Does Bernie Sanders Like Nikki Haley? Donald Trump's UN Ambassador Doesn't Appeal To Democrats
With Donald Trump's announcement of Nikki Haley as his pick to be Ambassador to the United Nations, scrutiny of the South Carolina governor is about to get intense. In 2015, Haley rose to national prominence for her response to the racially-motivated shooting at Emanuel AME, a historic black church in Charleston. After passing legislation to remove the Confederate flag from state grounds, Haley was widely praised for helping South Carolina start the healing process. But that didn't stop Bernie Sanders from voicing his opposition to some of Haley's other policies while campaigning in the Palmetto State.
During Sanders' presidential run, he spent a significant chunk of time touring through South Carolina, since it is one of the earliest – and therefore, most consequential – states to hold a presidential primary vote. Third on the calendar, after Iowa and New Hampshire, the voters of South Carolina have an outsized sway in deciding who will become both of the major party nominees. And while he was in Haley's state, Sanders called her out for not expanding Medicaid, saying,"Your governor, your legislature, as well as many many other governors and legislatures in Republican states, put ideology, a rich right-wing ideology, in front of and before the needs of their people."
Sanders said he believed the reason for this opposition to expanding Medicaid stemmed from general Republican dislike of President Obama, and not necessarily any objection to the program itself. In what became a Sanders standby, he made it a point to highlight how Medicaid would help working class people, a pitch that makes a lot of sense in South Carolina, where large sectors of the population live in rural areas that have struggled to be economically competitive.
But Medicaid is not the only area of disagreement between Sanders and Haley. While in South Carolina and on the campaign trail in November of 2015, Sanders also criticized the voter ID laws signed by Haley. Sanders' campaign website pretty much bragged about Sanders calling the Republican legislators responsible for such restrictions "cowards." And in fact, Sanders had quite a bit to say about this issue.
Haley defended her support of voter ID laws, saying at a speech last year, "“Requiring people to show a photo ID before they vote is a reasonable measure. It is not racist ... I want everyone who is eligible to vote, to vote." Republicans in general argue that voter ID prevents voter fraud, the frequency of which is disputed by both sides.
Looking more broadly, these two don't have much common ground. Sanders is a self-labeled "Democratic-Socialist," about as left-wing progressive as you can get in American politics. Haley is a southern conservative, and a tea party darling. Which is to say, she's on the far-right end of U.S. politics. Maybe the only thing they share is rock solid approval ratings: Sanders gets consistently above the 50 percent mark, and Haley boasted a jaw-dropping 80 percent approval rate in her home state of South Carolina.