strain17_Win McNameeGetty Images_nikkihaley Win McNamee/Getty Images

An Off-Ramp from Trump’s Road to Ruin

The GOP candidates most enamored with Trumpian populism – including Trump himself – are most likely to condemn the party to defeat in the 2024 presidential election. Former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, who is more aligned with traditional American conservatism and abjures grievance politics, is the best alternative.

WASHINGTON, DC – Last week, in a speech in New Hampshire, former US Vice President Mike Pence declared an “unbridgeable” divide in the Republican Party between traditional conservatism and the populism of former President Donald Trump, asserting that the latter is a “road to ruin.”

Trump’s electoral record supports Pence’s argument. The former president is a four-time loser for the GOP. After winning the 2016 presidential election, Trump lost his re-election bid in 2020. In the 2018 midterm elections, while Trump was still in office, the Republicans lost the House of Representatives. In 2021, he sabotaged Republican efforts to win two Senate runoff elections in Georgia by throwing public temper tantrums about state leaders’ repeated refusals to overturn his defeat, handing control of the Senate to the Democrats. And Trump’s highest-profile endorsements in the 2022 midterms went to candidates who significantly underperformed.

Looking forward to the 2024 presidential election, a new CNN/SSRS poll shows that the GOP candidates most enamored with Trumpian populism – Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, and Trump himself – are all statistically tied in hypothetical head-to-head matchups with current President Joe Biden. Only one Republican candidate beat Biden in the poll: Nikki Haley, the former South Carolina governor and US ambassador to the United Nations. Polls following her breakout performance in the first GOP primary debate last month have likewise indicated that a meaningful number of Republican voters are looking at Haley in a new light.

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