Conflict between Hamas and Israel Influences the 2024 U.S. Presidential Primaries, Potentially Favoring Nikki Haley

by Andrew Wright
Nikki Haley 2024 presidential primaries

Nikki Haley has consistently sought to differentiate herself from her Republican competitors in the presidential race on matters of foreign policy. Frequently referencing her time as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, she discusses her perspective on geopolitical challenges posed by China and Russia.

The recent hostilities initiated by Hamas against Israel have had a significant impact on American political discourse, bringing foreign policy considerations to the forefront of the primary contest—a realm in which Haley is well-versed.

While trailing behind former President Donald Trump despite two robust debate appearances, Haley is actively framing herself as his principal competitor by contrasting their approaches to America’s role in global affairs. She links the Israeli-Hamas conflict to her own conservative domestic agenda, contending that the “distractions” affecting both Israel and the U.S. could render both countries susceptible to threats.

“In a recent interview, she stated, ‘When America is divided and distracted, our adversaries take notice, perceiving it as a sign of weakness. The same has happened in Israel with their own internal distractions. We should not believe ourselves to be so invulnerable that internal division and distraction won’t exact a toll.'”

When probed further, Haley declined to critique Israel. However, she did cite various challenges facing the United States, such as the ousting of House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, escalating national debt, and increasing illegal border crossings and fentanyl confiscations at the U.S.-Mexico frontier.

Both Haley and other Republicans have suggested that radicals could potentially enter the U.S. via the southern border to orchestrate attacks akin to those by Hamas. Although no definitive proof has been offered that Hamas has exploited this route, the Department of Homeland Security’s recent national threat assessment did indicate that individuals with “possible ties to terrorism” continue to attempt entry into the country.

Republicans have collectively supported Israel in the wake of the conflict, criticizing President Joe Biden for his dealings with Iran. Particularly, they point to a $6 billion transaction as part of an American hostage release agreement. Iran has been a historical supporter of Hamas, although there is no verified evidence implicating Iranian involvement in the recent attacks.

Senator Tim Scott has called for a Senate Banking Committee investigation into these funds, while Governor Ron DeSantis suggested state-level sanctions against Iran for its ongoing support of Hamas.

Even before the outbreak of hostilities, Haley had been challenging her rivals on topics like U.S. backing for Ukraine in its conflict with Russia and America’s approach towards China. In multiple debates, she has argued that her foreign policy experience sets her apart from other candidates, including entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, whom she criticized for his foreign policy naiveté and for utilizing TikTok, a Chinese-owned app.

While Trump has skipped recent debates and remains at the top of the polls, Haley’s campaign has started to focus on DeSantis as a key competitor. Her support and fundraising efforts have been picking up pace, with donors highlighting her foreign policy experience as a unique advantage.

Nikki Haley’s robust advocacy for Israel during her time as U.N. Ambassador resonates with a particular segment of the GOP base, particularly white evangelical voters who have substantial influence in states like Iowa. Her foreign policy credentials appear to be a significant factor attracting voters, as was evident during her recent campaigning in Iowa.

Polls conducted before the recent conflict indicated that a higher percentage of Republicans view Israel as an ally with shared values compared to Democrats or the general adult population. As the U.S. moves closer to its primary elections, Haley’s foreign policy expertise could potentially offer her a distinct edge.

Contributions to this report were made by Big Big News reporters Thomas Beaumont in Boone, Iowa, and Elliot Spagat in San Diego.

Meg Kinnard can be contacted at http://twitter.com/MegKinnardAP.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Nikki Haley 2024 presidential primaries

What is the main focus of the article?

The main focus of the article is to analyze how the recent conflict between Hamas and Israel is shaping the 2024 U.S. presidential primaries, and how it may potentially benefit Republican candidate Nikki Haley due to her experience and stance on foreign policy.

How is Nikki Haley positioning herself in the 2024 Republican primaries?

