CNN  — 

Nikki Haley’s theory of the case when if she runs for president in 2024 is pretty simple: I’m the parts of Donald Trump you liked without any of the parts you didn’t like!

She literally said just that – in an interview with Politico’s Tim Alberta recently. Here’s the quote:

“I think what we need to do is take the good that he built, leave the bad that he did, and get back to a place where we can be a good, valuable, effective party.”

Makes sense! Except there is a 0% chance that Trump – or the base that he commands – is going to go along with that plan.

Witness this reporting from Politico Thursday afternoon

“Nikki Haley reached out to former President Donald Trump on Wednesday to request a sit-down at Mar-a-Lago, but a source familiar tells Playbook that he turned her down. The two haven’t spoken since the insurrection on Jan. 6, when Haley blasted Trump for inciting his supporters to storm the Capitol.”

See, there is no halfway with Trump. No way to sort of align yourself with him but also distance yourself from the ugly stuff – like his actions (and inactions) in the January 6 US Capitol riot.

You are either ALL IN on Trump or he sees you as all out – and therefore fair game to be either a) ignored or b) attacked. And the only way to stay all in is to back him completely on every single thing he says and does. No questions asked.

So Haley’s strategy might make sense to her (or on paper) but in the real world she’s going to have make a choice: Are you with Trump or not?

The Point: Whether Trump himself runs again in 2024, the fundamental question that every candidate who runs will have to answer is whether they will run with Trump or away from him. There’s no in between.