". . . and having done all . . . stand firm." Eph. 6:13


Haley Exits Presidential Race as Evangelicals Fuel Trump’s Super Tuesday Victories

March 6, 2024

Former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley will drop out of the presidential race this morning after evangelicals and pro-life voters powered former President Donald Trump to a nearly unbroken chain of victories in Super Tuesday. The well-financed Haley, once touted as one of the Republican Party’s rising stars, demonstrates the political potency of evangelical voters and the peril of abandoning the issue of abortion — an issue Joe Biden’s public statement last night proves he plans to make a pillar of the 2024 presidential campaign.

Nikki Haley Quits

The former UN ambassador’s campaign announced Wednesday morning that Nikki Haley will suspend her campaign during a speech in Charleston, South Carolina, at 10 a.m. this morning. She is not expected to endorse President Trump immediately, despite signing a pledge to support the eventual Republican nominee in the general election. Haley signaled on Sunday that she may break that promise, telling “Meet the Press” that, “at the time of the debate, we had to take” the pledge “in order to get on that debate stage.” But “the [Republican National Convention] is now not the same RNC.”

“I’ll make what decision I want to make,” Haley said.

Voters made their decision plain on Super Tuesday, as President Donald Trump romped to victory in 16 out of 17 races, piling up wins in Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Maine, California, Colorado, Massachusetts, Maine, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Virginia. Trump’s margin of victory ranged from 58% in Utah to a commanding 82% in Oklahoma.

Victory tasted particularly sweet in Colorado, where the state Supreme Court ordered state officials to expunge Trump’s name from the ballot, and discard any write-in votes, on the basis that he committed “insurrection” on January 6. The U.S. Supreme Court unanimously overturned that decision, paving the way for the president’s nearly two-to-one victory.

Haley narrowly won one contest on Super Tuesday, in Bernie Sanders’s Vermont, an outpost of Eastern seaboard Republicanism. Haley underperformed in Virginia, where she hoped to appeal to the northern Virginian suburbs of Washington, D.C., the home of Haley’s only other primary victory. Trump crushed Haley among all demographic groups, winning between two-thirds and three-quarters of women, 70% of young voters, and people of all ethnic backgrounds.

“This has been a day that we’ve been waiting for,” said Trump in a victory speech, which did not mention Haley.

The 45th president lagged Haley among only a few voting blocs: 90% of Democrats who voted in the open Republican primary in Virginia backed Haley, where 20% of voters had never voted in a Republican primary. Haley also defeated Trump among self-identified liberals and “moderate” voters. Nationally, most Haley voters say they are not committed to voting for any Republican presidential candidate in November.

The well-financed Haley, once touted as one of the Republican Party’s rising stars, demonstrates the perils of abandoning the abortion issue and the power of evangelical voters.

Pro-Life, Evangelical Christian Voters Power Trump to Victory. MSNBC Pounces.

Beltway pundits lauded Haley’s call for “consensus” on abortion — statements that instructed pro-life voters to “stop the judgment” and accused them of wanting “to put a woman in jail or give her the death penalty,” a position widely repudiated within the pro-life movement. Evangelical Christians and pro-life voters took notice and threw their support behind Donald Trump. Nearly nine out of 10 pro-life voters supported Trump, while Haley performed best among those who “oppose banning” abortion. In North Carolina, 82% of voters who support national legislation protecting unborn life opted for Trump over Haley, CBS News reports.

What polling data exist show evangelicals supported Trump by similarly lopsided margins. Exit polls conducted by the legacy media racially segregated believers by polling only “white evangelicals” or “white evangelical Christians,” excluding non-evangelical conservative Christians and evangelicals from other ethnic backgrounds, whom evangelicals would describe as “one Body in Christ.” Yet faithful believers graced Donald Trump with the lion’s share of their votes: 86% of “white evangelical Christians” backed Trump in California, 84% in North Carolina, and 79% in Virginia.

“White evangelicals” make up an outright majority (52%) of Republican primary voters in North Carolina, CBS News found.

MSNBC maligned evangelicals in its Super Tuesday coverage, with multiple hostesses claiming racism has always driven evangelicals into the Republican Party. “They’re voting on race,” asserted Joy Reid. “They’re just voting specifically about racial animus. At this point, it isn’t about economics,” which show prices well above the level on Biden’s inauguration. “That was the thing — not abortion, not busing, but really desegregation was the thing that brought evangelicals into the political movement of the right-wing,” claimed Alex Wagner. “The issue of race animates Donald Trump. The issue of race has long animated the evangelical movement.” The panel giggled as Jen Psaki noted immigration topped the list of voter concerns in the Virginia primary, with Rachel Maddow suggesting the state might want to “build a wall” on the border with West Virginia. 

