(Bloomberg) -- Nikki Haley is staring down the possibility of a humiliating defeat in the state where she served as governor for two terms if Donald Trump, as expected, pulls out his fifth straight victory of the Republican presidential primary.

Haley, who trails Trump by double digits in polls, has vowed to stay in the race at least through Super Tuesday on March 5 — regardless of the outcome of Saturday’s vote in South Carolina. 

Here’s what to watch:

Haley’s Last Stand?

Despite two terms as a popular governor, Haley hasn’t been able to close the polling gap with Trump in the Palmetto State. 

Trump’s decisive victories in the first four primary contests have lent his quest for the nomination an air of inevitability. As his last major remaining rival, Haley has sharpened her attacks on the former president, criticizing the 77-year old former president’s age as well as his threats to NATO member countries that fall short of their defense-spending commitments.

While her longer-term strategy may be to try to stick around in case Trump — who has been indicted four times — implodes, real questions about the viability of her candidacy will only intensify if she notches a big loss Saturday. 

Read more: Haley Risks Humiliation at Home Despite a Flood of Spending 

General Election Pivot 

Look for Trump to use a win in South Carolina to supercharge his pivot into general election mode. 

South Carolina has historically been a reliable indicator of who will end up at the top of the ticket. Newt Gingrich, who won the state in 2012, is the only GOP candidate in more than four decades who didn’t go on to secure the party’s nomination. 

Trump has already started to focus in on President Joe Biden as his main rhetorical target, and a poor showing for Haley in South Carolina could cause her donor support to dry up, effectively setting up a 2020 general election rematch.  

As the first state with a significant Black population to hold a primary, South Carolina also could provide clues as to how effective Trump’s bid to peel off support from a key group of 2020 Biden backers has been. 

In a move that could be detrimental to that effort, Trump played on racist tropes Friday at a gala for Black conservatives, claiming that his criminal indictments had bolstered his support among Black Americans. Haley on Saturday called the remarks “disgusting.”

International Hand Wringing

Speculation by world leaders and global markets about the implications of a second Trump administration will ratchet up if the former president continues his march to the nomination with another decisive win in South Carolina. 

Trump has made his populist and more isolationist stance toward foreign and economic policy a key part of his platform, and his comments about NATO allies sparked alarm in world capitals. 

Haley, by contrast, has espoused more traditional Republican policies, including a muscular US foreign policy role. She called Trump’s support for across-the-board tariffs on imports — as well as a 60% levy on Chinese goods — “ludicrous” in an interview with Bloomberg Television’s s Surveillance earlier this month. 

Read more: Haley Hits Trump Over NATO, Tariffs in Bid to Close 2024 Gap

RNC Revamp  

After a likely victory in South Carolina, Trump has his sights set on overhauling the Republican National Committee leadership.

He’s looking to replace Chair Ronna McDaniel who Trump allies say hasn’t fundraised well — with two hand-picked successors: Michael Whatley, a vocal election denier, and his own daughter-in-law, Lara Trump.

Lara Trump campaigned for her father-in-law in South Carolina, pledging to direct every cent the RNC raises to Trump’s White House comeback bid and to winning majorities in Congress. 

She also hinted that some of the RNC’s money could go to paying Trump’s lawyers, saying Republican donors are interested in funding his mounting legal defense bills. Trump’s political action committees are on track to run out of funds to cover his legal costs this summer, meaning he will likely need to tap RNC funds to cover those expenses.

Read more: Lara Trump Says All RNC Money Should Go to Trump, Congress

What’s Next?

While a smattering of other states vote before then, attention will quickly turn after Saturday to Super Tuesday on March 5. 

Roughly 36% of all delegates are up for grabs during the 15-state voting bonanza, but party rules designed to help the frontrunner quickly rack up delegates will make it harder for Haley to gain ground on Trump, even if she does somehow pull off an upset in South Carolina. 

Read more: Delegate Math Favors Trump as Haley’s Longshot Bid Gets Harder 

If she loses, Haley —  who has managed to pull in a large number of deep-pocketed donors —  will have to convince her benefactors that her campaign is still viable.

Haley has an aggressive travel schedule over the next 10 days with planned stops in Michigan, Minnesota, Colorado, Virginia and more.

Trump, meanwhile, will be increasingly contending with his mounting legal morass, including the scheduled March 25 start of his first criminal trial, over alleged hush-money payments to an adult film actress to influence the 2016 election. Recent civil verdicts are already draining his resources. 

--With assistance from Gregory Korte.

(Updates to add details on Trump race remarks in 11th paragraph. An earlier version corrected the length of Haley’s tenure as governor.)

©2024 Bloomberg L.P.