Omaha expert weighs in on Nikki Haley’s competency test, term limit promises

A UNO political science professor says her proposals may not be realistic at the federal level.
A UNO political science professor says her proposals may not be realistic at the federal level.
Published: Mar. 13, 2023 at 9:01 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - In the last week, several high-ranking Republicans have made visits to the Midwest, including two front-runners for the race for President in 2024: Nikki Haley and former President Donald Trump.

Nikki Haley believes she can take on the former President, but a local expert says some of her promises may not be realistic.

The former South Carolina governor and U.S. Ambassador hopes to be the fresh face she says the country needs.

“It’s time for a new generation, it’s time for us to move forward and change with the times, I don’t think you have to be 80 years old to be in D.C.,” she said during her town hall in Council Bluffs on Wednesday.

During her visit, Haley doubled down on her idea that politicians over the age of 75 need to take mental competency tests.

“When I say that, I’m not being disrespectful and I don’t mean any disrespect by it, what I’m saying is this is somebody who is deciding the national security of our country, this is somebody who deciding what happens with our debt,” Haley told the audience.

“I think there are certainly some people who would not be attracted by that message, but the question is, does that pull more voters to her or does it push more voters away from her,” says UNO Political Science professor Randy Adkins.

Adkins argues that competency tests aren’t exactly realistic, especially at the federal level.

“Usually you think about that as something that probably emerges out of a community or state first because you know the states are a great opportunity for experimentation,” Adkins says.

Adkins says it also raises questions about what the test would entail.

“I don’t even know what they would look like, like what mental competency test are we going to use? The Democrats are going to have one that they want, the Republicans are going to have one that they want. I mean, what does that look like?” he asked.

“I would ask Nikki Haley that if that’s something you want, why didn’t you do it when you were governor of South Carolina? South Carolina of course had one of the oldest U.S. Senators ever, which was Strom Thurmond who was about 100 years old when he died in office, so you know her own state didn’t have a good track record of that.”

Adkins says what is more realistic, but still unlikely, is Haley’s hope and promise of enforcing term limits.

“I will tell you that if there’s a convention of states, yes, I absolutely want term limits because we’re going to fight for that whether we have a convention of states or not, I think it’s time we do that,” Haley said Wednesday.

“I think it’s relatively unlikely that we will see term limits on the federal level because those would have to be voted into office by federal officeholders, and I simply don’t see somebody term-limiting themself out of office,” Adkins says.

As the campaign for President continues, it will become clearer how important these issues are to voters, especially as Haley hopes to appeal to younger voters.