Why Nikki Haley Makes Sense For The GOP's VP Spot
Move over Carly Fiorina and Sarah Palin — South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley might be just the woman that the Republican Party needs right now. On Tuesday, Haley's office confirmed that she would give the Republican response to President Obama's State of the Union address next week, and her name has also been tossed around as a potential vice presidential candidate for 2016. No disrespect to the other leading ladies of the right, but there are several reasons why Haley makes sense for the Republican Party in 2016.
Haley is currently serving her second term as South Carolina's governor. Additionally, she has previously served as a representative in the South Carolina State House of Representatives.
She's an all-around success story for the GOP, but she most recently attracted national attention last year for her handling of the mass shooting at a historically black church in Charleston in June. She quickly worked together with legislators from both parties in her state to pass legislation to bring down the Confederate flag from the South Carolina statehouse. Haley's remarks following Tuesday's State of the Union address will likely be more partisan in nature, but still relevant to voters across the country. "This is a time of great challenges for our country, but also of great opportunities," the governor said in a statement. "I intend to speak about both."
One of those challenges is likely to be gun violence, which became a hot topic of conversation and debate once again on Tuesday when Obama announced executive actions aimed at reducing gun violence. Many Republican officials took turns condemning Obama's executive actions on Tuesday, but Haley seemed to keep quiet on the issue. She's had plenty of time to speak about it in recent months, though, following the tragedy in her state last summer.
Obama announced Tuesday his intention to expand the federal background check system for purchasing a gun, but Haley said back in July — just a month after the shooting that rocked her state and the country — that the current background check system needs to be fixed before anything else. (A botched background check allowed the shooter in Charleston to purchase a firearm.) Given Haley's experience speaking about gun violence and presenting a conservative approach to gun control (that doesn't necessarily sound like the NRA wrote it), she's a fitting choice for the State of the Union rebuttal.
Aside from her political platform, Haley seems like a good bet for the GOP because of who she can potentially appeal to. She's a woman, obviously, and she's the first female governor in the state of South Carolina. She's also the first minority governor there — Haley was born in South Carolina to Indian immigrants.
Women and non-whites are two groups of voters that the Republican Party typically struggles relating to. According to Pew Research Center, 64 percent of post-graduate women lean Democratic, whereas only 29 percent of post-graduate women lean Republican. Fifty-two percent of women overall lean Democratic. These are historical trends that can't be expected to change too dramatically, but having a successful Republican figure who is both a woman and a minority, who has proven she can handle any number of emergency situations and tough partisan challenges can't hurt, can it?
Haley likely makes a good choice for the Republican Party regardless of Obama's announcement on Tuesday of the executive actions. She's no stranger to the tough issues, and she can potentially relate to new audiences. She'll give the State of the Union rebuttal, but could the GOP ticket in 2016 be her next stop?