Ron DeSantis checks his teeth and Nikki Haley stands behind him glaring at him during a break at a Republican debate.

Nikki Haley Puts Us Out of Our Misery, Gets the Next Republican Debate Canceled

After the last Republican debate proved to be nothing more than an opportunity for Ron DeSantis and Nikki Haley to lob petty, childish insults at each other for two hours straight, it really made it hard to keep pretending like there’s any usefulness in these debates.

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Fortunately, Nikki Haley seems to agree. Following Iowa’s Republican caucus Monday, she said she won’t be participating in the next debate unless Donald Trump does as well. Trump has been sitting out the debates from the start, claiming he doesn’t need to participate given his enormous lead in the polls. As terrifying and infuriating as it is, he’s not wrong. He cleaned house in Iowa and didn’t need to step on a debate stage once.

While she doesn’t have anywhere near the numbers Trump does, Haley is also in a position where continuing with the debates isn’t likely to help her. The next state to go to the polls is New Hampshire, where Haley has been dominating DeSantis in polls. One recent poll has Haley at 34% support in the state, compared to DeSantis’ embarrassing 5%, while another shows Haley essentially tied with Trump at 40% each.

Haley still might not have a chance in hell of actually beating Trump in this election but she doesn’t have anything to gain from a night of childish sparring with DeSantis—an experience she seems to hate as much as the rest of us hate watching it.

“We’ve had five great debates in this campaign,” Haley said in a statement. “Unfortunately, Donald Trump has ducked all of them. He has nowhere left to hide. The next debate I do will either be with Donald Trump or with Joe Biden. I look forward to it.”

In response, ABC canceled the debate scheduled for Thursday, rather than let DeSantis take the stage solo. CNN has another debate slated for Sunday, and there’s no word yet on whether that will go on as planned.

On Twitter/X, DeSantis accused Haley of being “afraid to debate because she doesn’t want to answer the tough questions.” But during the last debate, the two of them didn’t come close to discussing anything substantive. There’s no downside to canceling this clown show.

(featured image: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

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Vivian Kane
Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.