Fourth Republican TV debate: Three men against Nikki Haley – this is good news for Donald Trump

Nikki Haley became a target in the fourth Republican TV debate. The former UN ambassador is now Trump’s first persecutor. She is now accused of being a fascist.

After just a few minutes, Nikki Haley knows it’s going to be an uncomfortable evening. First she was called “corrupt” by Vivek Ramaswamy, a 38-year-old millionaire, and shortly afterwards she was even called a “fascist” because she promoted compulsory use of real names on the Internet. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis repeatedly accuses them of lying. And Chris Christie, a former Trump loyalist and now his harshest public critic, accuses the former UN ambassador of not distancing herself clearly enough from the ex-president. Three men against Nikki Haley.

The Republican presidential candidates discussed with each other for the fourth time late Wednesday evening American time. Five are still in the running, four were on stage in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Donald Trump has again declined the invitation. He points to the national surveys, in which he is sometimes more than 40 percentage points ahead of his competitors. Why should he argue with people who have no chance against him anyway? That’s what Trump thinks, and this attitude hasn’t done him any harm so far.

The four remaining Trump competitors may not be able to stand each other, but they all have a similar plan. They want to achieve a surprise success in the early primaries starting in January – specifically in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. In these states the distance between Trump and his pursuers is smaller. If someone could win here, Trump might falter – at least that’s the hope. In order for this to succeed, the Trump persecutors would have to agree on a person who should take on the ex-president. But so far they are fighting among themselves and not against Trump.

That may change after the first primaries. In New Hampshire and South Carolina, Nikki Haley is in second place, in Iowa she and Ron DeSantis are still fighting for it. The governor of Florida had tried in recent months to position himself as the more successful Trump. The strategy didn’t work, DeSantis only has outsider chances.

Big business and billionaires are fighting for Nikki Haley

Nikki Haley is now supported by well-funded conservative groups. Recently, billionaire Charles Koch announced that he would help Haley with his campaign organization. He is likely to provide millions for election advertising in the particularly contested primary election states. Money is not the exclusive path to success in US elections, but it is an extremely important one.

In the TV debate, Haley was repeatedly criticized by DeSantis and Ramaswamy for having billionaires and large corporations among her donors and supporters. “You’re just jealous,” replied the daughter of Indian immigrants. The attacks against Haley may have been crude, but they hit a critical point. For decades, the Republican Party had also seen itself as a party of business. But with Trump’s entry into politics, the self-proclaimed “Grand Old Party” sees itself as an advocate for the white working class. In parts of the party it is considered disreputable when large companies try to exert influence. That could hurt Haley in the primaries.

Chris Christie, the former governor of New Jersey, is in third place in New Hampshire and has little chance of running for president. This is also because he repeatedly warns about Trump and thus antagonizes the Republican base. During the TV debate in Alabama, Christie developed an interesting thought game.

The 61-year-old addressed the audience directly and said they could exercise their right to vote in the presidential election in November 2024 and determine the next president. However, if Donald Trump were to be convicted of possible crimes in the next few months before the election, he would have forfeited this right. In the USA, criminals are not allowed to vote. Christie’s message: Do you really want someone as your candidate who might end up in prison if elected again?

Christie was booed for his words. He is not successful with his strategy of demonizing Trump. Ron DeSantis is left in ruins after a completely unsuccessful campaign. Ramaswamy stands out with strong opinions, but is far behind in the polls. It remains: Nikki Haley. If she wants to have a chance against Trump, she would need the support and votes of her competitors. But at the moment it’s three against Haley. This is good news for Donald Trump.