In 1968, Sen. Eugene McCarthy (D-Minn.) stunned the nation by getting 42% of the vote against incumbent President Lyndon B. Johnson. President Johnson ended up withdrawing from the presidential race. On Tuesday, Nikki Haley, who has never been elected to any national office before, just pulled in 43.3% of the vote running against a former Republican President with universal name id who is, in effect, an incumbent. This is an extremely strong showing, which suggests that Donald Trump cannot beat Joe Biden in November 2024. Seventy percent of the voters who backed Haley were unregistered, independent voters. These are the kinds of voters Republicans would need to win if they are to beat Joe Biden. Nikki Haley is getting those voters, and Donald Trump is losing them big time.
Nikki Haley should stay in this race until every state in the nation has voted just as George Herbert Walker Bush did in 1980 when he ran against Ronald Reagan. At the moment, we do not even know if the Supreme Court is going to allow Donald Trump’s name to be printed on the ballot! And, no matter how the Court rules in Trump v. Anderson, do not expect Senate President Kamala Harris or a Democratic majority in the House of Representatives, on January 6, 2025, to count electoral votes cast for Donald Trump who all Democrats believe is disqualified from being re-elected as President by Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment. The President of the Senate and a Democratic majority in the House of Representatives will not feel bound to follow the ruling of a Republican Supreme Court. And, that is even without factoring in the likelihood that Trump will be convicted of at least some of the 91 charges on which he has been indicted and that he may lose the popular vote even if he wins in the Electoral College.
Do I think this would be unfair and wrong as a matter of constitutional law? Of course, I do! I, after all, signed a brief by three former Republican Attorneys General in Trump v. Anderson saying that Donald Trump is not barred from being re-elected by Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment. But, if you want to know what Democrats think about this, and what they will do on January 6, 2025, take the time to read Yale Sterling Professor of Law Akhil Reed Amar’s amicus brief, co-written with his brother Vikram, in Trump v. Anderson. The Amar brothers think a Democratic President of the Senate and a Democratic majority in the House are not bound by the Republican Supreme Court’s ruling in Trump v. Anderson. I would be stunned if all of legal academia and the press did not end up agreeing with them along with some conservative legal academics. So, even if Donald Trump were to win in the Electoral College in 2024, Kamala Harris and the House of Representatives would not count his electoral votes. There is simply no way that Donald Trump can win the 2024 presidential election.
What that means is that there is only one person who is running for the Republican nomination for President in 2024 whose electoral votes will be counted and who will pardon Donald Trump if she is elected: Nikki Haley. Republicans should pray for Haley to stay in this race until all fifty states have voted in the Republican primaries and caucuses.