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Trump’s Jabs at Haley: A Risky Game in the Chessboard of Female Voter Support

In the latest episode of what could be titled “As the Political World Turns,” former President Donald Trump has once again stirred the pot, this time taking aim at Nikki Haley with a zesty blend of sartorial critique and avian nicknames. As he zooms toward the GOP nomination like a kid on a sugar rush, his comments have left some wondering if he’s playing a risky game with certain female voters.

During a victory lap in New Hampshire, Trump decided to moonlight as a fashion critic, taking a jab at Haley’s choice of attire and christening her “birdbrain.” Ah, the art of political nicknaming – it’s like a weird mix of a schoolyard and a reality TV show. He also pondered aloud, with the subtlety of a marching band, whether Senator Tim Scott harbors any animosity towards Haley.

Political soothsayers are chiming in, suggesting these jabs are part of Trump’s signature style, but they might not sit well with women voters, particularly those still sitting on the fence. Juliana Bergeron, a New Hampshire Republican National Committee member, doesn’t mince words. She suggests that Trump might be digging a hole for himself with women voters, especially the swingy kind.

It’s no secret that Trump’s tango with female voters, particularly the suburban college-educated kind, has been more like a wobbly cha-cha since 2018. President Biden swept away 54 percent of this crowd in 2020, and Trump-backed candidates didn’t exactly do the Macarena with them in the 2022 midterms either.

In New Hampshire, Trump’s female voter support was like a thin crust pizza – 51 percent to 47 percent – compared to a more substantial 59 percent to 39 percent slice of the male voter pie. Alice Stewart, a Republican strategist and CNN political commentator, notes that Trump’s comments are like a well-worn record, and suburban women are either thoroughly over it or begrudgingly tolerant.

Now, Trump’s penchant for pet names isn’t new. Since 2015, he’s been dishing out nicknames like “Little Marco,” “Low Energy Jeb,” and “Crooked Hillary.” It’s like he’s running a one-man nickname factory.

Debbie Walsh, director of the Center for American Women in Politics at Rutgers University, points out that Trump is an equal opportunity nickname dispenser, using gender as a tool against both women and men. But, when it comes to his female adversaries, his comments take a more personal and biting turn. Remember the Megyn Kelly and Carly Fiorina episodes? Those were not his finest moments in subtlety.

Haley, determined to stay in the presidential race, seems to have nestled under Trump’s skin, prompting him to up the ante. He’s even issued a warning: those supporting Haley’s campaign might find themselves exiled from the “MAGA camp.” Political observers are scratching their heads, considering Trump’s comfortable lead over Haley in polls.

Alice Stewart observes that Trump’s continued jibes at Haley, despite leading in polls, reflect his unchanged, shall we say, unique style. Meanwhile, Trump’s campaign insists that his comments won’t be the deciding factor in the presidential contest. Karoline Leavitt, national press secretary for the Trump campaign, argues that women voters prefer a leader who’s blunt and protective, dismissing Haley as a flip-flopping politician.

There’s also a theory floating around that Haley’s continued presence in the race plays right into Biden’s hands, with some suggesting it’s a strategic distraction for Trump. Republican strategist Ford O’Connell quips that all Haley is doing is giving Team Biden something to cheer about.

Despite past backlashes over his comments about women, Trump has shown a Teflon-like resilience. The infamous “Access Hollywood” tape, predicted to be his political downfall, turned out to be more of a speed bump than a roadblock as he went on to defeat Hillary Clinton in 2016.

But times have changed. The national dialogue around women’s issues has evolved significantly, fueled by movements like “Me Too” and the Women’s March, not to mention the seismic shift in abortion laws following the overturning of Roe v. Wade.

Stewart suggests that Trump’s dwindling support among suburban women could be due to various factors, including his claims about the 2020 election and ongoing legal dramas. And with Roe’s reversal casting a long shadow, Trump’s name is all over this hot-button issue.

So, as we watch this political drama unfold, it’s clear that Trump’s unique blend of nickname diplomacy and fashion critiques continues to make waves. Whether this strategy will pay off or backfire remains to be seen. In the meantime, grab your popcorn and stay tuned for the next episode of “Trump’s Tongue Twisters.”