During a recent panel discussion on “Real Time” with host Bill Maher, there was a discussion about the potential for Nikki Haley, a Republican presidential candidate, to emerge as a viable alternative to former President Trump in the GOP primary.
Bill Maher and New York Times columnist Bret Stephens both expressed their support for Haley as a potential anti-Trump candidate.
They noted that Haley has been effective in communicating the defense of Israel against pro-Hamas sympathizers. Bill Maher suggested that Nikki Haley might be the “indoor Republican,” a term used to describe a more moderate Republican candidate, that some are looking for.
Bret Stephens encouraged other GOP rivals like Mike Pence and Chris Christie, as well as what he referred to as “non-serious” candidates, to drop out of the race and endorse Nikki Haley. He believed she was the only credible Republican candidate that many people could support.
Bill Maher raised the question of whether Nikki Haley could succeed on a national level, and he mentioned other popular GOP governors in blue states, including Phil Scott, Charlie Baker, and Larry Hogan.
Democratic strategist Paul Begala argued that Nikki Haley might be the strongest Republican candidate against President Biden, citing polls that showed her in a favorable position in hypothetical match-ups against other Republicans.
However, concerns were raised about how former President Trump would react if Nikki Haley were to win the nomination, given his past behavior when he lost the 2020 election. It was suggested that Trump might try to undermine Haley and the Republican Party if he didn’t secure the nomination.
Bill Maher also expressed concerns about President Biden’s electability, suggesting that there was a perception that he might be too old to win the election. He mentioned a recent poll showing Trump leading among voters under 30, which surprised his liberal audience.
In a previous episode, Bill Maher had questioned Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who was once considered a potential candidate to challenge Trump in the GOP primary. DeSantis explained his reasons for running, including his belief that he could win the election and his commitment to addressing issues like COVID.
In terms of the latest polls, Nikki Haley saw an increase in support after the first two Republican debates. According to a recent Fox News national poll, she had 10% support, trailing behind DeSantis by three points but significantly behind Trump, who maintained a commanding lead with 59% support among primary voters.