Haley Comes in Second in an Essentially One Candidate Race

Just in case there were any lingering questions about her chances.

Due to the fact that the Nevada GOP is holding both a primary (which Trump did not run in) and a caucus, Nikki Haley was essentially the only candidate on the ballot yesterday (the others on the ballot have either already dropped out, like Pence and Scott, or are essentially unknowns).

And she came in second anyway (source):

Nevada is, if memory serves, the only state that allows this option on the ballot. Were this an actual election to hold office, I believe that Haley would still have “won” as I do not think that “none of these candidates” is binding in the sense that it would cause a new election. No delegates were at stake (they are to be awarded in the caucus), so it is all moot anyway. But it was never about the delegates as much as it was about being able to claim a win.

What we have here is an amusing example for future use in class, paper, or media story about this unusual aspect of Neveda’s electoral process.

What we also have here is a devastatingly embarrassing outcome for Haley, as I have little doubt there was some hope of trying to parlay a “win” out of the contest last night so as to pretend a little longer that her candidacy was viable.

As I have noted in passing a number of times, Trump will be the nominee barring a dramatic legal or health-related incident. And at this stage, I am not sure that a legal event will prevent him from being nominated.

FILED UNDER: 2024 Election, US Politics, ,
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. James Joyner says:

    “None of these candidates” is a particularly interesting choice when the runaway favorite is left off the ballot.

    ReplyReply
  2. MarkedMan says:

    I don’t know how she will spin it, but one way is to say, “Nevada has some of the Trumpiest Republican voters in the nation, absolute cuckoo bonkers type of people, and I still got 30% of the vote. This just proves he cannot win in a general election.”

    I’m not buying it, but she could spin it that way

    ReplyReply
    7
  3. Kylopod says:

    @MarkedMan: “Second to none, Haley loses to nobody.”

    ReplyReply
    8
  4. Kathy says:

    What hurts is she got less than half the votes of none of these candidates.

    Imagine thousands of people took the time and trouble to vote not for somoene, but against you.

    I still think she won’t drop out until her home primary, which she will probably lose.

    ReplyReply
    2
  5. Bobinyoungstown says:

    Misogeny is alive and well here the USA.

    ReplyReply
  6. Joe says:

    “Nothing compares to you.”

    ReplyReply
    2
  7. MarkedMan says:

    @Kathy: It’s not clear that this means anything. Everything I read said that Republican voters were confused and angry over the conflict between caucus and primary. Ira not good news for her, but it’s not clear that not is as bad as it sounds.

    ReplyReply
    2
  8. MarkedMan says:

    @Kathy: It’s not clear that this means anything. Everything I read said that Republican voters were confused and angry over the conflict between caucus and primary. It’s not good news for her, but it’s not clear that it is as bad as it sounds.

    ReplyReply
  9. just nutha says:

    Still, no one is a better choice than Haley.

    ReplyReply
    5
  10. Kathy says:

    @MarkedMan:

    The whole thing is a bit odd. Haley chose to take part in the primary, thus removing herself from the caucus, but then didn’t campaign or advertise in Nevada at all. It’s just not clear what the strategy is, if there’s any.

    But if her staying in the race annoys Lardass, and perhaps takes potential money from him, then she should see it through to the very last primary, well after she has less of a chance of winning than an ice cube does of surviving intact inside a blast furnace.

    ReplyReply
    4
  11. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    @just nutha:
    Despite this stunning outcome (snark), I still don’t think the world is ready for the Cracker/Luddite ticket. (Or the Luddite/Cracker ticket, for that matter.)

    ReplyReply
  12. Mr. Prosser says:

    As long as she keeps irritating the other R candidate I hope she keeps going

    ReplyReply
    2
  13. charontwo says:

    @just nutha:

    Still, no one is a better choice than Haley.

    “No one” equals (implicitly, as instructed by TFG) Trump.

    No hope candidates typically persist until their funding runs out. Haley presumably has other objectives than beating a still-viable Trump.

    ReplyReply
    1
  14. Joe says:

    but it’s not clear that it is as bad as it sounds.

    But the whole problem, MarkedMan, is that it sounds so bad.

    ReplyReply
    1
  15. JKB says:

    On the Dem side, Biden won handily but “None of these Candidates” came in 2nd with 5+% of the vote. Former French president Mitterrand could not be reached for comment.

    ReplyReply
  16. CSK says:

    @MarkedMan: @Kathy:

    I think Haley is gambling that Trump will either drop dead or be facing incarceration by the time the last primary rolls around, and she’ll be the default nominee.

    ReplyReply
  17. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @JKB: Still grasping at straws, I see.

    ReplyReply
    10
  18. Barry says:

    @JKB: On the Dem side, Biden won handily but “None of these Candidates” came in 2nd with 5+% of the vote. Former French president Mitterrand could not be reached for comment.”

    Math is not your strong suite, is it?

    You remind me of the old story about Pravda declaring a winner of a two-person race to be ‘second from last’.

