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CNN’s Phillip: Is Haley Staying in The Race As Failsafe If Trump Is Convicted?

via CBS
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CNN analysts discussed why Nikki Haley remains in the 2024 Republican primary despite trailing in polls and delegates.

Frank Luntz noted Donald Trump often switches between allies and enemies, so her position may change.

“Frank, you heard Nikki Haley today. She used that specific language very deliberately. She says she will not kiss the ring. Do you think that she has crossed a line for herself? Is she really ruling herself out of being in Trump’s good graces after this?” Abby Phillip asked.

In 2012, only Rand Paul stayed in so late with little chance. Luntz said Haley has a right to challenge Trump, who leads overwhelmingly among Republicans, while Haley draws independents and moderates.

“I think so, based on past history. Although, Donald Trump forgives. And people who were his mortal enemy become his strongest ally weeks later. And those who were his strongest allies become mortal enemies weeks later. There’s no predicting this,” Luntz said.

“You have to go back to 2012, the last time that a presidential candidate did not drop out when the numbers were clearly against him and that was Rand Paul, who did manage to get a significant number of delegates, but nowhere near the number that he would need. And it’s pretty clear that Nikki Haley isn’t going to do the same thing,” he said.

“Now, I look at this in two ways. Number one, it’s her right to do so. It’s her right to challenge him. And there are about 20 or 25 percent of the Republican Party that still does not want and is never Trump,” he said.

“But on the other hand, in every single poll, bar none, Donald Trump is winning not just a majority, but a super-majority of Republicans. And then Nikki Haley seems to only be drawing among independents, moderates, centrists, those that do not occupy the center of the Republican Party.”

Phillip asked if Haley aims to be an alternative if Trump is convicted, and while some see that as a reason, Luntz believes as a pollster that Haley will not be a significant force, having skipped early voting states, suggesting her candidacy may actually hurt her future ambitions.

“So, when she says, when she says, Frank, that she’s going to stay in until the last vote is counted, how much of that calculation is about just staying in the race to be a failsafe if something were to happen and Trump gets convicted of a crime?” Phillip asked.

“There are a lot of people who think that’s the reason. And I know that Nikki Haley has future ambitions. And I think that, actually, I think that she may be hurting herself. Now, make no mistake, there are significant forces just outside the mainstream of the GOP that does not want Trump and is looking for an alternative,” Luntz said.

“But as a pollster, who’s been doing this now for more than three decades, I see no evidence whatsoever that Nikki Haley is going to be a significant force in the 2024 election. Super Tuesday, all these states are up. I don’t think she went to a single one of them.”

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