Was Haley’s Vermont win a message to Trump?

Governor Nikki Haley

As most of us now know, former Republican South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley won over Vermont voters, beating Donald Trump 50.2% to 45.9% in the Super Tuesday primary. 

Vermont was Haley’s only primary win besides the District of Columbia, before she dropped out of the race. 

So, what is the reason for this surprising turnout among Vermont voters? 

According to a recent VTDigger article by Paul Heintz, Independents and Democrats likely made her victory possible. 

As there were more ballots cast in the Republican primary in the state of Vermont than any other year since 2000, it seems many voters were hopeful for a new face to represent the United States. Many voters feel that both Joe Biden and Donald Trump are just too old. Both the president and the GOP nominee have sparked conversation about just how competent either is at this point. As a result, even Independents and Democrats alike, at least in the state of Vermont, were pulling for Haley.

“The secret to Haley’s success in the Green Mountains appears to have been people like Marley Beers,” Heintz wrote in the piece. 

Beers is an Independent from Winooski, Vermont “who typically votes for Democrats and expects to back President Joe Biden in November,” the article read. On Tuesday, Beers voted for Haley after requesting a ballot for the Republican primary. 

“I don’t really want Trump to have a very easy path in getting the Republican nomination,” Beers was quoted saying in the article. 

In another example, Representative Ashley Bartley, a Republican of Fairfax and co-chair and leading organizer of Nikki Haley’s campaign in Vermont, said in the piece that the crossover votes in the Republican primary were “huge, huge, huge, huge.” 

Even Vermont’s Republican Governor, Phil Scott, agrees with this sentiment. 

“Without the independents in particular coming in and grabbing a Republican ballot, it wouldn’t have happened,” Scott was quoted as saying. “I don’t know how many Democrats, but I’m sure there were some —- more of an anti-Trump vote.” 

But, if Democrats and Independents are concerned about a Trump re-election, why not just vote Democrat? It seems, to me, to make more sense to vote for Joe Biden in the first place. It seems that voting for Haley over Trump as a Democrat is only encouraging a Republican vote. 

Our current situation seems like a bit more of an issue with the Republican party as a whole. Now, this may be stepping on some toes here, but our issues with Trump go much further than that. The Trump administration and right-wing mainstream media news played an immense role in the near dismantling of American Democracy. 

It is not just Donald Trump we should be wary of, but also radical conservatism. Unless we see some extreme changes from the Republican party, we can expect continued MAGA propaganda and nonsensical “news” stories portraying Democrats and Independents as the “bad guys.” 

But another, equally plausible reason for not voting Democrat could be discontent with our option. 

“This election was not especially exciting on the Democratic side,” said Vermont’s Democratic party Executive Director, Jim Dandeneau. 

Dandeneau gave a “vibes-based assessment” that most Vermonters who cast Republican ballots for Haley are Democrats. While Democrats and Independent voters will likely pull for Biden during the election, it is clear the Democrats were hoping for a better turnout of nominees. 

However, if people like Marley Beers are going to vote Biden over Trump in the end, why waste the vote on Nicki Haley? If we’re left with two clear winners, It seems logical to pick from the side we’re on.

Dandereau said it appears many voters in Vermont, “would crawl over broken glass to make sure Donald Trump does not get elected president again.” 

And if the “vibes” are correct, and most of Haley’s ballots came from Democrats and Independents trying to stop Trump, then this coming election will be a nail biter for sure. The only thing we can do now is keep our optimism up and stay informed – and vote! 

– Amanda Johnson 

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