    ReplyReply
    8
  19. Kylopod says:

    @Kathy:

    then she should see it through to the very last primary

    Sure—from our perspective that may be the case. But what does she have to gain from it, or for that matter Republican donors who are hoping for someone other than Trump to be the nominee but who would prefer Trump over Biden if it comes to that? Whatever her intentions, the money will soon dry up, and even her supporters will lose enthusiasm for something increasingly seen as quixotic (which it always was, let’s be clear, but some people take a bit longer to get the hint).

    ReplyReply
  20. just nutha says:

    @Flat Earth Luddite: No way that you’re getting top billing! I’m the top sociopath on the ticket or it’s no go.

    ReplyReply
    2
  21. MarkedMan says:

    @Kylopod:

    . But what does she have to gain from it

    I’ve been wondering that myself. I mean, she is out and out defying Trump, when the rest of the Republicans are crawling around on their bellies licking his shoes. She must think there is at least a long term advantage as being the one who stood up to him. Maybe she naively believes once Trump is gone the Repub voters will go back to sane mode? Maybe she thinks there will be a third party she can join and win that way? I’ve no idea, really.

    ReplyReply
    1
  22. al Ameda says:

    She could do as Trump would do
    – say something like:

    “It’s another small state. Who cares?”

    ReplyReply
    2
  23. Kylopod says:

    @MarkedMan: At the risk of sounding like I’m normalizing the situation, I’ve watched a lot of elections where a candidate soldiers on long after there ceases to be any sensible rationale for their candidacy, and as a rule of thumb I think the easiest, Occam’s Razor explanation to fall back on is simply they crave the attention.

    ReplyReply
    4
  24. EddieInCA says:

    I think the current polling is missing a very large anti-trump vote among Republicans. Eventually, it’s not going to be a big number, but if 10-15% of the GOP chooses to not vote for Trump, and instead votes 3rd party or Biden, it would make a massive difference.

    Reading that election result, it shows 36.2% voted against Trump, given that “none of the above” was the Trump proxy.

    And I’d wager that the anti-Biden Dem vote will be substantially smaller than the anti-Trump Republican vote.

    ReplyReply
    2
  25. MarkedMan says:

    @Kylopod:

    they crave the attention

    Oh, no doubt. What I’m more fascinated by is her decision to start hitting Trump directly and harshly when every other prominent Republican is either bootlicking or trying to hide behind a potted plant. And this despite the face that she is calculating to the point where she pretends to not know that the Civil War involved slavery and instead gives the “Lost Cause” version of it, before half-assedly walking it back. And yet at the same time she starts pointing the finger at Trump and mocking him mercilessly. Two months ago she, like Desantis or Scott or Ramaswamy, wouldn’t say boo in his direction. What changed? Did she decide she DGAF? Or is this a calculation and she is either wrong or ahead of the curve?

    ReplyReply
    1
  26. Michael Reynolds says:

    Has everyone seen the new polls?

    Economist: Trump 44 Biden 43
    NPR/Marist: Trump 47 Biden 48
    TIPP: Trump 43 Biden 41

    In the last couple weeks polls have moved from solidly Trump, to a dead heat.

    ReplyReply
    5
  27. DK says:

    @JKB: Ha. Can only imagine the desperation rightwing incels feel as Biden collects 90% of his party’s vote — while the Rethugliklan Party descends into electoral, legislative, and legal infighting. You must’ve doubled-up on Trump’s crackerjack disinfectant injections, to mask the pain lol

    @MarkedMan:

    She must think there is at least a long term advantage as being the one who stood up to him.

    One can parlay a cushy commentary gig at CNN or MSNBC into millions in income. And the advance on her upcoming book “Nikki Quixote: What Happened When I Stood Up to Trump” should be nice, too.

    ReplyReply
    4
  28. MarkedMan says:

    @EddieInCA: Only the moderately hardcore base vote in a primary, and given the confusion and anger about the voting in Nevada, I would bet the ones who showed up fall more into the truly hardcore category. The fact that at least 30% of them want somebody other than Trump gives me real hope. I mean, for gods sake we have been hearing nothing but a thunderous drumbeat around how dissatisfied voters are with Biden yet he got 96% of the South Carolina vote, 90% of the Nevada vote which included a “none of the above” option and won with 2/3 of the vote as a write in candidate in NH.

    I’m not predicting a Haley win. But Trump’s failure to push her into single digits is a real sign of a lack of enthusiasm in his base.

    ReplyReply
    4
  29. Kylopod says:

    @EddieInCA:

    Eventually, it’s not going to be a big number, but if 10-15% of the GOP chooses to not vote for Trump, and instead votes 3rd party or Biden, it would make a massive difference.

    I would exercise some caution with these results. First of all, primaries historically tend to make intra-party conflict seem greater than it turns out to be. Even people who say they don’t intend to vote for Trump in the general, and even assuming they’re telling the truth about what their intentions now, I don’t trust them to maintain that conviction (no pun intended) by November. Partisan incentives are a powerful drug.

    Also, the anti-Trump vote may to some extent be baked in. I’d like to see a poll asking such voters whether they voted for Trump in 2020. Without that information, we don’t really have any idea whether Trump has lost support since last election.

