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Tom Davis: Nikki Haley is the outsider America needs

July 07, 2023
| The Post and Courier by Tom Davis

When I think about who the next president should be, one thing is immediately clear: We need an outsider, someone who’s not afraid to buck the leaders in both parties, take on the hardest fights and figure out how to get things done in an environment that, too often, prizes political attacks over results.

South Carolina has a leader just like that. She’s our former governor, Nikki Haley. She has the right values and vision. And she has my vote.

I’ve known Nikki for 20 years, and I had the privilege of serving alongside her in the General Assembly and supporting her as governor.

She’s been an outsider since day one, and never, not once, has she given up and become an insider like almost every other politician.

Think about it. This is the leader who took on the longest-serving Republican incumbent in the state Legislature. He’d been there for 30 years, and he took the low road — which included making pejorative aspersions to her Indian American ethnicity and mocking her as a young mother with no political experience — to fight against her insurgent campaign. She won anyway, not by stooping to his level but by rising above it.

She did it again when she ran for governor, taking on much better-known names from the political establishment. She won that race, too.

A leader is only as good as the laws she gets passed, and on that note, Nikki took on the most outsider fight I can imagine.

She was furious when she learned that the General Assembly didn’t cast most votes on the record, making it impossible to hold lawmakers accountable while greasing the skids for unaffordable spending. So she introduced legislation to end that practice and didn’t back down — even when Republican Party leaders punished her for going against them.

As governor, Nikki Haley signed the law putting legislative votes on the record. She started that fight and saw it through, delivering a historic victory for transparency and accountability in South Carolina.

The best thing about outsiders is that once they win one fight, they don’t just rest on their laurels. They move onto the next problem in need of fixing. Sure enough, Nikki cracked down on illegal immigration and took on Barack Obama when his administration protested. Early in her first term, Nikki signed one of the toughest immigration laws in the country, empowering law enforcement to check people’s immigration status and mandating that employers use E-Verify.

She also signed laws to cut taxes, expand school choice, and protect our elections by enacting a voter ID law in South Carolina.

Like every South Carolinian, I was proud to see Nikki take her principled leadership to the United Nations in 2017.

And I couldn’t have been more impressed with what she achieved. If you thought it was hard to stand up to the “old boys” club here at home, imagine standing strong in the face of every dictator and thug in the world.

What’s more, imagine doing that while having to fight the D.C. bureaucracy every step of the way because the “experts” in Washington think they know better.

Through it all, Nikki stood for America with grit and grace, confronting China, Russia, North Korea and Iran.

And all the while, she kept fighting to protect taxpayers like you and me, making sure we didn’t fund all the bogus things they do at the United Nations.

Who else do you know who’s taken on so many hard fights, stood up to so many entrenched elites and won so many victories along the way, all while doing it with a style and manner that don’t turn people off?

Only a true outsider — someone who never stops fighting for what she knows is right.

Nikki Haley proved it as a lawmaker, governor and ambassador. She’ll prove it again, and even more than before, as a president of the United States we can all be proud of.

Tom Davis represents Beaufort and Jasper counties in the S.C. Senate.

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