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The South Carolina Republicans vs. the Florida Republicans

Nikki Haley is running for president in 2024, and Tim Scott is thinking about it. . . . But why?
February 16, 2023
Can Nikki Haley Beat the Florida Men? | Not My Party with Tim Miller

[Editor’s note: Watch Not My Party every week on Snapchat.]

Tim Miller: The 2024 race is on. And two South Carolina Republicans are taking their shot. Is this their once-in-a-lifetime opportunity?

Eminem: I’m pissing myself now thinking about it.

Miller: This is “Not My Party,” brought to you by The Bulwark. The 2024 Republican primary is shaping up to be a battle between the party’s two dominant doughy dotards, Don and Ron, Trump and DeSantis, Mango Mussolini and Meatball Ron.

Krystal Ball: Trump’s most recent innuendo about the governor.

Miller: Nikki Haley and Tim Scott.

Josh Girard (Lonny Ross on 30 Rock): Wait, who?

Miller: Haley officially announced her bid for the presidency on Tuesday in an identity-oriented video that tried to balance her desire to be a uniter who stood up to white supremacy and also a MAGA culture warrior who is mad at somebody for carrying a “Racism is a Pandemic” sign.

Nikki Haley: You should know this about me: I don’t put up with bullies. And when you kick back, it hurts them more if you’re wearing heels.

Hedley Lamarr (Harvey Korman in Blazing Saddles): Kinky!

Miller: The former South Carolina governor and U.N. ambassador under Donald Trump originally promised—

Haley: I would not run if President Trump ran.

Quinn Fabray (Dianna Agron on Glee): So that was a lie.

Miller: But this is just the latest in a long line of Trump-related flip-flops from a woman who once said that Trump was “everything a governor doesn’t want in a president” before quitting her job as governor to work for him. Haley also flopped all over the place on the matter of January 6th, first saying that Trump “let us down” and was not needed “in the picture” for the party going forward before eventually deciding that he was in fact needed in the Republican party just a few months later.

Alex Dunphy (Ariel Winter on Modern Family): Make up your mind. Which is it?

Beth Smith (from Rick and Morty): Yes.

Miller: As for our other Palmetto State politician, Tim Scott has not yet announced like Haley, but the Wall Street Journal reported this week that he’s “taking steps” to prepare for a run for president.

Doug Wheeler (from Bob’s Burgers): So same thing.

Miller: Scott has a “severely conservative” record and is being pushed by a cadre of GOP mega-donors, like Oracle founder and kooky Hawaiian island purchaser Larry Ellison, who like Scott’s track record but also, let’s be honest, think it would be valuable for the party to have a black standard bearer.

Olivia Mossbacher (Sydnery Seweney in The White Lotus): Cringe.

Miller: Given that the GOP has turned off pretty big swaths of the electorate by getting behind a racist game-show host who told black women that they should be sent back where they came from.

Milhouse Van Houten (from The Simpsons): That’s an odd message.

Donald Trump: Look at my African American over here.

Camille Engelson (Allison Scagliotti on Stitchers): What a douche.

Miller: So let’s be real. Is Haley and Scott running a good thing? Do they have a chance? While Nikki’s MAGA phoniness is pretty gross, it would certainly be better for the GOP to have a globally minded nominee who brings a softer edge on the culture war and has in the past done the right thing on these divisive fights.

Haley: The Confederate flag is coming off the grounds of the South Carolina State House.

Miller: What evidence is there that the GOP wants that?

Steve Smith (from American Dad): Traitor!

Miller: As for Tim Scott, I mean. . .

Joe Biden: Come on, man.

Miller: When I met him back in 2012, he seemed like a really nice guy. But a handful of rich white dudes can’t just make some random senator president. Real life is not Succession. He’s at 1 percent in the polls. This feels as cringey and forced as when Boebert and the rest were putting up Byron Donalds for speaker last month.

Robin Scherbatsky (Cobie Smulders on How I Met Your Mother): Super embarrassing.

Miller: I get why these D.C. elites are wishing that GOP voters would turn their lonely eyes to Nikki and Tim, but there’s no evidence that they will. We literally tried this eight years ago when Marco Rubio campaigned right alongside these two same candidates. Look! Nobody cared then.

Kyle Broflovski (from South Park): This does seem really familiar.

Miller: And in the meantime, the party has only gotten more MAGA and more nationalist.

Homer Simpson (from The Simpsons): Oh, this is the worst party ever.

Miller: So unless some crazy shit happens between now and Iowa, color me skeptical that either of these campaigns turn out to be anything more than vice president auditions for the bigger fish. But hey, if one of them wanna buck up and actually challenge DeSantis and Trump on their bullshit, my tune will change a bit because if nothing else, at least that would be a fight worth having.

Beverly Hofstadter (Christine Baranski on The Big Bang Theory): Prepare to be disappointed.

Miller: We’ll see you next week for more “Not My Party.”

Tim Miller

Tim Miller is The Bulwark’s writer-at-large and the author of the best-selling book Why We Did It: A Travelogue from the Republican Road to Hell. He was previously political director for Republican Voters Against Trump and communications director for Jeb Bush 2016.