    ReplyReply
    1
  30. Michael Reynolds says:

    One other point on the NV primaries:

    Total votes cast for ALL Republicans: 69,444
    Just Biden votes: 98,358

    ReplyReply
    9
  31. Michael Cain says:

    @Kathy:

    Imagine thousands of people took the time and trouble to vote not for somoene, but against you.

    Nevada is a vote by mail state. Every registered Republican gets a primary ballot delivered to their mailbox. The time and trouble to vote is pretty minimal.

    ReplyReply
    1
  32. gVOR10 says:

    @Michael Reynolds: Can’t find it again, but someone said if you go to 538 and look at Silver’s high rated polls they’ve shown a tie all along. It’s the less reliable polls that had Trump up.

    ReplyReply
    1
  33. charontwo says:

    @MarkedMan:

    Did she decide she DGAF? Or is this a calculation and she is either wrong or ahead of the curve?

    Perhaps she noticed that the media (also the Dems) has started paying attention to TFG’s increasingly symptomatic dementia, thinks maybe she should too.

    ReplyReply
  34. charontwo says:

    @Michael Cain:

    Every registered Republican gets a primary ballot delivered to their mailbox.

    Thus a closed primary effectively.

    ReplyReply
  35. EddieInCA says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    I posted some polls about a week ago, which started to show that trend. The trend is definitely favoring Biden the last two weeks. The more the good economy and jobs numbers seep into the zeitgeist, Biden’s numbers will improve. As long as Trump keeps being Trump, he’s going to continue to alienate swing voters and independents.

    The trend is key, and right now, it’s trending Blue.

    Wait until the media starts with the “Biden’s poll numbers are improving.” Because you know that’s coming.

    Drip.
    Drip.
    Drip.

    ReplyReply
    3
  36. wr says:

    @JKB: “On the Dem side, Biden won handily but “None of these Candidates” came in 2nd with 5+% of the vote.”

    Wait — you mean Biden only got slightly more than 94% of the Dem vote? He’s doooooomed!

    ReplyReply
    7
  37. Lounsbury says:

    @MarkedMan:

    I’m not predicting a Haley win. But Trump’s failure to push her into single digits is a real sign of a lack of enthusiasm in his base.

    I believe this is important and fundamental observation – the fact he is not yet pushing her to single digits is an expression of profound weakness (contrast the agitprop by JKB re Biden, where if taken at face value. 5% protest vote – that being expression of Biden actual strength in position that should be improving – barring some exogenous event wrong-footing – as US economy keeps moving forward in next nine months and inflation disappation and price stabilisation leads to improved sentiment, a clock-running excercise)

    So long as the centre relative to Swing States is attended to by Biden, and the Democrats remain properly and rightly motivated relative to Trump and don’t fall into Purity Ponyism and Trump remains the crass buffoon he is, potential is there.

    ReplyReply
    2
  38. Mister Bluster says:
  39. Michael Cain says:

    @charontwo:

    Thus a closed primary effectively.

    Maybe. Here in Colorado, registered Republicans receive the Republican primary ballot, registered Democrats the Democratic ballot, and unaffiliated voters get both ballots. The unaffiliated can return one or none, as they please, but can’t return both. I don’t know Nevada’s details at that level.

    ReplyReply
  40. Gustopher says:

    @wr: I would have thought he would go with the Biden win being rigged, like how Saddam Hussein was always re- elected with 93% of the vote.

    ReplyReply
    2
  41. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @charontwo: But, no one is a better choice than Trump, too. The emerging problem is that 47% of the voting population is now going to be selecting someone than whom no one is always going to be a better choice, I’m afraid. 🙁

    ReplyReply
    1
  42. Kathy says:

    @Michael Cain:

    Kathy’s First Law states everyone tends to move along the line of least resistance. Deviating from that takes a desire or need or obligation to do something.

    TL;DR not much > zero

    ReplyReply
    1
  43. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @EddieInCA:

    I think the current polling is missing a very large anti-trump vote among Republicans.

    I don’t know how large it is/will be, but yes, those voters, I think, will tend not to show up for the primary unless they have a preferred candidate running. And certainly hope that you’re right on

    …wager[ing] that the anti-Biden Dem vote will be substantially smaller than the anti-Trump Republican vote

    but not bet on it because I wouldn’t want to jinx you.

    ReplyReply
  44. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @gVOR10: So The Economist and NPR/Marist are “less reliable polls” now? I’m not sure how sanguine I am about that.(Then again, I don’t follow polls at all. I guess it’s possible that they are less reliable. Normally, I wouldn’t have thought so, though.)

    ReplyReply
    1
  45. Kathy says:

    @gVOR10:

    Silver left 538 last year.

    ReplyReply
  46. Gustopher says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Total votes cast for ALL Republicans: 69,444
    Just Biden votes: 98,358

    I would expect that enthusiasm for this primary would be down, as Trump is not on the ballot.

    I don’t think we can look at this state and say there is a general enthusiasm problem.

    ReplyReply
  47. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    @just nutha:

    No problemo, I’m happy to be your running mate.

    ReplyReply
  48. gVOR10 says:

    @Kathy: Didn’t know that. Thanks. I believe they still use his system.

    ReplyReply

Speak Your Mind

*