South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley formally endorsed Sen. Marco Rubio for President this evening at a campaign rally. As has been pointed out, without the political machines they once had at their disposal, elected officials’ endorsements mean less than they used to. Still, this is not insignificant, and comes just a few days before South Carolina holds its primary.
Trump has been leading there and will probably win, but this gives Rubio the inside edge on the alleged “establishment lane” there, and could even push him past Cruz for 2nd place.
The endorsement isn’t entirely unexpected. Haley’s State of the Union response angered many of the Trump and Cruz persuasion, for its emphasis on talking about people rather than policies, and its perceived softness on immigration. Personally, I thought the response was inspiring. The tenor of it was very similar to Rubio’s at his most effective. After she delivered it, I figured that she would be supporting Rubio, if not endorsing him.
[youtube width=”425″ height=”318″]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GS5zR7_7M5c[/youtube]
Guy Benson had a Facebook post earlier suggesting that Haley’s endorsement, and that of Sen. Tim Scott, a black Republican from that state, would send an important message to up-and-coming conservatives in the party. I think that’s true, but I think it’s possible that Benson has the cause and effect reversed here.
Haley and Scott were already prominent non-White conservative Republicans. The message of their endorsement for Rubio is not that conservative ideas know no color or sex, that they apply to everyone. That’s the message of Haley and Scott being elected statewide officials in the birthplace of secession, that it’s all right for blacks and other minorities to identify as conservatives and as Republicans.
They could have endorsed anyone, with the exception of Trump, and that wouldn’t have changed.
They obviously have been sold on conservatism’s message and policies, and believe that those are sellable to other minorities and to women. I’m sure that a large factor in their endorsement of Rubio is their belief that of the remaining candidates, he is the most effective communicator of those ideas to those groups.
[youtube width=”425″ height=”318″]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MLCgeRN_FAE[/youtube]