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New 2020 Voter Data: How Biden Won How Trump Kept The Race Close And What It Tells Us About The Future

As we saw in 2016 and again in 2020, traditional survey research is finding it harder than it once was to assess presidential elections accurately. Pre-election polls systemically misjudge who is likely to vote, and exit polls conducted as voters leave the voting booths get it wrong as well.

Now, using a massive sample of “validated” voters whose participation has been independently verified, the Pew Research Center has . It helps us understand how Joe Biden was able to accomplish what Hillary Clinton did not—and why President Trump came closer to getting reelected than the pre-election surveys had predicted.

How Joe Biden won

Five main factors account for Biden’s success.

  • The Biden campaign reunited the Democratic Party. Compared to 2016, he raised the share of moderate and conservative Democrats who voted for the Democratic nominee by 6 points, from 85 to 91%, while increasing the Democratic share of liberal Democrats from 94 to 98%. And he received the support of 85% of Democrats who had defected to 3rd party and independent candidates in 2016.
  • How Trump kept it close

    Despite non-stop controversy about his policies and personal conduct, President Trump managed to raise his share of the popular vote from 46% in 2016 to 47% in 2020. His core coalition held together, and he made a few new friends.

    Longer-term prospects


    Here Are The 17 Republican Senators Who Voted To Advance The $1 Trillion Infrastructure Bill

    Washington When the Senate voted Wednesday to open debate on a roughly $1 trillion infrastructure package, more than a dozen Republicans sided with Democrats to advance the legislation.


    • Roy Blunt of Missouri
    • Richard Burr of North Carolina
    • Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia
    • Bill Cassidy of Louisiana
    • Kevin Cramer of North Dakota
    • Mike Crapo of Idaho
    • Lindsey Graham of South Carolina
    • Chuck Grassley of Iowa
    • John Hoeven of North Dakota
    • Mitch McConnell of Kentucky
    • Thom Tillis of North Carolina
    • Todd Young of Indiana

    Voters Supported Progressive Policies On Ballot Initiatives Republicans Are Pushing Back

    After Idaho’s Medicaid expansion received resounding support at the ballot box in 2018 along with funding for education, the Republican-controlled legislature began pushing to make future ballot initiatives more difficult.

    Instead of requiring organizers to gather a percentage of signatures from 18 of the state’s legislative districts, the GOP lawmakers passed a law that required organizers to gather signatures from all of the state’s 35 districts.

    That means that future organizers will have to travel to far-flung sections of the rural state, potentially increasing costs of any ballot initiative by millions of dollars for a process that most idealize as a grassroots one. Local organizing groups have complained it makes a ballot initiative nearly impossible.

    Jim Jones is currently challenging that law in court with his group, the Committee to Protect and Preserve the Idaho Constitution. A former Republican state attorney general and the chief justice of the state Supreme Court, Jones said he no longer identifies with his party, and he notes that it’s not just Idaho’s Republican-led legislature that is limiting direct democracy efforts.

    After facing defeats at the ballot box in recent years, a handful of Republican state legislatures have pushed to constrain voter ballot initiatives in recent months to limit the ability of progressive policies to leap past them in the lawmaking process.

    Marijuana Legalization Could Be On The Ohio Ballot In 2022 Should That Worry Republicans

    In this Thursday, Sept. 20, 2018, photo, an employee of Buckeye Relief LLC, works on topping a marijuana plant, in Eastlake, Ohio. Recreational marijuana could be on the ballot in Ohio in November 2022, depending on how a petition gathering effort goes. AP

    Andrew J. Tobias,

    COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio Republicans have a lot at stake next year.

    Gov. Mike DeWine is running for re-election. Retiring U.S. Sen. Rob Portman’s seat is open, and control of the Ohio Supreme Court is up for grabs.

    Will they want to deal with a ballot issue legalizing marijuana, too?

    The ball could be in state lawmakers’ court.

    A group called the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana like Alcohol is pursuing what’s called an initiated statute to legalize recreational adult-use marijuana. If it can collect enough signatures, the Republican-controlled legislature would be forced to consider the law. If the legislature doesn’t act, the coalition then could try to collect more signatures to place the issue on the statewide ballot for next year’s election.

    “We’re focusing on the policy of adult-use marijuana,” said Tom Haren, a spokesman for the legalization effort. “The politics will be what they’ll be, and that’s something the legislature will have to think of for themselves. But we really do think this is good policy, and we think our proposal should pass on its own merits.”

