Major Republican donors support her and the media loves her. Voters, less so. How long can she last in a race she can’t win?

Former Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley at the CNN Republican Presidential Debate at Sheslow Auditorium at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. January 13, 2024. (Photo: Gage Skidmore)

Nikki Haley’s Strategies?” mulled conservative political analyst Victor David Hanson in the wake of Haley’s primary defeat in New Hampshire on Tuesday.

“Trump has now won the first two primaries by large majorities,” he began. “As he reminds us, no Republican in recent history has lost the nomination after winning Iowa and New Hampshire.”

“So what is Haley’s strategy ahead?” mused Hanson. “In the short term, she will cede to Trump the Nevada caucuses and focus on her home state of South Carolina. But then what?”

He wasn’t the only one asking.

Wall Street Donors Keep Haley’s 2024 Run Afloat, Even If Voters Won’t,” wondered Jordan Fabian, Amanda Gordon, and Stephanie Lai for Bloomberg this week.

“Nikki Haley is vowing to press on with her unlikely bid for the Republican presidential nomination, thanks to the backing of Wall Street titans,” they began. “Haley’s second consecutive defeat Tuesday at the hands of Republican frontrunner Donald Trump has intensified calls from his supporters for her to exit the race. But wealthy donors and a group funded by industrialist Charles Koch means she has enough funding to keep running.”

Trump doesn’t appear much pleased by this support.

Trump warns he will blacklist Nikki Haley campaign donors,” reported Ruxandra Iordache for CNBC on Thursday.

“Nikki ‘Birdbrain’ Haley is very bad for the Republican Party and, indeed, our Country,” the former President posted to his preferred social media network, Truth Social, this week.

“When I ran for Office and won, I noticed that the losing Candidate’s ‘Donors’ would immediately come to me, and want to ‘help out,’” Trump complained. “This is standard in Politics, but no longer with me. Anybody that makes a ‘Contribution’ to Birdbrain, from this moment forth, will be permanently barred from the MAGA camp.”

For all of Haley’s efforts to torpedo Trump’s candidacy — and despite all of Donald Trump’s own efforts to torpedo his candidacy, including the financial contribution bump Haley’s campaign is likely to receive as a result of his latest thrown gauntlet — Trump, for all his faults, still maintains a firm grip on the Republican Party.

“The result attests to Trump’s enduring grip on the GOP voter base, as well as the disconnect between the desires of rank-and-file Republicans and the party establishment as embodied by Haley,” mulled Sohrab Ahmari in the New Statesman on January 24, 2024 (“Can Trump be stopped?”)

“Haley, a former UN ambassador, went into New Hampshire with solid advantages,” he wrote. “For one thing, the Granite State allows undeclared voters, who make up 40 per cent of the state’s electorate, to take part in either party’s primaries.”

Haley did well with the state’s independent, undecided, and Democratic Party-friendly voters.

“Then there was Haley’s money advantage,” admitted Ahmari.

“Her campaign and its allied political action committees (PACs) spent some $30m on broadcast and digital advertising in New Hampshire, nearly double Trump’s ad spend, according to Politico,” Ahmari noted. “Haley is also the figure around whom anti-Trump mega-donors have coalesced, including notably Reid Hoffman, the founder of LinkedIn and a committed Democrat, who chipped in $250,000 to a Haley PAC.”

“It’s a tough situation for Haley,” longtime Republican strategist Alex Castellanos told Fox News this week. “She ran a great campaign. And, by the way, she is a spectacular candidate. She certainly has a big future in the Republican party. But she represents a Republican party that doesn’t exist anymore and that’s the Republican party that is dominated by Mitch McConnell, the Washington establishment, insider Republicans, and the donor class.”

“Donald Trump killed that Republican party,” Castellanos said. “It’s now dominated by working-class voters. It’s a populist party that is a conservative party as well. And so, you know, Democrats used to be the party of the working class. And Republicans the party of the elite, the party that — the working class worked for. Now it’s flipped because of Trump.”

Haley’s defeat in New Hampshire has left her fans in progressive media circles distraught.

Poor Nikki, Poor Us,” wailed Gail Collins — who would probably no more vote for Nikki Haley in the general election than sprout wings and fly to the moon — for the New York Times in the wake of Haley’s loss in New Hampshire and likely exit from the race.

To get through the next 40 weeks of Trump V. Biden grudge match fun, Collins advises readers to “every week from now until the election you’ll read one play by William Shakespeare” or “spend some time memorizing poems by Emily Dickinson.”

Other suggestions: “Taking up yoga”, “Learning to play the flute” and “Making a list of 40 home improvements and checking off one every week.”

She isn’t entirely joking.

Despite the many efforts of mainstream media outlets and deep-pocketed political donors, Haley can’t possibly remain in the race if she keeps losing primary after primary — which she will.

New Hampshire’s perfect storm of independent and unaffiliated voters isn’t true for her next stops. Trump spectacularly outperforms Haley with strongly-affiliated Republican Party voters, to say nothing of Trump voters.

Former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley might have a chance of eking out a win in her home state — but that is the last of the good news for Haley on the campaign trail in 2024.

Might be time to hit the dusty road.

(contributing writer, Brooke Bell)