South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley has the potential to soften a Presidential ticket with either Trump or Cruz, making either candidate appear more digestible to those who want change, but are frightened of firebrand conservatism. Demonstrating her leadership after the shootings at Emanuel A.M.E. Church of Charleston, Haley brings believability that she can show compassion while governing conservatively. In addition, she has been lauded and has received much praise by newly minted establishment Republicans like Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan. In this sense, Haley in 2016 fulfills the opposite role of that of Sarah Palin in 2008. Many viewed Governor Palin as a Vice Presidential candidate who would have been able to rally the strength of the conservative base behind Senator John McCain, who was a fairly centrist Presidential candidate.
Governor Haley’s ability to lead was confirmed with respect to the Dylan Roof race murders at Emanuel A.M.E. Church of Charleston this past Summer, when nine African-Americans were tragically murdered. Haley states, “Black lives do matter, and they have been disgracefully jeopardized by the movement that has laid waste to Ferguson and Baltimore…” She further states, “In South Carolina, we did things differently.” Although many in South Carolina take pride in their Southern heritage, after the shooting, Haley decided that removing the Confederate flag from the state capitol would be a decisive step in eradicating any lingering trace of the era of segregation still present in South Carolina.
With respect to current challenges in the U.S. as related to race relations and immigration, Haley states, “During anxious times, it can be tempting to follow the siren call of the angriest voices…” which some interpret to be a jab at Presidential candidate Donald Trump. Yet on the program “New Day,” Haley states, “We get more done when we listen and find out where someone else is coming from and put ourselves in their shoes to try and figure out where we can find common ground…” She states this in reference to the immigration of refugees and illegal aliens. Perhaps this recent statement makes Governor Haley come across as a RINO. However, Haley has a history with the Tea Party in South Carolina, and leans far enough to the right on issues like immigration, and the importation of Syrian refugees.
Much like Presidential candidates Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, Nikki Haley is proud of her parents’ immigrant heritage. However, this does not stop her from viewing illegal immigration as a violation of the law as well as an abuse of the safety of citizens and legal residents. In 2012, Governor Haley helped enact legislation to check personal status under reasonable suspicion. Haley also supported legislation for the creation of an Immigration Enforcement unit inside the Department of Public Safety.
Under Governor Haley’s leadership in South Carolina, nearly 75,000 jobs have been created. In addition, over 25,000 no longer need to rely on the state’s welfare system due to Haley’s favorable environment for economic growth. Haley’s opinions, legislation and accomplishments with respect to race, immigration, and economic growth validate her as a top choice for the V.P. slot. In addition, she is a woman born of first generation Indian parents. With this, she brings an interesting dynamic to the Republican Presidential ticket. Senator John McCain’s choice of Sarah Palin as the Vice Presidential candidate was quite unique in 2008, having catered to the base of the Republican Party. Placing Governor Nikki Haley in the Vice Presidential slot for 2016 would bring comparable balance to the Republican ticket if a conservative candidate like Cruz or Trump wins the primary.