Nikki Haley is positioning herself as a foreign policy expert and is framing herself as the main competitor to former President Donald Trump. She aims to differentiate herself by discussing her time as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations and by highlighting her views on global challenges, particularly those posed by China and Russia.

What specific challenges in the U.S. did Nikki Haley cite?

Nikki Haley cited the ousting of House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, the rising national debt, and increasing incidents of illegal border crossings and fentanyl seizures at the U.S.-Mexico border as challenges facing the United States.

What have Republicans been saying about President Biden’s handling of relations with Iran?

Republicans have criticized President Biden for his approach to Iran, specifically mentioning a $6 billion transaction made as part of an American hostage release agreement. They argue that Iran has historically supported Hamas and are concerned that this deal could indirectly empower the militant group.

How is the Hamas-Israel conflict tied to U.S. domestic politics, according to Nikki Haley?

According to Nikki Haley, the “distractions” affecting both Israel and the U.S. could make both nations vulnerable to external threats. She argues that internal division and distraction could be perceived as signs of weakness by adversaries.

What role do evangelical voters play in the Republican primaries?

Evangelical voters are hugely influential in states like Iowa that play a significant role in the Republican nominating process. Their support for Israel is driven by a belief that the state and its Jewish people fulfill biblical prophecies, making foreign policy issues surrounding Israel particularly resonant with this demographic.

Who are Nikki Haley’s main competitors in the Republican primaries?

As of the article’s publication, her main competitors are former President Donald Trump and Governor Ron DeSantis. She has also sparred in debates with entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy on issues of foreign policy.

How have donors and advisers in Nikki Haley’s circle been strategizing?

Haley’s circle of donors and advisers have been increasingly targeting Ron DeSantis in an effort to position her as Trump’s main competitor. They argue that her foreign policy expertise makes her uniquely suited for the role of President, particularly in turbulent geopolitical times.

How does the article source its information?

The article credits contributions from Big Big News reporters Thomas Beaumont in Boone, Iowa, and Elliot Spagat in San Diego. It also references polls and public statements made by politicians and candidates.

More about Nikki Haley 2024 presidential primaries

  • Nikki Haley’s Official Campaign Website
  • Department of Homeland Security National Threat Assessment
  • Polling Data on Republican Views on Israel
  • U.S. Senate Banking Committee on Iran’s Funds
  • Biographical Information on Vivek Ramaswamy
  • Ron DeSantis’ Foreign Policy Views
  • Big Big News-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research
  • Historical Context of Hamas-Israel Conflicts

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AlanW October 11, 2023 - 11:21 pm

Tim Scott calling for a Senate probe into Iran’s funds is a move I didn’t see coming. This is getting more complicated by the day.

LauraM October 12, 2023 - 1:08 am

Kind of sad that foreign conflicts become an opportunity for domestic political jostling. Shouldn’t we be more focused on peace?

SarahQ October 12, 2023 - 1:35 am

i’m not surprised evangelicals play a big part here. The Israel issue always pulls big with that crowd.

EmilyS October 12, 2023 - 2:55 am

Interesting read! Haley has always had that foreign policy angle and now it seems to be coming into play more than ever. She’s really going all out.

SophieT October 12, 2023 - 3:15 am

Love or hate her, you can’t deny Haley knows her stuff when it comes to international politics. It’ll be interesting to see if that’ll be enough for her to gain ground.

Mike_R October 12, 2023 - 11:21 am

So basically the Republicans are using the Israel-Hamas situation to go after Biden on Iran. Political opportunism at its finest, eh?

TonyZ October 12, 2023 - 12:18 pm

Nikki Haley vs. Ron DeSantis, now that’s a debate I’d pay to watch. Both have strong points but I wonder who’d come out on top on foreign policy issues.

JohnDoe October 12, 2023 - 12:45 pm

Wow, never thought I’d see the day where a conflict abroad could shake up our politics so much. Nikki Haley’s certainly usin it to her advantage.


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