Nikki Haley is a formidable challenger to Democrats

Ron DeSantis, the favourite of the media, has handed over the First Mover advantage to Haley, writes Prof. Madhav Das Nalapat

Every member of the Republican or Democratic Party who is aware of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis knows that he wants to be the GoP nominee in next year’s Presidential elections. As yet, however, DeSantis has yet not accumulated the courage to announce the obvious. The ambitious Republican hopeful is waiting for what many believe to be a sure bet, which is that Donald Trump can be expected to blow up his chances with some indiscretion.

The former President has in his usual manner careened over the past months, flouting both common sense as well as common decency, such as by sitting down to supper with a White Supremacist together with a Black Holocaust Denier. Given his ignorance or uncaring attitude about what is politically incorrect and even toxic (as are Racial Supremacy and Holocaust Denial), the reaction even from within his adopted party to his cosy dinner with two fringe elements must have surprised him. But Donald Trump has spent a lifetime doing such things, and he is not going to change.

What is different is the extent of the fall in the backing that he has within the Republican Party in his craving for a second term in the White House. Given that she is the first Governor of South Carolina (and a Republican at that) to have removed the Confederate flag from the precincts of the state capitol, Nikki Haley is also among the overwhelming majority of US citizens who are unafraid to acknowledge the evil that was perpetrated by the Nazis during the 1941-45 mass murder of millions entirely on account of their Jewish faith.

At the same time, while having resigned as Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley has been careful to not cross swords with former President Trump. Indeed, there may exist a chance that she chooses Donald Trump Jr, Trump’s son, as her running mate, something that may convince Donald Trump to let go of his effort as securing the Republican nomination (and losing to a Democratic candidate, provided that individual is not Joe Biden). The younger Trump has shown himself to be a feisty kickboxer in the political arena, and has a way of energizing the Trump base in a way no other surrogate can.

Despite his age and other handicaps, the former President of the US appeals to the cowboy and gunslinger instincts of enough members of the Republican Party to make the Democrats dream come true by securing his party’s nomination. The most likely antidote to that could be the candidacy for the Vice-Presidency of his son, who is young enough to still be considered youthful even were he to wait out even four presidential terms without seeking to step into the job his father won in 2016.

In the way that has happened to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak of Britain, nativists within the Republican party may balk at choosing an individual who not only makes no secret of her Indian roots, and who is a woman as well. It must be remembered that the clueless Liz Truss was chosen over Sunak by the Conservative Party faithful, almost certainly because it was too much for most of them to have a non-white family live in 10 Downing Street. Not the Conservative Party base (which still hankers after Boris Johnson) but party MPs chose Sunak over Truss, to their credit.

Despite efforts by his ebullient predecessor to fan unrest and criticism of the UK Prime Minister within the Conservative Party, Sunak has soldiered on. Of course, it has helped neither Britain nor him that the Labour Party has mobilised its cadres to make the UK a country where strikes by essential workers have become a commonplace occurrence. The Labour leaders want a situation that is chaotic to a level that would lead to an economic catastrophe by next year.

Should that take place, the UK’s present success in maintaining its lead over the rest of Europe in its financial industry may be lost, and with that, the country’s best hope for an early recovery from woes that have been majorly caused by the hypersonic manner in which Boris Johnson (then Prime Minister) joined hands with President Biden to craft a strategy that was designed by them to kneecap Russia. Instead, the backfire from the Biden-Johnson led moves against Putin’s Russia has damaged oedinary lives not just in Europe but across the world.

United States President Donald Trump and Nikki Haley, the US Permanent Representative to the UN in January 2017 at the White House. (File photo: White House/IANS)

In creating what the Biden-Johnson duo believed would be a one-way street for Russia, they have succeeded in preventing any visible escape from the auto-da-fé that Ukraine has to its cost become. There is no mercy shown by the Zelensky regime to any Ukrainian citizen who dares to point out that the only way to stop the war with Russia is to concede the territories lost to the Russian side since 2014.

That year marked the overthrow of the previous regime in Kiev by a band of Russophobes groomed for the task by the US, Britain and Germany, something that Angela Merkel with refreshing honesty had no qualms about admitting last year. Whatever his private views about the Biden-Johnson escalatory tactics being followed by NATO in Ukraine, Prime Minister Sunak has been forced to join other Atlanticist leaders and worship at the shrine of the Kiev regime.

By the time the US Presidential elections take place, it is certain that the Ukraine war will be an albatross on the neck of President Biden, and will define his legacy more than the transformational social welfare programs that he is working to implement. Biden is going the way President Johnson did in Vietnam, of making himself unelectable through the prosecution of an increasingly unpopular war on Russia at a time when China is by far the principal adversary of the US.

With her attacks on the adventurism of Xi Jinping and on the terror machine fashioned by Wahhabi extremists, Nikki Haley has long been a target of the Sino-Wahhabi lobby. She will have to overcome the invectives hurled against her by this lobby, besides the worst instincts of the nativist wing of her party. Despite such handicaps, Haley is articulate and attractive as a candidate.

Ron DeSantis, the favourite of the media, has handed over the First Mover advantage to Haley, and that may not be the only thing that he loses out on, now that the former Ambassador to the UN has come forward and declared her candidacy for the Republican Presidential nomination in a country where skin colour and ethnicity matter far less than was the case in the 1950s.

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