US Elections 2024: Super Tuesday is one last Hail Mary for Nikki Haley, as Donald Trump surges ahead

Indian-American Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley is trailing far behind her rival Donald Trump, who is most likely to emerge as the presumptive nominee after the Republican Party’s crucial Super Tuesday contest.

Nikki Haley in Forth Worth, Texas
Indian-American politician Nikki Haley in Forth Worth, Texas, ahead of Super Tuesday. Photo courtesy: Instagram/ nikkihaley

Trump and Haley have been campaigning vigorously in various Super Tuesday states — California, Texas, Virginia, North Carolina, Massachusetts, and several more — making their last-minute pitch to the Republican voters.

Donald Trump in Virginia
Former US president and Republican frontrunner Donald Trump in Richmond, Virginia, ahead of Super Tuesday. Photo courtesy: Instagram/ realdonaldtrump

Super Tuesday (March 5 this year) is an important new phase of presidential primaries when the early contests are over, and voters from multiple states cast ballots in primaries timed to occur on the same date.

RealClearPolitics, which keeps track of all national polls, reported that 77-year-old former president Trump was leading by more than 60 percentage points on an average in various national polls.

No political pundit is giving the 52-year-old Haley any chance against Trump, the most popular politician in the Republican Party in recent times.

Despite facing scores of legal battles and embarrassing indictments, Trump is attracting thousands of Republicans to his rallies, while the numbers at Haley’s events are far smaller.

On Super Tuesday, Republican presidential primaries are being held in California, Texas, North Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama, Virginia, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Massachusetts, Utah, Minnesota, Colorado, Arkansas, Maine, and Vermont.

For Donald Trump, this week began with a major triumph even before Super Tuesday, as the US Supreme Court on Monday overturned a decision by the state of Colorado to disqualify the ex-president from the primary ballot. The top court in Colorado had disqualified Trump for his role in inciting riots.

Glass ceilings already broken by Nikki Haley

More than a third of all the Republican delegates are at stake on Super Tuesday, the biggest haul of any date on the primary calendar.

To win the presidential nomination of the Republican Party, either of the two candidates needs 1,215 delegates, who are elected during the primaries. So far, Trump has 244 delegates in his kitty, while Haley’s strength stands at 43.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who dropped out of the presidential race earlier, has nine delegates; and Indian-American entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy has three. Both of them have quit the race and endorsed Trump.

Nikki Haley with her supporters in Texas
Nikki Haley with her supporters at Forth Worth, Texas, ahead of Super Tuesday. Photo courtesy: Instagram/nikkihaley

Even though Haley, the former US envoy to the United Nations, is trailing far behind her ex-boss, she has already broken several glass ceilings in the party.

  • On Monday, the former South Carolina governor won her first Republican nominating contest by trumping rival Trump in Washington, DC. With her win, Haley scripted history by becoming the first woman to win a Republican presidential primary.
  • Haley is also the first Indian-American politician to have won a presidential primary in any state for either the Democratic or the Republican Party.
  • Her popularity has gained ground in the past two months, and in January and February 2024 alone, her campaign raised USD 28 million.

On Monday, a large number of people came out in support of the Nikki Haley campaign in Texas.

“We have been in 10 states just in the past week. I just finished a rally here in Houston, Texas. We had well over a thousand people show up,” Haley told Fox News in an interview.

This isn’t an anti-Trump movement; this is a pro-America movement. This is something where they’re saying they’re tired of the chaos. They don’t want two candidates in their 80s; they want to make sure that we go back to normal. They want to see a DC that works for the people instead of people working for the government.

Nikki Haley in an interview before Super Tuesday

“And so we’ve got people who are passionate, they’re excited, they want to go and get America back where they can be proud again. And so we’re going to do as much as we can,” she said.

“I want to be as competitive as we can. We certainly have numbers we’re hoping for, but we’ll see what happens tomorrow. But until then, I continue to remind everyone in those 16 states and territories that in a general election, we’re given a choice; in a primary, we make our choice. And so I hope everybody will go out and make their choice tomorrow,” she added on Monday.

Nikki Haley with a young fan at Forth Worth, Texas
Nikki Haley with a young fan at Forth Worth, Texas, ahead of Super Tuesday. Photo courtesy: Instagram/nikkihaley

On CNN, Haley claimed that 70 per cent of Americans wanted neither Trump nor 81-year-old incumbent US President Joe Biden, a Democrat, as president.

“That’s not a small number, Jake. If you look at the early states, Trump didn’t get 40 per cent of the vote. In Michigan, after campaigning for eight years, he didn’t perform as well as I did campaigning for just two days and securing 30 per cent of the vote,” she told the interviewer.

“This comes down to people worrying about the fiscal cliff we’re heading toward. They’re concerned about the younger generation, which is facing a USD 34 trillion debt and knows they’ll have to bear that responsibility,” she added.

“They’re anxious about the fact that the younger generation endured COVID-19, facing challenges and uncertainties. They’re worried about securing employment, making ends meet, and doubting their ability to afford a home. With wars occurring worldwide, they want assurance that someone will dedicate eight years day and night to focusing on solutions, not on negativity or personal baggage,” said Haley.

“When you look at Joe Biden and Donald Trump, they’re entirely immersed in their own worlds, preoccupied with how these issues affect them. It’s not about either man; it’s about the American people who have been ignored for far too long. They want things done right,” she said.

“I’m in Texas, and people here are vocal about the border situation, considering it unacceptable. This is the United States of America, and this should not be happening,” said the Indian-American leader.