Exit polls also showed the efficacy of the pro-life message as a campaign issue: Voters consistently ranked abortion and foreign policy as tied for their second most important issue. The economy and immigration roughly tie for first place, according to CNN exit polls. Just over 10% of Republican primary voters valued abortion as their top issue in the 2024 presidential election.

That seems like a preview of things to come. On Tuesday night, President Joe Biden foreshadowed a 2024 presidential campaign revolving around abortion.

Biden Leans into Abortion

After winning all but one of his contests, as well, Joe Biden looked toward the general election. Donald Trump will promise to “rip away fundamental freedoms like the ability for women to make their own health care decisions,” meaning the “right” to abortion and transgender surgeries, Biden said in a statement released Tuesday night. Although Trump has mused that he has favorable thoughts about protecting unborn life after 15 weeks gestation, with exceptions for rape and incest — a policy that would allow more than 90% of all abortions — he has yet to announce his abortion position. His stump speech during the primaries has highlighted his role in appointing three of the six Supreme Court justices who reversed Roe v. Wade’s judicial overreach and returned the issue of abortion to democratic control.

Biden also plans to highlight Trump’s legal battles and alleged threat to “our democracy.” Trump is “driven by grievance and grift,” said President Biden, who is under federal investigation for engaging in a decades-long, multimillion-dollar career of grift and influence-peddling. “He is determined to destroy our democracy.”

Low-Level Rebellion Continues against Joe Biden

President Joe Biden won all but one primary, as well as the Iowa caucus. (The Democratic Party decided to sideline traditional first-in-the-nation Iowa and New Hampshire due to their purported lack of diversity, replacing them with South Carolina and Nevada.)

Biden’s only defeat came, not at the hands of Rep. Dean Phillips (D-Minn.) nor author Marianne Williamson, but a heretofore unknown candidate: Jason Palmer, a 52-year-old entrepreneur who once worked for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, won 56% of the vote — or 51 of the 91 votes cast in the American Samoa caucus. Palmer campaigned on “people-first conscious capitalism” and “reigniting the faith of young people and independents who have lost confidence in America’s institutions.” The island gave Michael Bloomberg his only victory in 2020.

Yet Democratic primary voters continue to wage a low-level protest against Biden by supporting a different non-candidate, “Uncommitted”: 18% of Minnesota Democrats voted uncommitted, as did 12% in North Carolina as of this writing. Thus far, “Uncommitted” has earned seven delegates to the Democratic National Convention. Even some highly-placed Democratic Party operatives decry the prospect of choosing between Biden and Trump. “The choice is not a great choice right now,” one battleground Super Tuesday state Democratic Party chair told Politico. “I’d rather both of them weren’t running.”

President Trump looks forward to a comparison of his record vs. President Biden’s in eight months. He noted the nation’s roaring economy, energy independence, “the largest tax cuts in history,” the “largest regulation cuts in history,” and the fact that he “rebuilt our military.”

He continued, “African American, Asian American, Hispanic American, women, men, people with diplomas from the best schools and the world and people that didn’t graduate from high school — every single group was doing better than ever before. It was a beautiful thing.”

“Our country was coming together. And now we have a very divided country,” said Trump.

“If we lose this election, we’re not going to have a country left.”

Other Primaries

In North Carolina, Lt. Governor Mark Robinson overcame $1 million worth of attack ads from businessman Bill Graham to resoundingly win the Republican presidential nomination for governor with 65% of the vote. He will face Democratic Attorney General Josh Stein in the general election.

In the California race to replace Senator Dianne Feinstein, Rep. Adam Schiff handily beat his top Democratic challenger, Rep. Katie Porter. (Longshot progressive Rep. Barbara Lee also ran for the vacancy.) Thanks to the state’s jungle primary — in which the top two vote-getters of any party advance to the general election — Schiff will run against Steve Garvey, the legendary San Diego Padres first baseman hoping to become the first Republican to win statewide office in 18 years. Schiff spent his own money to elevate Garvey over Porter in a state where registered Democrats outnumber Republicans two-to-one. But Garvey has the winning profile of successful Republican candidates in the deep-blue state, such as Arnold Schwarzenegger: celebrity status, centrist views, and no political record to attack.

In Texas, Democrat Colin Allred will face off against incumbent Senator Ted Cruz. Allred criticized Cruz for opposing Biden’s Ukraine funding bill, whose border provisions would expedite the release of asylum-seekers into the United States. Cruz’s last unsuccessful challenger, Beto O’Rourke, parlayed his senatorial defeat into a presidential candidacy.

In Arizona, Democrat-turned-independent Senator Krysten Sinema’s decision to leave the Senate at the end of the year leaves Democrat Ruben Gallego as the Left’s candidate for the seat.

Redistricting served up a rare case of two Republican incumbent congressmen facing each other: Rep. Barry Moore defeated Rep. Jerry Carl to advance to likely victory in the state’s first congressional district.

Ben Johnson is senior reporter and editor at The Washington Stand.