Nikki Haley Surges in Polls Leading up to GOP Primary

Haley ahead of DeSantis? A new poll of Republican county chairs finds that more of them are flocking to former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, over current Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. “Among Republican chairs committed to a candidate, Trump has 37 percent, Haley has 16 percent and DeSantis has 9 percent,” reports Seth Masket for Politico. “The candidate who chairs are most vehemently against? Chris Christie.”
Why care about county chairs? Masket explains that they “play a key role in shaping the race” since they’re “highly attentive to the party’s internal dynamics and are influential in local GOP circles; they offer the kind of endorsements that candidates are eager to collect.”
At the same time, “they’re also still close to the rank-and-file grassroots, and their shifts are likely to signal where the rest of the party is going,” adds Masket.
This is despite some of Haley’s recent gaffes and, uh, bolder proposals. “I had black friends growing up,” she said in a CNN town hall last night after being asked about her recent comments on the campaign trail in New Hampshire, during which she failed to identify slavery as one of the causes of the Civil War. “Of course the Civil War was about slavery,” she said later. And last night: “I was thinking past slavery, and talking about the lesson that we would learn going forward. I shouldn’t have done that. I should have said slavery. But, in my mind, that’s a given. Everybody associates the Civil War with slavery.”
Fear not, now Haley is making waves with a bold new proposal for a federal jobs program:
Islamic State takes credit: Yesterday, I reported that two bombs exploded in Iran at a memorial for top military official Qassem Soleimani, who was killed by a U.S. drone strike four years ago. The explosion yesterday killed more than 100 people. Now, the Islamic State has taken credit for the “dual martyrdom operation” in which two suicide bombers “detonated explosive belts strapped to their bodies,” per The New York Times. 
Floridians try to get abortion up until 24 weeks: Voters in the Sunshine State are trying to undo abortion restrictions by putting a constitutional right to an abortion on the 2024 ballot.
Florida currently bans abortion after 15 weeks, and Governor Ron DeSantis has also signed into law a ban on abortions after six weeks, which has not yet taken effect.
This is apparently not good enough for many impassioned Floridians. The deadline for getting this issue on the ballot is February 1; the activist group Floridians Protecting Freedom has gathered 863,876 certified signatures, just shy of the 891,876 they need, but with a few more weeks to go, they say it’s extremely likely they will get the issue added to the ballot, which would then require 60 percent voter approval to become law. Similar strategies proved successful this past year in Ohio, and the year before in Kansas.
Permitting abortion up until 24 weeks would make Florida far more progressive on this issue than pretty much every European nation, which tend to disallow abortion beyond the first trimester, or 12-13 weeks. Though most mainstream publications don’t mention it, babies are the size of an ear of corn around 24 weeks. They can hear sounds outside the mother’s body, they have tastebuds, and they can suck their thumbs.
My pro-life bias may be showing, admittedly, and many pro-choicers rebut that very few abortions happen after the first trimester (only 7 to 10 percent of abortions nationwide, though Guttmacher and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data differ in their estimates, which would conservatively total around 60,000, which…doesn’t seem negligible to me), but my point is this: the U.S. pro-choice movement is an outlier in attempting to make abortion broadly permissive this late in pregnancy.
It remains to be seen whether Florida voters will be persuaded by the activists’ efforts.
Scenes from New York: The “Fearless Girl” statue, by Kristen Visbal, was put on Wall Street in 2017 to promote female empowerment and gender diversity in corporate leadership. It sure is an interesting target for pro-Palestine protesters as Hamas is not exactly known for advocating for the rights of women.
QUICK HITS
Kate Manne’s new book, Unshrinking, on fat positivity, “martials grievances on behalf of the fat-bodied in a world that refuses to make space for them, both literally and figuratively,” writes Kat Rosenfield for UnHerd, so “the reader is invited to marinate in an absolute sense of victimhood, safe in the knowledge that her misery is the job of the world to remedy.”
Unacceptable stealth-editing from the Associated Press:
Victimhood narrative simply does not apply here, as much as former Harvard President Claudine Gay pretends otherwise: “Are cities for tourists or residents?” asks Tyler Cowen.
A must-read from The Free Press: “My Father Is an Imam in Gaza. Hamas Kidnapped Him for Refusing to Be Their Puppet.”
“In a brave new world where every major must prove its worth to its debt-saddled ‘student-customers,’ the humanities have a hard time mounting a credible case that their disciplines catapult graduates into six-figure salaries. What humanities departments can offer their young charges—who grow more progressive by the year—is the promise that their majors can help them understand power and fight for equality,” writes Tyler Austin Harper for The Atlantic.
“What they classify as a hate crime is itself a political judgment,” says presidential contender Vivek Ramaswamy in a highly contentious NBC News interview. (Props to Ramaswamy, this is a point Reason has been hitting for many years.)
New episode of Just Asking Questions dropped yesterday. Why aren’t people having more kids?