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Pop Culture and Nikki Haley do not mix

Anna Treyger

Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley’s attempt at using pop culture in her bid for the presidential seat will not work in her favor.

Haley made a surprise cameo appearance on Saturday Night Live’s cold open on Feb. 3. During the segment, Haley used her time to call out former President Donald Trump’s refusal to participate in debates and his ongoing legal battles.

Political candidates need to show that they have a relationship with the times that they are in. The idea of using SNL as a campaign stop is brilliant given the status the comedic sketch show has acquired over its 40-year tenure.

Appearing on SNL could provide exposure for the candidates, allowing them to reach a wider audience and thus benefit substantially from the exposure. However, Haley must consider the potential consequences and whether it aligns with her campaign strategy and messaging.

At this stage of the race for the White House, Haley is desperate. The New York Times reported that she lost the recent caucases in Iowa and New Hampshire, which  proved disastrous for her. Notably, even when Trump’s name wasn’t on the ballot, voters opted for the “None of These Candidates” option.

Haley, a former South Carolina Governor, has been in the middle of many controversies. Recently, she faced backlash over her represented views on the Civil War and the state’s ability to secede from the United States. Later she cleared it up with CNN’s Dana Bash on “State of the Union.”

“No. According to the Constitution, they can’t. What I do think they have the right to do is have the power to protect themselves,” Haley said.

It was her “Breakfast Club” radio interview comments where she initially received the backlash.

“If that whole state says, ‘We don’t want to be part of America anymore,’ I mean, that’s their decision to make,” Haley said.

SNL has long been known as the go-to stop for political satire. The four-decade-long program has had political figures on both sides of the spectrum featuring the late Senator John McCain, President Barack Obama and then-Senator Hillary Clinton. It should not be surprising that Haley also took the opportunity.

In fact, during the 2016 presidential election, Trump hosted a whole episode of SNL which was met with backlash as well but aired regardless.

Politicians who want to use pop culture to spread their agenda are entitled to do so and should be encouraged to do so. SNL has become a media entity that candidates realize they could use as campaign stops.

While SNL has gone through ups and downs, it has stood the test of time. The show has become more than merely a space for political satire as cast members have been invited to political events and politicians and campaign officials continue to add Rockefeller Plaza to their campaigns.

With voting day eight months away, Nikki Haley is clearly in her final stretch to attempt to become the Republican presidential nominee. However, her appearance on SNL doesn’t affect the voters’ opinion of her as a candidate.

Haley’s appearance on SNL does not tip the presidential race in her favor.

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Jahlil Rush, Production Assistant
Jahlil Rush is a Production Assistant for The Ticker.
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