Nikki Haley’s Unproven Reserves

Former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley speaks alongside Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie during the NBC News primary debate on November 8, 2023, in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Other than getting herself whopperjawed over an ill-conceived and poorly launched proposal to end online anonymity, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley has been having a helluva good run in recent weeks.

Indeed, her social media blunder is evidence of how well things have been going for her. When you’re in fifth place, a half baked idea served up on daytime television doesn’t get much attention. But as Vivek Ramaswamy can attest, the wacky ideas that can help get you the celebrity you need to be competitive promptly become liabilities once you arrive.

What made former President Donald Trump mostly impervious to this otherwise iron law of longshot candidacies is that he was already famous. Trump wasn’t getting media attention because of his zany ideas. He was getting media attention because he was probably the most famous first-time candidate since Dwight Eisenhower to run for president. Though Trump’s celebrity was of a somewhat different nature than Ike’s.

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