The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Opinion Biden or Haley? For some Democrats, it’s about who can stop Trump.

Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley visits a charter school in Manchester, N.H., on Friday. (Melina Mara/The Washington Post)
5 min

If you’re a Democrat, or someone who intends to vote that way in the fall, I have a hypothetical exercise for you.

Let’s say I could snap my fingers and make it so that former U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley would win the Republican nomination and end the Trump nightmare once and for all. (In this exercise, I’m like some meddling god from “The Odyssey.” I can even stop Trump from inciting another riot.)

But here’s the catch: In addition to banishing Trump, Haley would also be magically proclaimed the winner over President Biden in the general election, thus handing the White House back to the Republicans. Would you take that deal?

My assumption — with no data to back it up, but plenty of anecdotal evidence — is that some sizable plurality of Democrats would say: “in a heartbeat.” Which gets to a very strange dynamic in the Democratic Party right now.

Whether or not Haley emerges from New Hampshire as a credible threat to Trump (the groupthink right now is that she won’t, and we all know how the groupthink is always right), her candidacy has exposed a divergence of priorities when it comes to the president and his supporters. Biden wants to stake his claim to another term, while many Democrats would sacrifice him tomorrow if it meant stopping Trump.