- R. Dua
Most democratic countries worldwide, like the United Kingdom, Germany, Australia, have elected women to the top political offices, but not even once in the US’s over 250-year independent history has a woman been elected president. Isn’t it amazing? Intriguing? In fact, currently there are more than 20 countries in the world today, much smaller than the USA, such as Singapore, Finland, and Estonia where the woman rule. In the US too most recently, Democratic Party’s Hilary Clinton endured to break the stalemate but failed.
Anyway, now the 2024 presidential election offers a great opportunity to the American voters to catapult a woman in the White House. Republican Party’s Nikki R. Haley, 51, has been feverishly campaigning coast-to-coast to secure the party nomination. Meanwhile, besides Nikki Haley, former president Donald J. Trump who commands a huge traditional voter following in the countryside, too is an inordinately strong contender of Republican Party’s ticket. Currently, Trump is many percentile points ahead of Haley. Besides Trump, Nikki Haley is the only other GOP-nomination hopeful for the 2024 presidential election contest.
Incidentally, a recent most poll by Monmouth University-Washington Post of South Carolina voters shows that Trump enjoys a 58% support in South Carolina. He had 46% in September. Haley trails at 32%. She polled at 18% in a September survey, as the records show. The March 5 convention of GOP will be crucial. But since Donald Trump is exorbitantly implicated in dozens of legal battles – court verdicts in 91 criminal cases and several civil disputes, hang like sword of Damocles on his head—and could even stonewall his (Trump’s) candidacy in the November 5 presidential poll.
But, being a combative-fighter Sikhni – Nikki (nickname) -- Nimarata to her Sikh parents, Dr. Ajit Singh Randhawa and Raj Kaur Randhawa, born in Bamberg, South Carolina, USA, on January 20, 1972, continues winning the praise as being a strong patriot for her country. As an active political leader, Haley has been intensely immersed in South Carolina’s politics: she was a two-term 116th governor of South Carolina, 29th US ambassador to the United Nations. Nikki Haley is a strong challenger of her party ticket contender for president. In a recent primaries debate, Trump derisively called Haley a “Birdbrain”, questioning her right to challenge him. Trump is usually in the habit of running down women, and reportedly believes that “you can do anything” to women when you’re famous.
But Haley is made of different stuff: she questions Trump’s ‘mental fitness’. She has often characterized former president “as a force of chaos”…blamed him for raising national debt. Trumped called Haley a person ‘without talent’ although he had appointed Haley as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, a prestigious international office.
One of Nikki’s friend-admirer said recently: “She has a mental fortitude and character to discuss what’s important versus attacking individuals for either their race, how the look or how they dress.’’
Meanwhile, being a moderate conservative on campaign trail, Nikki has focused on immigration, advocating for a return of the Trump-era ‘’remain in Mexico’’ policy as well as the defunding sanctuary cities…Haley talked up an idea about a national E-Verify, which will require every business to prove that the people they hire are ‘in the country legally. She has also promised ending the current practice of releasing migrants while they await proceedings in immigration courts to ‘catch and deport.’ She says she will crack down on China’s influence on the US economy.
Being an Indian-American, Nikki Haley has a sizable reputation as straight forward, devoted worker. That’s why Haley has been able to grab abundant generous electoral donations. She raised $16.5 in January. With 10 more fund-raisers to follow in California, where legions of enormously wealthy Sikh India-Americans are densely habituated, Haley can expect to grab luxuriant monetary offerings. Even local Americans have a lot of good words for Haley, and her services to the country.
Finally, as The New York Times reported: She (Haley) seems to regain some footing, as she spoke about her foreign policy stances, her experiences as a mother and her brushes with racism and prejudices in South Carolina as the daughter of the only Indian immigrant family in a small rural town. “We weren’t White enough to be considered White,’’ she said and added, “Weren’t Black enough to be considered Black. They didn’t know who we were, what we were and why we and why we were there.’’
- R. Dua, former professor-head, journalism department, Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC), New Delhi, and an ex-faculty Journalism, California State University, US.