Nikki Haley suspends race for White House after more losses

Washington, March 6 (IANS) Nikki Haley, the former US Ambassador to the UN, suspended her campaign for the Republican nomination for President after a severe drubbing in the primaries held in more than 10 states on Tuesday.

Former President Donald Trump will now become the presumptive Republican nominee to take on President Joe Biden, a Democrat, in the November election. He has a lock on the nomination with 955 delegates, which is just a bit shy of the winning threshold of 1,215 delegates. (Every state gives the candidates a certain number of delegates who will vote to elect a nominee in the party convention later in the year. Haley has picked up only 88 thus far).

The Indian American Republican did not endorse Trump in a brief speech she delivered announcing she was suspending their campaign. She said the former President must earn the support of the party

“It is now up to Donald Trump to earn the votes of those in our party who did not support him, and I hope he does,” she said. “This is now his time for choosing.”

Haley ran a gritty campaign coalescing Republican voters who did not want Trump to be their nominee again. But, in the end, their numbers fell far short of winning her the nomination. But she did raise substantial sums of money, garnering the support of some of the party’s largest donors, such as the immensely resourceful Koch Network, which in a sign of things to come, withdrew its support to Haley last week.

Haley won the primaries in only two states thus far, to Trump’s 22.

Calls had been mounting from within the Republican party for her to exit the race and let Trump focus on his contest against Biden. But Haley stayed in, arguing she was the better candidate than both Trump and Biden, who are battling voter scepticism on account of their age and, for the former president, a litany of civil and criminal charges, some of which he has lost and could end up in jail someday.

Haley’s exit raises questions about her future. Could she join Trump as his running mate? She has said before she is not interested in a position in a Trump administration and that she is not auditioning for a job. But that could change. She is a woman and as a woman of colour, she brings unmatched equity to the ticket.

But is Trump interested? He has not included her in a shortlist he discussed in a TV interview recently. Also, Haley’s Republican supporters are stridently anti-Trump and their vote and support is unlikely to transfer to the former President if he were to be joined by Haley.

But Haley has also set herself up as a formidable candidate for the Republican nomination in 2028. The comparison being drawn by most experts is Ronald Reagan’s run for the nomination in the 1968 Republican primaries. He lost to Richard Nixon, who went on to serve one term and a second truncated term. Reagan established himself as a significant figure in the party and the country and went on to win the nomination and the Presidency in 1980.

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