Liberals In Open Primary States Should Vote For Nikki Haley
Yes, even after her rake-stomping Civil War gaffe-a-thon
In early 2016, a loose coalition of liberals and anti-Trump conservatives, along with more than a few Republican opportunists who simply feared Donald Trump would lose the general election, began pleading with independent and Democratic voters in states with open primaries, to cross over and cast their ballots for Marco Rubio. Trump was already running away with the nomination at that point, but the hope was that, with enough wind at his back, Rubio might be able to catch him.
I was not a fan of this idea. Like most people I believed Trump would lose to Hillary Clinton. But I wasn’t cocksure, and that wasn’t really why I argued against it. It was more that intervening in GOP politics to help Republicans nominate a more electable candidate—in exchange for nothing—struck me as a poor bargaining proposition. Republicans wouldn’t and couldn’t offer Democrats anything to sweeten the deal, so the onus for denying him power should fall on them alone. They could either defeat him in the primary or do what was right for the country and sit out the general election. Bailing them out of their own mess cut against my sense of fair play.
To be honest, it still does. Almost nothing leaves a worse taste in my mouth than Democrats paying ransoms to Republican hostage takers. But eight years later we don’t need perfect foresight to know Trump is electable, and how terrible his second term would be; we don’t even have the luxury of head-to-head polls suggesting Trump will lose the election handily. Which is why—much as I hate to admit it—I’d vote for Nikki Haley three weeks from now if I were an undeclared voter living in New Hampshire. I’d discourage national Democrats from trying to prop up Trump’s candidacy by gratuitously piling on his rivals. And I’d encourage Joe Biden to stop worrying and love the thought, however remote, of Donald Trump losing the GOP nomination.