    Still, he said “it’s hard to argue” that the dynamic would benefit the DeWine campaign.

    Republicans Increasingly Look To Ballot Initiatives As Way To Enact Voting Measures

    Gavin Newsom Recall Organizers Won

    Allan Smith

    Republicans seeking to change state voting laws in the face of opposition from Democratic governors or unwilling legislatures are zeroing in on another path — enacting fresh restrictions via ballot initiatives.

    In Michigan and Pennsylvania, key battlegrounds that President Joe Biden flipped back blue in 2020, as well as in Massachusetts, Republicans are at the beginning stages of a lengthy process to put proposed limits directly to the voters.

    Voting rights advocates who connect the moves to the proliferation of restrictive voting laws advanced in states where the GOP enjoys total control say they fear those efforts will prove successful and spread to other states where such initiatives are legally possible.

    Politicsmissouri Governor Won’t Fund Medicaid Expansion Flouting State Constitution

    Missouri and North Dakota have also considered supermajority requirements, but their efforts died in their legislatures. The Arizona state Senate, meanwhile, has passed three related bills: a supermajority requirement bill, a bill that would allow them to repeal ballot initiatives with the permission of the state Supreme Court, and a bill that would require a statewide vote on passed ballot initiatives every five years. Arizona state Sen. Warren Petersen did not respond to a request for comment.

    Meanwhile, Mississippi’s Supreme Court has totally dismantled the ballot initiative process through which organizers successfully passed medical marijuana legalization and planned to push Medicaid expansion and early voting requirements — all policies that the state’s Republican legislature had long refused to act on.

    Craig Burnett, a political science professor at Hofstra University who studies forms of direct democracy, said that while there is currently a trend of Republican limits on ballot initiatives, Democrats have also tried to impede conservative efforts to expand voter ID laws and limit same-sex marriage.

    But, he said, there has recently been a heightened level of limitations to a process that breaks through partisan politics.

    Nevertheless, many said they found it a worrying trend and also highlighted recent examples of Republican-led legislatures tinkering with ballot initiatives to neuter them or block them altogether.

    Over 150 Companies Sign Letter Supporting John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act

    One reason Republicans in Pennsylvania and Massachusetts may have focused their initiatives solely on voter ID laws, rather than including other election changes, is because public polling has shown those requirements have broad backing by members of both parties. A recent Monmouth University poll found that 80 percent of Americans back requiring voters to show photo ID in order to vote.

    “The struggle with ballot initiatives are always getting the actual initiative on the ballot to start with,” said Garrett Bess, vice president of Heritage Action for America, a conservative advocacy group. “But if the question is put to the voters, then I think it’s an almost certainty to pass.”

    Still, the effort marks a new chapter in the broader national Republican effort to advance new limits on elections following former President Donald Trump’s campaign of lies about last fall’s vote. A number of leading backers of the ballot initiatives have boosted Trump’s false claims of fraud.

    Voter fraud in U.S. elections is exceedingly rare. Although there is no evidence of widespread malfeasance in last fall’s election, more than a dozen states have so far enacted changes this year.

    According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 36 states already ask voters to provide some form of ID, with most of them allowing voters without ID to cast ballots if they sign a form under oath.

    Voting Rights Bill Fails In Senate As Biden Pushes Other Key Legislation

    “It certainly seems that these tactics by politicians in states like Michigan, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts are part of a larger national strategy to limit the freedom to vote,” Joanna Lydgate, CEO of the States United Democracy Center, a nonpartisan voting rights group, told NBC News. “This is about making it harder for Americans to vote.”

    In Michigan — where Republicans control the Legislature but not the governor’s mansion — the state GOP chair and the Republican leader of the Michigan Senate have both indicated a ballot initiative is their ultimate path forward on voting restrictions in order to avoid Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s veto.

    While Michigan Republicans have publicly been tossing around the idea since March, their counterparts in Massachusetts and Pennsylvania have only more recently followed suit.

    In Massachusetts — a state with a GOP governor but where Democrats control the Legislature — state Republican leaders have announced a push to get a voter ID initiative added to the 2022 general election ballot, with local media reporting that the state party has already begun raising money and enlisting volunteers for a signature drive.

