South Carolinians Say Haley Abandoned Them

[Photo Credit: By U.S. Department of State from United States - Ambassador Haley Delivers Remarks to the Press on the UN Human Rights Council, Public Domain,]

As the South Carolina primary come more into focus, more Republicans are beginning to learn why Nikki Haley has no shot at winning her home state. The people who helped make her a two-term popular governor no longer believe she cares about what they think. 

Whether it’s her predecessor or activists, over the past two weeks, anyone interviewed in the Palmetto State has had one message: we didn’t change, she did. 

Politico writes that Haley’s departure for the big time under the Trump administration made her lose touch with the people who mattered when it came to making her president.

Since leaving the governor’s office, Haley has largely ignored the state’s grassroots activists, according to interviews with more than a dozen GOP operatives across South Carolina. One striking illustration came in December, when a junior-level staffer on Haley’s presidential campaign sent the South Carolina GOP an email asking how to find out about county party events so that Haley could begin sending surrogates to them.

It was a surprisingly basic question coming from the campaign of the state’s two-term former governor. And to state GOP officials who had been communicating for months with her rivals’ campaigns, it was off-putting that it came so late in the election cycle — and from someone so unfamiliar with the state party.

It was also reflective of a significant problem Haley has in South Carolina — one that has more to do with her than with the front-runner, Donald Trump. For years after she left the governor’s office, Haley failed to nurture her own base of support with the party faithful.

“We didn’t abandon her,” said Allen Olson, formerly the head of the Columbia Tea Party, who was supportive of Haley as she entered the governor’s office. “She abandoned us.”

Over the last week, Haley has launched massive broadsides against the former president, attacking him for his legal troubles, which may cost him Trump Tower, and going after comments Trump made about her military husband

“He’s not qualified to be the President of the United States,” Haley said at a campaign stop on Monday, bashing Trump for mocking the absence of her husband, Michael, who is deployed to Africa with the South Carolina Army National Guard. 

“Where’s her husband? Oh, he’s away. He’s away,” Trump said at an event last weekend. “What happened to her husband? Where is he? He’s gone.”

Haley called Trump’s remarks “disgusting” and “unbecoming of a president,” has targeted his comments about veterans, making it a focus of her campaign as of late. She told NBC News in an interview that military families can’t trust the former president to “keep them out of harm’s way.”

Unfortunately for the former South Carolina governor, while veterans feel disrespected by Trump, many still say they will vote for him anyway. Haley’s lack of focus on her own backyard over the past few years is likely the reason why. 

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