Dems Struggle to Oppose Nikki Haley

Democrats have grumbled over the campaign comeback of former President Trump and prepared for an unestablished Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R).

In the early days of the 2024 campaign cycle, the ruling party must decide how to manage Nikki Haley.

A Female President?

The erstwhile South Carolina governor’s entry into a wide-open field contrasts with Republicans’ reluctance to challenge Trump. Democrats must defend 80-year-old Biden vs. a 51-year-old female candidate.

Of course, Biden has battled female White House adversaries before, most notably his now-VP, Kamala Harris, with whom he turned a sometimes harsh rivalry into a collaboration in his administration. He faced nearly six female candidates.

Democrats were bittersweet when Biden won. Despite his defeating Trump, many wanted a woman to rule the country. They’re considering Haley’s odds against an older white male and how that may affect the Republicans’ bench.

Haley said her campaign would not promote “identity politics,” a term used by both parties to highlight personal characteristics. Though gender and age have already shaped her campaign.

Democrats have been eager to elect more women since Republicans failed to attract female voters and diverse candidates. Haley’s candidacy, two days after recently elected Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ answer to Biden’s State of the Union, shows the GOP’s emphasis on expanding their candidate pool.

It’s tricky for Democrats. Many party members want someone besides Biden as the nominee. Recent polling suggests even most Democrats want an alternative.

However, many party members and government officials defended the president, arguing his platform and record of supporting diverse groups make him a more appealing candidate.

Writer and Democratic political analyst Charlotte Clymer said Haley’s presence as a female candidate is insufficient without inclusive policies. Some Democrats highlight that Biden appointed a diverse group of government leaders, demonstrating his commitment to diversity.

Fears and Worries

Haley, a newcomer to the national arena, might contrast herself with Biden, due to the lack of Republican contenders. She’s previously criticized his shortcomings, sometimes dodging questions about whether she’ll have to compete with a vast GOP field first.

Haley focused on the need for “a younger generation to take us into the future” as Democrats debated Biden’s age.

The day following her campaign launch, CNN anchor Don Lemon made a joke about Haley being past her “prime” in a piece about her candidacy, saying women who aren’t in their 20s, 30s, or 40s aren’t in their “prime.”

Conservative women pounced on Lemon and Democrats have repeatedly claimed sexist media treatment of female candidates.

After four years of Trump, numerous famous female candidates ran. Sen. Elizabeth Warren reminded people of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s attempt to silence her.

Democrats are avoiding Biden’s age and the optics of placing a white man at the top of the ticket again when both parties want greater diversity.