    Pennsylvania Republicans seized on the idea of an amendment to the state Constitution — put before voters — after Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, rejected a package of voting restrictions sent to his desk by the GOP-controlled Legislature.

    Takeaways From Georgia’s ‘use It Or Lose It’ Voter Purge Investigation

    It was reported by the Associated Press that Brian Kemp‘s office in Georgia was blocking 53,000 voter registrations in that state — 70 percent from African-Americans, 80 percent from people of color.

    What was happening, as people were submitting voter registration applications, if their names on the voter registration forms didn’t exactly match other state databases, these voters were sent a letter telling them that their applications were pending and they needed to provide more information to election officials.

    Senate Democrats Seek Creative Ways To Pass Voting Rights Legislation

    Before an initiative reaches the ballot, the state Legislature can pass the proposed law with a simple majority vote in each chamber, and such a measure cannot be vetoed. This process is rarely used, but earlier this year, the Republican-controlled Legislature passed one such initiative that was mounted amid the pandemic by conservatives who opposed the governor’s coronavirus lockdown restrictions.

    In Massachusetts, backers of the initiative must submit their proposed ballot question to the state attorney general’s office by early next month. Should it meet the state’s constitutional requirements, backers will then need to collect more than 80,000 signatures by mid-November.

    If enough signatures are collected, the proposal will go to the Legislature in January. Then, if lawmakers opt against passing it before early May, petitioners must collect another 13,000-plus signatures and complete a series of other filings with state and local officials before it can be placed on the general election ballot.

    In recent years, Democrats and progressive activists have used ballot initiatives and citizen petitions to secure key victories related to expanding ballot access and redistricting, as well as advancing other progressive priorities.

    Democrats argue what Republicans now seek is a perversion of the initiative system.

    She said advocates will consider a rival initiative, even as it remains unclear what restrictions Michigan Republicans would seek to get on the ballot.

    Trump Pick Wins Us House Special Republican Primary Election In Ohio

    Susan Cornwell

    Vehicles are parked outside the U.S. Capitol building the morning the Senate returned to session in Washington, DC, U.S., July 31, 2021. REUTERS/Elizabeth Frantz/File Photo

    WASHINGTON, Aug 3 – Mike Carey, a coal lobbyist endorsed by former President Donald Trump, won a crowded primary contest on Tuesday for the Republican nomination to a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives from Ohio’s 15th district.

    With 96.5% of precincts reporting, Carey was ahead of his closest contender, state representative Jeff LaRe, by 37% to 13.3%, results from the Ohio secretary of state’s office showed.

    The outcome in Ohio’s traditionally Republican 15th District south of Columbus was being closely watched as a measure of Trump’s clout in the Republican Party, coming just a week after a Trump-backed candidate for the U.S. Congress suffered a surprise loss to a fellow Republican in north Texas.

    “Tonight, Republicans across Ohio’s 15th Congressional District sent a clear message to the nation that President Donald J. Trump is, without a doubt, the leader of our party,” Carey declared in a statement after his victory.

    Trump also issued a statement thanking Ohio voters and praising the “Great Republican win for Mike Carey. Big numbers!”

    “We have looked across the promised land, but … we will not cross the river,” Turner told supporters at an election night watch party outside Cleveland.

    Democrats currently have a narrow 220-212 majority in the U.S. House of Representatives.

    Former Felons Struggle To Pay Fines Fees To Vote Again In Florida

    In Florida, Desmond Meade, the founder of Florida Rights Restoration Coalition and a former felon, is very familiar with how legislatures can get in the way of this form of direct democracy. He helped organize the effort to return voting rights to ex-convicts through Florida’s Amendment 4 ballot initiative.

    Months after Floridians gave it their resounding stamp of approval — 65 percent to 35 percent — Republicans in the state required felons to ensure they had paid all their fines and court fees before they would be allowed to vote again.

    That tactic disenfranchised thousands of potential voters who had to figure out whether or not they owed money. The state, meanwhile, still has not created a system to inform felons what they might owe.

    “We’re now seeing a direct assault on democracy,” Meade said. “They’ve limited the ability of citizens to weigh in on how their communities or states are governed, and then they’ve limited access to the ballot box and made it more difficult for people to vote. At the end of the day, how is that OK?”

    Freed By Court Ruling Republicans Step Up Effort To Patrol Voting

    GOP candidates united in debate

    Officials seek to recruit 50,000 poll watchers and spend millions to fight voter fraud. Democrats say the real goal is to stop them from voting.

