Wednesday night’s was the last GOP debate for 2023. Thank. God. How much can we hear these same statements from these same candidates? Hopefully, by the 2024 primaries, we will have whittled the field down to the top two and call it a day. If Donald Trump is among those top two, maybe he’ll bother to show up to debate.
Still lots of ifs, but here’s what we can say with some certitude: Nikki Haley has been effectively eliminated. Oh, she’ll hover around for New Hampshire and maybe a bit of time after that. But Wednesday night’s performance showed that her presidential candidacy is D.O.A.
This was the first slice. Most pundits are giving tech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy the credit for taking down Haley, but the first volley came from Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. On the question of whether DeSantis should bow out, especially with Haley moving ahead of him in the polls, DeSantis had this to say about his strong record of delivering results while swooping in an immediate attack on Haley for her lack of fight for the American people.
The world has changed in the almost seven years since Nikki Haley was governor of South Carolina, and so has Nikki Haley, as the moderator’s next question spotlighted: How did Haley go from making almost $200,000 a year to a net worth of $8 million? That is being fact-checked even at this writing. However, what is clear is that Haley is nonplussed about cozying up to corporate interests that have targeted Americans and their ability to achieve the American Dream. This was made glaringly obvious as she claimed that DeSantis and Ramaswamy were “jealous” because she was receiving the support of these donors and they were not.
“In terms of these donors that are supporting me, they’re just jealous. They wish that they were supporting them.”
— Nikki Haley responds to attacks from Vivek Ramaswamy and Ron DeSantis about the influx of big donors supporting her. pic.twitter.com/qlyZWZgHoY
— The Recount (@therecount) December 7, 2023
Haley said the other politicians are jealous she owns the donor class. She has ZERO understanding of the time…
— Sonnie Johnson (@SonnieJohnson) December 7, 2023
Early in the debate, Haley touted her Tea Party creds. It seems as though moving from being a leader chosen by the people to an elitist bubble didn’t take very long. From Disney to Anheuser-Busch, “go woke, go broke” has gone beyond an expression to a verifiable fact. So, it is telling that Haley chooses to align her already long-shot campaign to the likes of billionaire co-founder of LinkedIn Reid Hoffman and take meetings with ESG King Larry Fink of BlackRock. Haley cares little about the optics and A LOT about the money. Which essentially gives credence to DeSantis and Ramaswamy’s zings at her Wednesday night. Ramaswamy suffered significant boos and jeers for his attacks on Haley, even going so far as to call her a fascist. He seemed perfectly comfortable playing the bad boy again because his comments landed with the force of truth.
Vivek obliterates Nikki Haley and jolts Ron DeSantis into shock.
Ron couldn’t believe what he just witnessed—he needed to adjust his stance and throw his hand on his hip lmfao.pic.twitter.com/qr7lNUHQtD
— ZNO 🇺🇸 (@therealZNO) December 7, 2023
“Wielding the puppet right up here tonight” was particularly brutal, and the look on Haley’s face shows that if looks could kill, Ramaswamy would be dead.
Haley’s surge in polls has sparked a recent wave of donations from Wall Street veterans and other high-profile donors. Haley raised over $500,000 on Monday at a glitzy New York City penthouse event packed with financial heavies, CNBC reported.
“Nikki will cave to those big donors when it counts,” DeSantis said early in the debate.
Billionaire and LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman also reportedly gave $250,000 to a super PAC backing Haley this week.
A Democrat who supports Biden, Hoffman said in a LinkedIn post that he donated to Haley because “my first priority is to defeat Trump, and the primary is the first of two chances to do so.”
DeSantis and Ramaswamy also resurfaced Haley’s reported meeting last month with Blackrock CEO Larry Fink, an attack focused on Haley’s stance on ESG.
“Larry Fink, the king of the woke industrial complex, the ESG movement, the CEO of BlackRock, the most powerful company in the world, now supporting Nikki Haley,” said Ramaswamy.
Another indication that Haley is on shaky ground came through DeSantis and his epic counter to Haley when she challenged him about his stances on the gender ideology battle. Haley walked herself into this one by wrongly challenging DeSantis about his record on gender-specific bathrooms.
Haley, getting very desperate: You opposed the bathroom bill!
DeSantis, laughing: “I signed a bathroom bill in Florida so that’s obviously not true”
DeSantis: “You killed it. I signed it. I stood up for little girls — you didn’t” 🔥pic.twitter.com/ZQb1YuS7UG
— DeSantis War Room 🐊 (@DeSantisWarRoom) December 7, 2023
DeSantis further leveled Haley and Christie on their political equivocation on the gender ideology issue under their guise of parents’ rights.
Megyn Kelly tees up the gender ideology issue to Chris Christie and Ron DeSantis delivers the knockout blow on both Christie and Haley to the loudest cheers of the night. Masterful stuff.
“As a parent, you do not have the right to abuse your kids.” 🔥👇 pic.twitter.com/DBVyoxIjML
— Scott Morefield (@SKMorefield) December 7, 2023
It is challenging to pull apart a popular governor’s record in real-time, particularly since that governor staunchly campaigns on that record without apology. It is less difficult to pull apart a record of a non-sitting former governor who has tried to rewrite their record and essentially shifted their principles.
But it is Haley’s rewriting of her record on China that may well have been her undoing. Once again: a sitting governor with a clear record versus a former governor with a murky record. DeSantis used this to his advantage.
It’s official. Consider Nikki Haley’s toast.