February 26th, 2024

Donald Trump and the 40% Problem

Many Republicans are saying it is time for Nikki Haley to move aside. I’m going to make the case why she shouldn’t. Roughly 4 in 10 Republican primary voters are choosing someone other than Donald Trump. He’s basically an incumbent and a 60/40 win should worry his supporters and his team. Digging a little deeper and looking at the number of people who said they wouldn’t vote for Trump if he’s the nominee was around 24% in South Carolina. Only 5% of voters said they were Democrats, so that leaves a good portion of Republicans who feel they don’t have a home in the GOP. Most of them should “come home” by the general, but in an election in the margin of error, every point matters.

I’m one of those women. I voted for Donald Trump twice and gave him money but after his travel to Georgia ahead of the 2021 runoff telling people not to vote and his slow reaction to the violence on January 6th, he lost me. I’m voting for Nikki Haley in the Georgia Presidential Preference Primary because she is the best choice at this time for America. And that is what primaries are for. I never criticize people for their choices, I hope to persuade.

To be clear, Trump supporters will say he didn’t tell people not to vote in the 2021 Georgia Senate runoff. What he said was “you can vote, but it might not count.” As a result of that, over 400,000 Georgia GOP voters who voted in the general did not turn out for the runoff. We had the votes to win statewide and we gave the Democrats two seats. That gave the majority in the Senate back to the Democrats.

As far as January 6 goes, there’s no committee or panel or group telling me what to think. There were 10s of thousands of peaceful protesters on January 6, Then a group broke off from the peaceful protesters and headed to the capitol. I call them the second shift. When the protesters went from peaceful protest to disobeying police, knocking down barriers and vandalism, they lost me. It was a riot, not an insurrection. The election was certified and the president was sworn in as the Constitution directs. But on the day, our president waited more than 3 hours to speak to the nation and tell the rioters to stop. That is unforgivable.

I don’t believe in the people I vote for anymore. They are human and they make mistakes, I just want them to keep their promises. Bret Baier did a great job of interviewing President Trump and holding him accountable for the many things he didn’t do during his presidency. He also asked him what he was going to do to win Republicans like me back and he said the most honest thing he’s said in years. Something like, “I know I need to be less confrontational, but I just can’t do it.” Like I said, one of the most honest things he’s said.

I think we have established the hard core Trump supporters, the 60% of primary voters, are with him no matter what. If he’s the nominee, he needs grow his tent of support. Here’s what he could do. First, stop talking about the 2020 election. People outside of the Trump base want forward looking rhetoric, not backward looking complaints. Second, he should talk about his accomplishments and what he is going to do with a second term. His strongest issues are the border, energy independence and the economy. Third, admit something he could do better. He rarely talks about budgets, deficits and debt so he should acknowledge we have a budget problem and tell us how he’s going to fix it. Finally, make sure whoever he chooses for VP, they add to the message he’s conveying.

He can’t win without all Republicans behind him and he needs to earn the votes of those who didn’t vote for him in the primaries as well as center right and center left people who don’t vote in primaries at all. Primary voters are partisans and they should be. However, as we turn to the general election, there are many more groups that have to be brought in and convinced.

So even though it’s a longshot, I’m voting for Nikki Haley in the primary. Every day she’s proven right in the things she says. She should stay in the race as long as she can and continue to tell the truth about issues and the challenges we are facing. She’s been right on the debt, the discussion on abortion, foreign policy and the border. She’s nuanced in her discussion of issues and she’s right about another thing, we need an accountant in the White House.

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