    WASHINGTON — Six months before a presidential election in which turnout could matter more than persuasion, the Republican Party, the Trump campaign and conservative activists are mounting an aggressive national effort to shape who gets to vote in November — and whose ballots are counted.

    Its premise is that a Republican victory in November is imperiled by widespread voter fraud, a baseless charge embraced by President Trump but repeatedly debunked by research. Democrats and voting rights advocates say the driving factor is politics, not fraud — especially since Mr. Trump’s narrow win in 2016 underscored the potentially crucial value of depressing turnout by Democrats, particularly minorities.

    The Republican program, which has gained steam in recent weeks, envisions recruiting up to 50,000 volunteers in 15 key states to monitor polling places and challenge ballots and voters deemed suspicious. That is part of a $20 million plan that also allots millions to challenge lawsuits by Democrats and voting-rights advocates seeking to loosen state restrictions on balloting. The party and its allies also intend to use advertising, the internet and Mr. Trump’s command of the airwaves to cast Democrats as agents of election theft.

    Others say the Republican focus on vanishingly rare cases of fraud targets a politically useful phantom.

    Many Native Ids Won’t Be Accepted At North Dakota Polling Places

    The problem in North Dakota is that a lot of Native Americans live on rural tribal reservations, and they get their mail at the Post Office using P.O. boxes because their areas are too remote for the Post Office to deliver mail, under this law, tribal IDs that list P.O. boxes won’t be able to be used as a valid voter IDs. So now we’re in a situation where 5,000 Native American voters might not be able to vote in the 2018 elections with their tribal ID cards.

    This is sending off a tremendous amount of alarm in the state, because normally we wouldn’t be talking about North Dakota. But there is a competitive Senate race between the Democrat, Heidi Heitkamp, and the Republican, Kevin Cramer. Heidi Heitkamp only won her first race for the U.S. Senate in 2012 by 2,900 votes, and she got 80 percent of the vote on the two counties in the state with the largest Native American reservations. So there is a tremendous amount of fear in North Dakota that many Native Americans are not going to be able to vote in this state, and that’s going to particularly hurt Heidi Heitkamp, the Democratic incumbent.

    On a ballot initiative in Florida to restore voting rights to former felons

    Florida is one of only four states that prevents ex-felons from voting, meaning even after you’ve served your time, you’ve paid your debt to society, you have to wait five to seven years in Florida to appeal to have your voting rights restored by the governor and his executive clemency board.

    Ari Berman

    California Recall: How Democrats Republicans Say You Should Vote

    Californians have until Sept. 14 to decide: Should Gov. Gavin Newsom be recalled? And if so, who should replace him?

    All registered voters in California will receive a mail-in ballot. It has two questions:

  • Shall GAVIN NEWSOM be recalled from the office of Governor?
  • Candidates to succeed GAVIN NEWSOM as Governor if he is recalled .
  • How you vote is up to you, but here’s what your vote will mean and what various political parties, newspapers and others are saying.

    Prospective Candidates Speak At Republican Day At Il State Fair

    SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Despite Illinois being a blue state, the Prairie State’s Republicans arrived at the Illinois State Fair with optimism for GOP Day on Thursday, speaking of high hopes and goals for the upcoming 2022 elections.

    Republicans are aiming to take back Congress, the State House and the Governors’ Mansion in 2022, with state GOP leaders taking swipes at President Biden and Democratic leaders on the withdrawal from Afghanistan.

    Illinois Republicans also aired their grievances with the southern border crisis and inflation while celebrating the recent retirement of longtime State House Speaker Mike Madigan and the defeat of Governor Pritzker’s graduated income tax bill>

    Republicans made no secret that they see Pritzker’s mandates and shutdowns as a liability for the Governor, who is seeking re-election to a second term next year.

    “That’s not democracy in this country, and that’s not democracy in Illinois,” Illinois Senate Minority Leader Dan McConchie said.

    The field of those wanting to challenge Pritzker is sure to grow from the currently three declared candidates in the Republican primary. The upcoming legislative maps that are to be drawn according to recent U.S. Census results is likely to affect the decision of many Illinois Republicans.

    “I know what I will do based upon what that battlefield looks like, and we will make that decision when those maps come out,” 13th District Congressman Rodney Davis said.

