America would benefit from perspectives other than conventional Democratic and Republican thinking. Unfortunately, that won’t come from Nikki Haley, a former United Nations Ambassador, South Carolina governor and now 2024 Republican presidential candidate. Haley’s attempting to present herself as a new kind of politician. For the Republican Party, her identity offers something different than past candidates. She’s an Indian-American woman. However, other than her desire to discriminate against the elderly in politics, she’s more of the same for the GOP.
"We're ready—ready to move past the stale ideas and faded names of the past, and we are more than ready for a new generation to lead us into the future," Haley said during her announcement speech in South Carolina last week.
By proposing a mental competency test for politicians over 75 years old and using “new generation” rhetoric, Haley wants to convince voters to vote for her over Donald Trump and Joe Biden. Yet, she’s about the most conventional Republican presidential candidate imaginable. Haley’s pro-business, a foreign policy hawk, and offers token promises to social conservatives.
In her announcement speech, Haley spent more time railing against socialism and the problems of other countries—genocide in China, people eating zoo animals in Venezuela, and babies thrown in fires in Myanmar—than any individual problem faced by the American people. I bet the percentage of Americans who know what country the Rohingya genocide is taking place in is in the low single digits. Tragedies in Venezuela, China, Myanmar, North Korea, or any other countries she named won’t define the 2024 presidential election.
America’s had presidents that meddled in other countries' politics. It led to forever wars. Haley was on the Board of Directors for the defense contractor after leaving the U.S. Ambassador position; she gave that contractor special tax breaks as governor of South Carolina and actively opposed private-sector unionization at Boeing in the state.
Meanwhile, Haley isn’t offering much to social conservatives. She supports a 15-week federal gestational limit on abortion; at least 95 percent of abortions in the United States occur before 15 weeks. Haley opposes men who identify as transgender women competing in women’s sports. However, she opposed a bathroom bill during her time as South Carolina’s governor—as if the problem with transgenderism is protecting the integrity of women's college water polo.
There’s nothing new about railing against socialism in other countries, using social conservatives for votes, and offering few solutions to help working-class Americans. The GOP could use a new approach, although it remains unclear if they’ll ever have one. Unfortunately, the Party won’t embrace greater socialization and fiscal responsibility to gain popularity. We won’t see the GOP push for a minimum wage hike, paid sick leave, paid family leave, and a public option that doesn’t cover abortion, euthanasia, and so-called gender reassignments, while reducing the federal deficit. That would be smart politics, but they can improve in other ways.
It could be the party of combatting credentialism and overpriced higher education. Many GOP presidential candidates talk about getting the government out of the loan business, but that hasn’t happened. Why not go after bloat in higher education, demand that Congress investigate price-gouging in higher education, allow students to discharge private student loans in bankruptcy, require a positive return on investment from federal student loan recipients, and pursue policies that make it easier for people without degrees to receive decent-paying jobs?
The GOP could change its stance on drugs. Instead of making the guy who likes to eat edibles a criminal, the Party could leave cannabis and magic mushroom users alone, treat the use of more dangerous drugs as a public health crisis, and crack down on hard drug dealers. Fentanyl dealers deserve life in prison because they’re mass murderers. And the over-prescription of legal drugs isn’t helping the country’s drug problem. The Party could also embrace policies to reduce legal substance abuse and obesity, improve mental health, and reduce healthcare costs and the demand for abortion. Nikki Haley addresses none of that.