Introduction: Most pundits believe Trump has a lock on the Republican nomination and the general election will be close even though polls show that most Americans want new candidates. My view is that Haley will get the Republican nomination and could comfortably prevail in the general election
The contest for the Republican Nomination:
Trump got the 2016 Republican nomination because the anyone-but-Trump field had too many options. This time the Republican field is winnowing quickly and hopefully after New Hampshire there will only be one challenger to Trump.
Both Iowa and New Hampshire allow Democrats and Independents to participate in the primary or caucus of their choice. Participation in the Republican contest by Democrats and Independents will cause Trump to underperform in these two states.
The Trump lead in both states, especially New Hampshire, is narrowing quickly.
A November 10-14 New Hampshire poll has Trump at 42 percent Haley at 20 percent, Haley at 20 percent, Christie at 14 percent, DeSantis at 9 percent and Ramaswamy at 8 percent. Haley will win New Hampshire because she will get virtually all of Christie’s voters once Christie drops out and will get substantial support from Democrats and Independents who choose to participate in the Republican contest.
Once Haley wins New Hampshire it will become apparent that she is far more electable than Trump in swing states like New Hampshire. She can already point to November 13, Emerson College polls which had Haley 6 points up and Trump 3 points down against Biden in New Hampshire.
The general election:
In a Trump-Biden rematch many people support Biden because they view Trump as an existential threat. It will be impossible for Democrats to vilify Niki Haley because she is a fundamentally decent human being as shown here.
Biden is presiding over a reasonably strong economy, but people do not feel good about their economic situation or Biden’s achievements. Inflation has fallen but many prices including food remain high and as discussed here there is a difference between inflation and the cost of living. Homeownership is unaffordable to young adults. Insurance premiums for state exchange health insurance and student debt payments on some student loans now increase with income leaving many people paying more when they work more.
I don’t believe economic issues will be determinative in 2024. Democrats respond to fiscal stresses with more taxes. Republicans respond to fiscal stresses with budget cuts. In reality both are now needed to respond to the growth in the debt to GDP ratio and shortfalls in entitlement programs.
Biden talks about his bipartisan achievements including the CHIPS act and infrastructure spending, but these spending initiatives don’t help most low and middle-income workers. I fail to see the point in giving $52 billion to major corporations when new ACA premium subsidies are due to lapse.
Foreign affairs may be more important than usual in this presidential election. The withdrawal from Afghanistan did not go well, and Biden’s position on both Ukraine and Israel has critics on both sides.
In a Trump/Biden contest the mainstream voter who is concerned about the world and national security votes for Biden and the isolationist votes for Trump or RFK jr.
In a Haley/Biden contest, the mainstream voter who is concerned about the world and national security could choose Haley while the isolationist votes for RFK jr. or stays home.
Biden has supported Ukraine but has not given Ukraine the weapons it needs
The Democrat party is bitterly divided over Biden’s approach to the Israel-Hamas conflict. The press and some polls believe that the “progressive” base will stay home because of Biden’s support of Israel. A more realistic fear is that moderate Democrats, me included, will find Haley’s approach to the conflict more realistic.
It is hard to condemn Israel for attempting to eliminate Hamas given the October 7 massacre. It is Hard to justify Biden and Obama’s outreach to Iran given Iran’s support of Hamas, Hezbollah, and the growth of Iran-backed militias in Iraq.
American Jews are politically homeless if Trump is the nominee.
American Jews and others who support Israel have nothing in common with the part of the party that calls for an immediate cease fire which would leave Hamas in power.
Supporters of Israel have nothing in common with politicians who would have denied Israel funds for the Iron dome, a step that would have led to even more death in both Israel and Gaza.
Supporters of Israel have nothing in common with “progressive” protestors chanting “Free Palestine from the river to the sea” others in the party push for an interim two-state solution.
Haley is resolute both in her support of Ukraine and her support of Israel. Many Democrats and Independents will vote for Haley and move towards the Republican party if Haley is the nominee.
Biden does have one tail-wind issue — abortion. But Biden/Harris need to discuss the actual consequences of new abortion law in much more detail. These consequences include:
- efforts to ban mifepristone,
- impact of abortion ban on health and pregnancy related death rates,
- real-world consequences of abortion denials in Texas and elsewhere,
- efforts in the Republican controlled House for new abortion restrictions.
- The right of women in the military to an abortion and the impact of efforts to end that right on military nominations,
- The right to travel to another state for an abortion
- Efforts by Congressional Republicans to block FDA approval of the abortion pill.
Haley and moderates will not be able to mitigate the abortion issue by claiming they are against a national ban because these other issues significantly impede abortion rights. The abortion factor won’t save Biden if voters perceive he is not getting the job done but it may cause some voters to split their vote if it becomes apparent that Haley will win the White House. I will soon provide my first take of the contests for the House and Senate.
Authors Note: I hope interested readers will subscribe to Insightful Memos and others will read my papers on FinanceMemos. LinkedIn members can subscribe to Insightful Memos. I usually write on economic topics like Social Security, Inflation, and Student Debt. I am also seeking work as an economic, political and data consultant. Let me know of any opportunity by contacting me on LinkedIn.