Nikki Haley is the candidate we fear the most, say Biden team insiders

The only woman in the Republican race was boosted by a standout performance at the first primary debate


27 August 2023 •

Nikki Haley is the Republican candidate Joe Biden’s team fears going up against the most in 2024, according to campaign insiders.

The US president’s team are optimistic that Mr Biden can fend off Donald Trump, 77, or Ron DeSantis, 44, as he seeks a second term next year.

Mr Biden, 80 has attacked both men for pushing what he calls an “extremist agenda”, an approach he took in the 2020 presidential election and the 2022 midterms.

He is confident he could see off a challenge from any Republican candidate that runs on a similar “Make America Great Again” (MAGA) platform.

But Ms Haley, who has taken a more moderate approach on issues like abortion and fought against her party’s increasingly isolationist bent, appears to be causing the Biden team some anxiety.

The 51-year-old is reportedly the only candidate identified by Mr Biden’s senior team as a major threat.

“If they nominate Nikki Haley, we’re in trouble,” one senior Democratic strategist close to the Biden campaign told Politico.

The former UN ambassador and South Carolina governor has been boosted by a standout performance in the first Republican primary debate this week.

The only woman in the Republican race, Ms Haley, the daughter of Indian immigrants and a product of the American South, has a number of appealing features to her candidacy.

Biggest threat

She has positioned herself as the biggest threat to the Democrats in a general election.

“You read the poll numbers of how I do with independents and suburban women, and all of those,” she said earlier this year. “They [Democrats] know that I am the biggest threat that liberals have ever seen and they’re scared about it.”

Ms Haley has been remorseless in attacking the president’s age, calling for mental competency tests for any candidate over the age of 75 (which would also apply to the 77-year-old Mr Trump).

“A vote for Joe Biden is a vote for Kamala Harris, you know that and I know that,” she has repeatedly said.

Nikki Haley has attacked Joe Biden for his age repeatedly
Nikki Haley has attacked Joe Biden for his age repeatedly CREDIT: KEVIN LAMARQUE/REUTERS

Ms Haley is running on her foreign policy credentials, taking a hardline approach to Russia and China, and has distinguished herself from other Republicans in the race by forcefully backing aid to Ukraine.

She landed several blows on Vivek Ramaswamy, a 36-year-old rising GOP candidate, over the issue on stage in Milwaukee, accusing him of siding with the “murderer” Vladimir Putin.

She added: “You have no foreign policy experience and it shows.”

While she has struggled with fundraising and has been slow to gain traction in polls, hovering around 4 per cent, Ms Haley’s campaign appears to have finally caught fire this week.

She raised more online in the 24 hours following Wednesday’s debate than on any day since the campaign started, according to an adviser.

The Republican primary contest kicks off in Iowa on Jan 15 next year and ends with the nominee being formally crowned at the Republican National Convention in mid-July.

Mr Trump remains the overwhelming frontrunner in the race, with more than 50 per cent support, but his challengers hope they can halt his inexorable march to the nomination by a strong showing in the early voting states.

Ms Haley made a pitch that will strike a chord with a number of Republican voters hoping to move on from Mr Trump.

She said: “We have to face the fact that Trump is the most disliked politician in America. We can’t win a general election that way”.


  1. It has fallen upon a good and decent politician of Indian ancestry to take on a lying, hate-spitting POS also of Indian ancestry to win the GOP nomination.
    Let’s hope that good wins over evil.

  2. “Ms Haley has been remorseless in attacking the president’s age, calling for mental competency tests for any candidate over the age of 75 (which would also apply to the 77-year-old Mr Trump).”

    I think that this is a good idea. No one wants a senile person behind the wheel. Having one in the White House would have worse consequences. We see in Biden what his baseless fear and weakness causes, which I think comes mainly from his age. He’s also suffering from a severe case of stubbornness.

    • I think many things people are attributing to his age are just his character. He also misspoke often when he was 40.

      His age doesn’t seem a problem right now, as he doesn’t seem to have much problems managing a life with insane working hours and travelling all around the world.

      Americans are obsessed with their POTUS health and age, I think it is the only country on earth where candidates have to show medical tests.

      I don’t think Biden’s age is problematic at this point, but I wonder how it will be in like 4 years if he is re-elected.

      It really is time for a new generation, although I fear the future democratic leaders have no cold war mindset and are obsessed with identity issues instead of big geo-political challenges.

      Harris barely speaking about these worries me about the future.

      • I respect your opinion, bert, but mine differs.
        He is too weak, too frail, and too old for the job. His place is in a nursing home, not the Oval Office.

  3. Nah. I think because she is a moderate she occupies the middle of the political spectrum.
    With Trump, this part of society votes for Biden, as he is a centre-left candidate.

    The closer to the center the Republican candidate is, the harder it will be for the Democrats.

    Except for Trump, often Republicans made use of this by saying right wing stuff before the primaries and then become more moderate to attract democrats.

  4. Seh is about the only republican I would consider voting for. However I don’t think she has a prayer in hell of getting the nomination.
    the gun toting good ol’ boys are not going to vote for her if they have some wild eyed extremist talking shit about things they know nothing about.
    The primaries breed extremism in both parties.

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