Nikki Haley–Is The Republican Party a Personality Cult?

By Howard Bloom

Nikki Haley competed against Donald Trump in primaries in 29 states and territories over the last five months and won only in two—Vermont and Washington, DC. So, Wednesday morning, March 6th, Haley gave a speech suspending her campaign. 

Haley’s words mark a profound change in the Republican party and in America’s kind of politics.

In her address, Haley laid out four basic values: “Our national debt,” she said, “will eventually crush our economy. A smaller federal government is… necessary for our survival.” 

She pointed out that, “Our world is on fire because of America’s retreat. Standing by our allies in Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan is a moral imperative. If we retreat further, there will be more war, not less.” 

And, finally Haley said, “We must turn away from the darkness of hatred and division.” 

These are all traditional Republican values.  The values Republicans have held dear for over one hundred years.  They are the values of Republicans from Calvin Coolidge to Ronald Reagan. 

But ever since 2016, Donald Trump has been constructing a new Republican party.  A party centered on one thing and one thing only, loyalty to Mr. Trump. 

That effort to take over the Grand Old Party had one of its most crucial moments after Mr. Trump lost the presidential election of 2020.  Instead of being depressed, defeated and crushed, former president Trump bullied and cajoled the Republican members of Congress to pass a loyalty test or to endure his wrath. 

That test?  Swear that Mr. Trump had won the election but that it had been stolen by Democratic cheating.  

Mr. Trump made this claim despite an electoral count that put Joe Biden seven million votes ahead.  Yes, seven million.  And despite more than eight judicial decisions agreeing that the facts supporting Trump’s claim of a stolen election were bogus. 

It only took Trump two months to seduce and coerce an astonishing 147 Republican congressmen and senators into rejecting the certification of the 2020 presidential election. That’s 139 congressmen and eight Senators who voted against the certification of Joe Biden as the new president.

Then Mr. Trump welded a new belief into place: the only thing that made you a Republican was your loyalty to him. 

Nikki Haley attempted to challenge that new Republican bottom line.  She put loyalty totraditional Republican beliefs at the front of her campaign: shrink the budget, shrink the government, avoid government welfare programs, and support America’s military. 

The surprise on Super Tuesday came from the significant portion of citizens who voted forher.  That figure was between 20% and 30%.  Which means that at least one in five Americans who voted in the Republican primaries believed in what Nikki Haley stood for. 

Nikki Haley pointed out something else in her Wednesday morning campaign-suspension speech, “It is now up to Donald Trump to earn the votes of those in our party and beyond it who did not support him.  … Politics is about bringing people into your cause, not turning them away. And our conservative cause badly needs more people.”  

One young Republican, writing in USA Today that same morning, backed her up.  He wrote, “The 30% of Gen Z who identifies as independent, is unlikely to support Trump… Haley’s support among independents could have unlocked a new source of votes for the GOP. I find myself now in the middle of two candidates I view as severely damaging to the future of our country.  …As a Gen Z Republican, I won’t vote for Trump.”  

Meanwhile the refashioned Republican party is rapidly abandoning the Nikki Haley voters. Yes, after Haley’s speech, Donald Trump urged Haley supporters to vote for him. 

But he calls these centrists Rinos and never-Trumpers.  One result is that  John McCain-style Republicans like Mitt Romney, Jeff Flake, and Will Hurd have been dropping out of politics.  They are no longer welcome in a party centered on the personality of just one man, Donald Trump.  

A telling indicator of  the Trump remake of the Republican party came Wednesday morning when Mitch McConnell, the powerful senate leader who had condemnedTrump’s January 6th riot at the capital as a “violent insurrection” and had not spoken to the Donald for three years, caved in and endorsed Mr. Trump. 

Which means  that the values of old-line Republicans from Calvin Coolidge and Ronald Reagan to the Bushes are being driven out of the Republican party.  Or as Mr. Trump put it at a Virginia rally Saturday March 2nd, “We’re getting rid of the Romneys of the world.” 



Howard Bloom of the Howard Bloom Institute has been called the Einstein, Newton, and Freud of the 21st century by Britain’s Channel 4 TV.  One of his seven books–Global Brain—was the subject of a symposium thrown by the Office of the Secretary of Defense including representatives from the State Department, the Energy Department, DARPA, IBM, and MIT.  His work has been published in The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Wired, Psychology Today, and the Scientific American.  He does news commentary at 1:06 am Eastern Time every Wednesday night on 545 radio stations on Coast to Coast AM.  For more, see

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