    Republicans Aim To Seize More Power Over How Elections Are Run

    G.O.P. lawmakers in at least eight states controlled by the party are trying to gain broad influence over the mechanics of voting, in an effort that could further undermine the country’s democratic norms.

    In the turbulent aftermath of the 2020 presidential contest, election officials in Georgia, from the secretary of state’s office down to county boards, found themselves in a wholly unexpected position: They had to act as one of the last lines of defense against an onslaught of efforts by a sitting president and his influential allies to overturn the will of the voters.

    Now state Republicans are trying to strip these officials of their power.

    Buried in an avalanche of voting restrictions currently moving through the Georgia Statehouse are measures that would give G.O.P. lawmakers wide-ranging influence over the mechanics of voting and fundamentally alter the state’s governance of elections. The bill, which could clear the House as soon as Thursday and is likely to be passed by the Senate next week, would allow state lawmakers to seize control of county election boards and erode the power of the secretary of state’s office.

    “It’s looking at total control of the election process by elected officials, which is not what it should be,” said Helen Butler, a Democratic county board of elections member. “It’s all about turnout and trying to retain power.”

    For Older Voters Getting The Right Id Can Be Especially Tough

    He was sued in 2016 by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights, a voting rights group, because 35,000 registrations were flagged as “pending” under the exact-match system and there was a huge racial disparity in terms of who was flagged, and Kemp’s office actually said he was going to stop doing this system. But what happened is the Georgia legislature basically reauthorized the law, gave voters more time to do this, and so a lot of people didn’t even realize this law was back into effect.

    On why people of color are disproportionately impacted by Georgia’s “exact match” law

    told me … that basically the names of people who are African-American or Latino or Asian-American tend to be more unfamiliar to election workers. So they might have names that don’t match on the databases from one form to another, or election officials might actually enter the correct name incorrectly because they’re confused by the spelling or they don’t recognize the name. And so I think that basically people of different kinds of backgrounds are sometimes unfamiliar to the largely white officials that are running Georgia’s elections, and I think that’s one of the reasons why a lot of people of color are ending up on these pending registration lists.

    On how Kris Kobach, Kansas secretary of state, is an advocate for a question citizenship on the census — and how that affects voting rights

    On why the census matters

    The Dangerous New Frontier: Interfering With Election Results

    The Georgia law has received ample attention for its restrictive voting rules, but it also captured headlines because of provisions that could make administering elections more susceptible to partisan interference. The law removed the secretary of state from Georgia’s State Election Board and gave the GOP-controlled state legislature control over appointing the board’s chair. It also empowered the Republican-controlled2 state board to suspend county election officials and appoint temporary replacements. 

    It’s hard to view the first change as anything other than a clear rebuke of Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, who rejected Trump’s request to interfere in the 2020 election. To be sure, there are some guardrails to prevent abuse, like eligibility requirements that prevent the appointment of a recent candidate or party official as chair of the state election board, but these changes crack open the door to potential interference in the local administration of elections. And who is to say future malevolent actors won’t break it off its hinges, given Trump’s repeated refusal to accept defeat and widespread disbelief among Republicans that Biden did win?

    Fact Check: Has Citizenship Been A Standard Census Question

    So if this question about citizenship is added to the census, places like California and New York and Texas — which actually, funnily enough, is a red state — they could receive fewer members of Congress, they could have less influence in the Electoral College, they could have less money going to their states. And then places like Kansas, where there are fewer immigrants, where it’s a lot whiter and more Republican, they’re going to have more political power if this question about citizenship is added to the census like Kris Kobach wants.

    On voter suppression in North Dakota on Native American reservations

    The big voting issue in North Dakota is that that state has recently passed a new voter ID law that was upheld by the Supreme Court earlier this month, and what’s alarming about that law is that the Republicans in North Dakota wrote it in such a way that for your ID to count, you have to have a current residential street address on your ID.

    The 147 Republicans Who Voted To Overturn Election Results

    Midterm elections: Democrats capture House as GOP holds ...

    When a mob of President Trump’s supporters stormed the Capitol building on Wednesday, they forced an emergency recess in the Congressional proceedings to officially certify the results of the 2020 presidential election. The disruption came shortly after some Republican lawmakers made the first of a planned series of highly unusual objections, based on spurious allegations of widespread voter fraud, to states’ election results. The chambers were separately debating an objection to Arizona’s results when proceedings were halted and the Capitol was locked down.

