US elections 2024: Indian-American Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley on Tuesday coined a new slogan for her campaign – Make America Normal Again! – as the US presidential race heats up ahead of the GOP’s primary in South Carolina on February 23. Haley is trailing behind former President Donald Trump by more than 30 points in her home state but remains confident of a strong showing.
“Our campaign has been flooded with notes and emails from folks across the country who want to make America normal again. They know that we can do better than two 80-year-old names from the past. I’m fighting every day to make you proud – let’s go!” Haley said as her team launched an aggressive campaign in her home state of South Carolina, where she has been governor for two terms.
“From California to North Carolina, from grandmothers to young parents, these Americans are tired of Joe Biden and Donald Trump’s never-ending chaos and confusion. They don’t want another Trump-Biden rematch. They want a leader who focuses on the American people, not their own personal pettiness,” her campaign said on Tuesday.
Rising support for Haley
Meanwhile, several people sent their best wishes to the 51-year-old Haley, who is the sole Republican challenger to Trump, the frontrunner for a possible 2020 rematch against President Joe Biden in November, as she is improving in polls ahead of the South Carolina primary. “Stay in the race Nikki!! This country, this nutty world, needs leadership with civility, compassion, and toughness,” wrote Gary M.
Mary A wrote, “I want to encourage Nikki Haley to keep pressing on!!! We need a competent and committed leader to stay the course in the bid for the presidency”, while Martha R said, “Please stay strong! Stay in the race and keep your name out there! Your opportunity is coming. I think a lot of us just know that it is.”
“PLEASE DO NOT GIVE UP YOUR FIGHT!! In a world that’s become crazy with strife, we need a level headed conservative leader to navigate us through the insanity! NO ONE is more capable than you are to right the ship, and heal this great nation! WE NEED you Nikki! This country NEEDS you! Our allies, and the beautiful people of this world need you! I don’t want to see you give up, and I guarantee you there are millions more out there who feel exactly as I do!” wrote Michael B.
Haley’s campaign has received an over 200 per cent increase in email traffic from supporters asking the candidate to stay in the race following former president Trump’s primary victory in New Hampshire, according to Fox News. The campaign has received over 6,000 emails with messages supporting the former UN Ambassador and ex-South Carolina Governor like “You’re the real Republicans only chance to be a normal political leader!” and “please do not quit!”.
“The political establishment is trying to coronate Trump, but Nikki has never listened to the establishment. She listens to Americans, and their message is clear: Nikki is the last one standing between the Trump-Biden rematch that 70 per cent of people don’t want to see,” said Haley campaign spokesperson AnnMarie Graham-Barnes.
Trump calls Haley a “warmonger”
Meanwhile, intensifying its attack on Haley, the Trump campaign accused the Indian-American GOP candidate of being a warmonger. “The fact is that Haley knows she doesn’t have a cogent argument or even a coherent reason for why she should be President. But what voters do know is that she’s a warmonger who would rather throw America into endless wars,” Trump’s spokesperson Steven Cheung said.
Former US president Donald Trump has won the first two GOP primaries in Iowa and New Hampshire, tightening his grip on the Republican presidential nomination and bolstering chances of a 2020 rematch with President Joe Biden. The results were a setback for Haley, despite a stronger-than-expected performance, as she was rooting to cut into Trump’s margins and had invested significant time and financial resources into winning New Hampshire.
“Her bloodthirst is only rivalled by her dependency for Democrats to interfere in the Republican primary,” Cheung said in a strongly worded statement on Tuesday. Haley said Trump would not be able to defeat Biden if he is spending all his time and money on court cases.
The Trump campaign launched a counterattack immediately. “The fact is that America was safer under President Trump. In the last four years with Crooked Joe Biden, America’s enemies have been emboldened by weak and incompetent leadership from the White House. It would be no different with Nikki Haley at the helm,” Cheung said.
Donald Trump vs Joe Biden
According to the New York Times, Donald Trump’s campaign PAC spent more than $50 million of donor money on legal fees in 2023 — not exactly a winning strategy for beating Joe Biden.
Trump’s position in the contest is remarkable considering he faces 91 criminal charges related to everything from seeking to overturn the 2020 presidential election to mishandling classified documents and arranging payoffs to an adult film star. However, the former President turned those obstacles into an advantage among Republican voters, by arguing that the Justice Department was politicised and he was framed for a “witch-hunt”. This seemed to have considerable impact considering his landslide win in Iowa and New Hampshire primaries recently.
On the other hand, Biden faces his own slew of challenges, particularly over concerns about his age at 81 years old. Dissent is also building within his party over Biden’s alliance with Israel in its war against Hamas, putting the president’s standing at risk in swing states like Michigan.
(with inputs from PTI)