I guess Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley subscribes to the stereotype that Iowans are better at picking corn than presidents. Or so her attempt at humor at a recent campaign event would lead you to believe.
Speaking to voters in Milford, New Hampshire, on Wednesday — with the Iowa caucuses less than two weeks away — Haley said, “We have an opportunity to get this right. And I know we’ll get it right and I trust you.”
“You know how to do this. You know Iowa starts it. You know that you correct it. … And then my sweet state of South Carolina brings it home. That’s what we do.”
Did Haley think she was being clever? She could have actually just tanked her campaign.
Fellow GOP presidential candidates Ron DeSantis and Vivek Ramaswamy wasted no time highlighting the former South Carolina governor’s blunder.
“Unreal. Nikki Haley belittles Iowa caucus goers — claiming their decisions will need to be corrected by New Hampshire voters,” DeSantis’ team posted on X.
Nikki Haley belittles Iowa caucus goers — claiming their decisions will need to be corrected by New Hampshire voters.
“You know Iowa starts it. You know that you correct it…and then my sweet state of South Carolina brings it home.” pic.twitter.com/CCRUOHt0Qp
— DeSantis War Room 🐊 (@DeSantisWarRoom) January 4, 2024
As Desantis has focused his efforts on Iowa, having visited all 99 counties in the state, Haley’s remarks played into his hand perfectly and couldn’t have been more timely.
Ramaswamy also took to X with words of disgust:
Nikki Haley says that New Hampshire needs to “correct” the results of the Iowa caucus. 🤔 https://t.co/XU5HEoCd0e
— Vivek Ramaswamy (@VivekGRamaswamy) January 4, 2024
And, certainly, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds had something to say to Haley in reply: “I trust Iowans to make their own decisions. No ‘corrections’ needed!”
I trust Iowans to make their own decisions. No “corrections” needed!
— Kim Reynolds (@KimReynoldsIA) January 4, 2024
No love lost there, I imagine.
That said, historically, Haley is not wrong about which of the two states has chosen the eventual Republican presidential nominee accurately. New Hampshire legitimately boasts a better record than Iowa.
“Of the last four competitive [Iowa] caucus winners, only one, then-former Texas Gov. George W. Bush, went on to win the nomination,” Business Insider reported.
“In comparison, three of the last four competitive New Hampshire Republican primary winners, (Donald Trump, then-former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, and then-Sen. John McCain), went on to win the nomination.”
Some would argue that the true value of these early primaries is to weed out candidates, not predict the nominee. Whether true or not, Haley certainly didn’t do herself any favors.
Trump continues to lead the pack in Iowa by a wide margin. But, according to Real Clear Polling, DeSantis and Haley are neck and neck after him, with DeSantis at 18.6 percent and Haley at 16.1 percent. Ramaswamy trails behind at 5.9 percent.
Ultimately, Haley can’t afford to make too many more of these mistakes, as the establishment can only do so much to save her. She doesn’t have the popularity or likability to lean on. And she has already been accused of leaning too far left as it is.
Her divisive comments reek of President Joe Biden’s own tactics, indirectly pitting Americans against each other in a tongue-in-cheek sorta way. As Republicans can’t get him out of office too soon, electing someone who resembles him hardly seems like the smart move.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.