    When the Senate reconvened at 8 p.m., and the House of Representatives an hour later, the proceedings — including the objection debates — continued, although some lawmakers who had previously planned to vote with the objectors stood down following the occupation of the Capitol. Plans to challenge a number of states after Arizona were scrapped, as well — but one other objection, to Pennsylvania’s results, also advanced to a vote. Here are the eight senators and 139 representatives who voted to sustain one or both objections.

    Vindman: Tucker Carlson Is ‘hating The Us’ With Rhetoric

    Washington Democratic state legislators in Texas staged a dramatic walk-out Sunday night to prevent the immediate passage of a Republican elections bill that would make it harder for some residents to vote. But the bill is not dead: it could get put on the agenda at a special legislative session at some point this year.


    racially diverseDemocratic-leaningclaims67-page legislation

    If Rep Liz Cheney Doesnt Have A Home In The Gop Who Does

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    To be sure, though, Fraga’s own research has found that white voters, regardless of how easy or hard it is for them to vote, consistently turn out at higher rates than voters of color, so we do want to be careful of not reading too much into this. Jennifer McCoy, a political scientist at Georgia State University who studies the effects of polarization on democracy, told me that she thought the current emphasis on voter restrictions boiled down to Republicans thinking they could appeal to Trump’s base by codifying his baseless claims of voter fraud. “ know they have to attract Donald Trump supporters who now believe there is fraud,” said McCoy. “So a large part of the current efforts to change voter laws was a direct response to this last election.” Large majorities of Republicans continue to believe Biden’s win is not legitimate, and a that only 28 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning people agreed that “everything possible should be done” to make voting easy, a steep drop from 48 percent in October 2018.

    The GOP’s restrictionist bent sends the message that Republicans don’t want Black and brown Americans to vote. In September 2020, 54 percent of Black respondents and 35 percent of Hispanic respondents told FiveThirtyEight/Ipsos they believed Republicans didn’t want “people like me” to vote.

    What Ballot Initiatives States Approved On Election Day

    Republicans are arguing they want to limit outside influence on legislation, especially from groups that come from outside of the state. The organizers challenging them say that the legislatures are only limiting the ability to organize and making it more expensive, increasing dependence on outside groups and wealthy benefactors.

    Josh Altic, who leads a team that studies direct democracy efforts at Ballotpedia, said that while Republican efforts may aim to decrease outside influence and money on the ballot initiative process, the increased barriers will likely only increase its prevalence. He cited a new Florida law that limits contributions to ballot initiative campaigns, which is currently being challenged by the ACLU.

    “There are these romanticized ideas of the initiative as a grassroots, volunteer-driven idea, and that’s just not practical,” Altic said. “I don’t know if it’s ever been practical, but certainly not for the last multiple decades, except for a handful of initiatives that get on the ballot in the very smallest states.”

    The average cost of efforts that result in a signature supporting a ballot initiative in the U.S. was $8.09 per signature in 2020, according to Ballotpedia’s data. That’s 24 percent higher than the average in 2018 and almost double the average between 2010 and 2018 .

    But that has not stopped states from raising the barrier to entry, some in multiple ways.

    Former Us Ambassador To The United Nations Nikki Haley

    Haley, 49, stands out in the potential pool of 2024 Republican candidates by her resume. She has experience as an executive as the former governor of South Carolina and foreign policy experience from her time as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

    Haley was a member of the Republican Party’s 2010 tea party class. A former South Carolina state representative, her long shot gubernatorial campaign saw its fortunes improve after she was endorsed by Sarah Palin. Haley rocketed from fourth to first just days after the endorsement, and she went on to clinch the nomination and become her state’s first female and first Indian-American governor.

    As governor, she signed a bill removing the Confederate flag from the state Capitol following the white supremacist attack at the Emanuel African Methodist Church in Charleston. She left office in 2017 to join the Trump administration as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, and Quinnipiac poll found she was at one point the most popular member of Trump’s foreign policy team.

    “I think that she’s done a pretty masterful job in filling out her resume,” said Robert Oldendick, a professor and director of graduate studies at the University of South Carolina’s department of political science.

    Haley criticized Trump following the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol by his supporters, saying she was “disgusted” by his conduct. Oldendick said he thought her “pretty pointed criticism of the president will potentially cause some problems.”

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