Why I picked Nikki Haley as winner in the GOP debate

By Alex P. Vidal

“I love argument, I love debate. I don’t expect anyone just to sit there and agree with me, that’s not their job.”— Margaret Thatcher

AMERICANS were still debating who won in last Wednesday’s (August 23) 2024 Republican Party presidential debate.

Many of them said it was the young billionaire Vivek Ramaswamy, 38, who stamped his class that night, while I cast my lot for 51-year-old Nikki Haley.

Haley served in South Carolina as a state representative from 2005 to 2011 and as governor from 2011 to 2017. She was the first woman to be governor of South Carolina and the second Indian American governor in the United States. She could be the first female US president.

Haley has framed transgender rights as a threat to women and has signed a pledge declaring “sex is binary.”

She has indicated multiple times that she believes transgender women and girls competing in women’s and girl’s sports is “the women’s issue of our time.”

Haley also suggested on CNN that the presence of transgender girls in locker rooms was to blame for suicidal ideation among teenage girls, a claim no evidence supports.

Haley supports a 15-week national ban in abortion issue but also calls for more contraception access. She also supports carbon-capture technology but has denounced efforts to reduce emissions.

She has acknowledged that climate change is real and caused by humans, but she has generally rejected governmental efforts to reduce emissions. Her advocacy group Stand for America said that “liberal ideas would cost trillions and destroy our economy.”

As ambassador to the United Nations during the Trump administration,

Haley was closely involved in withdrawing the United States from the Paris Agreement.


At the time, she said, “Just because we pulled out of the Paris accord doesn’t mean we don’t believe in climate protection.”

Over the next three years, the Trump administration systematically reversed climate protections, and Haley’s plan calls for the same. A spokesman for her campaign said she would withdraw from the Paris Agreement again, lift the Biden administration’s restrictions on oil and gas production, eliminate subsidies for renewable energy, and cancel proposed regulations on power plants and vehicle emissions.

In his opinion in the New York Times dated August 24, 2023, David Brooks said Haley dismantled Ramaswamy on foreign policy. It was not only her contemptuous put-down: “You have no foreign policy experience and it shows.” She took on the whole America First ethos that sounds good as a one-liner but that doesn’t work when you’re governing a superpower. Gesturing to Ramaswamy, she said, “He wants to hand Ukraine to Russia, he wants to let China eat Taiwan, he wants to go and stop funding Israel. You don’t do that to friends.”

Similarly on abortion, many of her opponents took the issue as a chance to perform self-righteous bluster—to make the issue about themselves. She was the only one who acknowledged the complexity of the issue, who tried to humanize people caught in horrible situations, who acknowledged that the absolutist position is politically unsustainable.


She was the candidate brave enough to state the obvious truth that Trump took decades of G.O.P. fiscal conservative posturing and he blew it to smithereens. The other candidates assumed the usual conservative postures about cutting taxes and spending, but she introduced the reality: Under Trump, the G.O.P. added $8 trillion to the national debt. Where have you been the last seven years?

That was part of a larger accomplishment. She seems to be one of the few candidates who understands that to run against Trump you have to run against Trump. Many of the other candidates, especially Ron DeSantis, seem to have absorbed the pernicious Trumpian assumption that Republican voters are so stupid that they can be won over by hokum. DeSantis is a smart guy trying to run as a simpleton. Haley, by contrast, seems to believe that voters are intelligent enough to be treated as adults.

Brooks continued: “I’m trying to point to an overall pattern. When politics becomes entertainment, it’s very easy to create a land of make-believe in which you get high on your own supply. To follow Trump, you more or less have to say farewell to the actual world and live by the rules of the fun house carnival. Haley seems to have her feet still planted on the ground—able to face what Saul Bellow once called ‘the reality situation.’”


Below is the email I received purportedly from former US President Donald Trump who has been indicted four times for various crimes:

Friend, While I was being arrested, I got a firsthand look at the poor and disgraceful conditions of the Fulton County Jail.

It’s worse than you could even imagine.

It’s violent. The building is falling apart. Inmates have dug their fingers into the crumbling walls and ripped out chunks to fashion over 1,000 shanks.

Just this year alone, 7 inmates have died in that jail.

And beyond the crumbling walls of the jail, the streets of Atlanta are far more dangerous than Chicago’s.

Seeing the third world state of that jail made me even more determined to run for President and save our country from permanent decline.

It reinforced that I can NEVER – under any circumstances – GIVE UP on our mission to save America. The Silent Majority needs us to win.

Our elected officials do not care that our nation is crumbling to pieces.

Think about it: Democrats just arrested an innocent man – all while real criminals are terrorizing innocent families all across Atlanta.

Instead of working to fix inflation, repair our dilapidated infrastructure, secure our southern border, and clean up our neighborhoods, Crooked Joe has ordered the federal government to use all of its manpower on trying to illegally imprison me for the rest of my life.

I know in my heart that Americans of all walks of life are ready for a President who puts the needs and priorities of our law-abiding, legal citizens first.

I may not agree with what he said in this email, but I will defend to death his right to say it. Actually, I suggest he should stop badmouthing the prosecutors, judges, and witnesses and just allow the justice system to take its course.

SPACE STATION. Seven astronauts are currently aboard the International Space Station. A SpaceX and NASA mission was set to send four additional astronauts to the orbiting lab today, but the launch was abruptly called off for “additional analysis,” CNN reported.

(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two daily newspapers in Iloilo.—Ed)