After Iowa

Former President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign event at the Hyatt Hotel on December 13, 2023, in Coralville, Iowa. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

If Ron DeSantis is the Ted Cruz of the 2024 Republican primary, Nikki Haley is the Marco Rubio.

That was Ed Kilgore’s thesis in a piece published last week in New York magazine. There’s a lot to it. Like Rubio, Haley was carried to major statewide office by the Tea Party wave of 2010. Like Rubio, Haley is nonwhite and young, confounding stereotypes about what Republican politicians look like. Like Rubio, Haley is conservative by instinct yet willing to make accommodations to Trumpy nationalism—except on foreign policy, where both remain staunchly hawkish. Like Rubio, Haley gained traction in presidential polling shortly before Iowa, tantalizing Reaganites with the possibility that she might slay the dragon.

Like Rubio, Haley has received the support of a prominent governor in an early primary state. In her case, that came Tuesday night in New Hampshire from Chris Sununu. In Rubio’s case, it came in South Carolina from, er, Nikki Haley.

Oh, and like Rubio, Haley is almost certainly going to be flattened by Trump when voting begins, and probably bounced out of the race in her home state’s primary, assuming she makes it that far.

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