

$83 million? Trump’s losses are just beginning, and this is just the civil case. The criminal trials are coming up.

This is the man Republicans want to be their president. Half the U.S. population is female. And a master misogynist is the best the GOP can do?

Whenever I asked Filipino Republicans since 2016 if they were still for Trump after he had exposed himself as a failed moral leader, the answer I got was always the same.

“Well, he’s better than Hillary,” they all said.

In 2024, there’s still such a visceral hate for Hillary, and women, among the Trump base that it’s hard not to see all that misogyny transfer to Haley.

Haley’s -ism
If Trump deals in racism and sexism, Haley is taking up ageism.

“The first party to retire its 80-year-old candidate is going to be the party that wins this election,” Haley said.

But in another line, Haley was just about as bad as Trump on all the other

“A Trump nomination is a Biden win, and a Kamala Harris presidency,” Haley said in a single line that invokes ageism, racism, and sexism.

Haley may yet make it to Super Tuesday. But in that last quip about a Harris presidency, she does raise a historical possibility in the future.

Two women of Asian Indian descent battling each other to be president of the United States? It could happen. A Haley-Harris cage match? That would be a real test of diversity in a post-MAGA America.

Haley surprisingly isn’t doing well in South Carolina. So, keep your eye on Nevada as the next state to watch. It’s more diverse than any state so far, with large numbers of Filipinos.

That makes Nevada a real test not just for Haley, but also for Trump.

EMIL GUILLERMO is a journalist and commentator, who has covered politics in Hawaii and the mainland.  He does a micro-talk show on YouTube.com/@emilamok1

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