IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Nikki Haley’s math problem

Plus an enraging new study, an inspirational first-time candidate in Tennessee and a very special morning routine in this week’s 3 Minute Read from Jen Psaki.
"Inside with Jen Psaki"
“Inside with Jen Psaki” airs Sundays at 12 p.m. and Monday nights at 8 p.m. ET. Join me!MSNBC

It’s not adding up

There is just one person who now stands between Donald Trump and the Republican nomination. Despite losing to Trump by over 30 points in Iowa and 11 points in New Hampshire, Nikki Haley insists she’s staying in the race until the South Carolina primary next month. She is definitely keeping the heat on Trump, calling him “insecure” and claiming he “should feel threatened.”

She is correct that there are 48 states to go in this contest. She is the best and only alternative to Trump. And there is quite a bit of analysis out there suggesting that maybe she could stretch the process out until May, like Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton did in 2008.

But here’s the problem. You have to win at least some states in order to compete. Clinton not only won New Hampshire, but also a number of states with large delegate counts including Texas, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Making this path harder for Haley is the Republican nominating process, which is not set up like the Democratic primary was in 2008. This year, the GOP primary was set up by Trump’s allies to help Trump. The calendar is front-loaded with states that have electorates much closer to the demographics of Iowa than New Hampshire.

In mid-March, primaries adopt the “winner take all” method. So when Trump wins the majority of votes in Ohio, he will win all 79 of the state’s delegates. And by the end of March, more than 70% of delegates will be wrapped up.

In South Carolina, recent polling shows Trump ahead by 30 percentage points, and he has received endorsements from South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster and more recently endorsements from Rep. Nancy Mace and Rep. Jeff Duncan. If she can’t win in her home state, how will she build momentum for the Super Tuesday contests just 10 days later?

So it’s not as much a messaging problem for Nikki Haley as it’s a math problem.

A story you should be following: New research on abortion bans

Last week we saw one of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris’ first campaign rallies, focused on abortion rights. This week, a new study estimated that more than 64,500 pregnancies have resulted from rape in the 14 states with total abortion bans.

In Texas, the study estimates more than 26,000 rape-related pregnancies occurred during the first 16 months after the state banned all abortions, including in cases of rape or incest. (Harris called Texas’ laws “immoral” and “oppressive” on Wednesday.)

“Restricting abortion access to survivors of rape can have particularly devastating consequences,” the researchers wrote. “Whether these survivors of rape had illegal abortions, received medication abortion through the mail, traveled to other states, or carried the child to birth is unknown.”

The results of this research are alarming. I’ll be watching closely as many of these states fight to pass ballot initiatives to expand abortion access.

Someone you should know: Allie Phillips

Allie Phillips, a 28-year-old mother living in Tennessee, was forced to travel out of state to end a dangerous pregnancy. An ultrasound had revealed that the amniotic fluid supporting the fetus had drained and therefore its organs were not developing. Allie’s doctor warned that continuing the pregnancy would be life-threatening.

Due to Tennessee’s near-total abortion ban, Allie and her husband were forced to travel to New York City for the procedure. Phillips then joined three dozen plaintiffs in a series of lawsuits filed by the Center for Reproductive Rights in Tennessee, Texas, Oklahoma and Idaho.

Phillips met with her state representative, Republican Rep. Jeff Burkhart, to advocate for expanding abortion access in Tennessee when the mother’s life is put at risk. Burkhart told her he thought women could only have miscarriages on their first pregnancy. After their meeting, Phillips decided she wasn’t going to rely on a man to help her and launched her campaign for Burkhart’s seat.

I’ll be closely watching Allie’s race for the Tennessee state legislature.

Rep. Ro Khanna’s weekend routine

What show are you bingeing right now?

I have to say the NFL playoffs — the 49ers are from San Francisco, so I’m very invested.

What’s the last book you read?

“The Ends of Freedom” by Mark Paul. It’s a brilliant book, I highly recommend it. I believe his idea of a new economic bill of rights should be at the core of the Democratic platform.

What time do you wake up on the weekends?

Usually around 6:45 a.m. with the kids.

How do you take your coffee?

I wish I had a more exciting answer, but just regular with cream.