MATTHEWS: Here’s why Nikki Haley’s presidential candidacy is driving Democrats crazy 

Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley speaks to voters at a town hall campaign event, Monday, Feb. 20, 2023, in Urbandale, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Nikki Haley, who was former President Donald Trump’s ambassador to the United Nations for nearly two years, announced her 2024 presidential candidacy last week, making her the second major Republican contender to do so behind Trump, who declared his in November shortly after the 2022 midterm elections. 

Predictably, Haley is already facing questions from the media and her critics on the left about the time she served in Trump’s administration and statements she made about it after she left. What has been even more predictable are the unhinged reactions to the former South Carolina governor’s candidacy from the supposedly “woke” contingent of the Democratic party. 

During her announcement, Haley talked about how Democrats including President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris frequently either talk about or insinuate that America is a “racist country.” 

“The American people know better. My immigrant parents know better,” Haley stated. “And take it from me, the first minority female governor in history, America is not a racist country.” 

This did not sit well with the racial arsonists on the left, who proceeded to revive a longstanding and false argument that Haley is, in so many words, “running away from her Indian heritage” for political gain by using her middle name. 

Haley’s full name as it is listed on her birth certificate is Nimarata Nikki Randhawa, and she says she has gone by the “Nikki” since she was a child. She got married in 1996 to Michael Haley, and took his last name. 

CNN legal and national security analyst Asha Rangappa, a lecturer at Yale and a former FBI agent, had previously taken issue in 2020 with Haley declaring that America was not a racist country, and in a since-deleted tweet from that time, Rangappa wrote, “Right. Is that why you went from going by Nimrata [sic] to ‘Nikki’?” 

When she was confronted about the tweet last week, Rangappa proceeded to double down on her insinuation that Haley was trying to pass herself off as “white,” including when she married Michael Haley. 

“I didn’t change my last name when I got married to a white guy,” Rangappa tweeted in a back and forth with Twitter users who accused her of being a hypocrite because she, too, does not go by her first name (Renuka) professionally. 

New York Times writer/CNN commentator Wajahat Ali also got in on the act, announcing on Twitter that he had “just submitted a piece on Nikki Nimrata [sic] Haley shamefully using her Indian heritage to launder white supremacy and GOP talking points. It was cathartic for the soul.” 

“So why did she change her name then?” Atlantic writer Jemele Hill ignorantly wondered, as did CBS News anchor Tanya Rivero, who asked the same question. 

These racially-charged attacks on Haley were aided and abetted by the “Politico” news outlet, which ran a piece on the day she declared her intentions to run for president with the headline “Nikki Haley’s complicated racial dance.” 

One thing that for years has kept Democrat movers and shakers and their media allies up at night is the fear that one day they’d finally lose their iron-like grip on the minority voters who for decades now have been central to many of their election victories.  

Haley’s candidacy represents a threat to that grip, which began to loosen under Trump, and that is why in their view she must not just be defeated but also discredited and shown to be a “traitor” to women and minorities. 

Throughout her six years as governor, Haley proved to be a formidable Republican leader, so her detractors on the left and in the press should not be so quick to underestimate her because, as she’s shown since she made her announcement, the attacks could very well come back to bite them. 

North Carolina native Stacey Matthews has also written under the pseudonym Sister Toldjah and is a media analyst and regular contributor to RedState and Legal Insurrection.