Running for office

May 14, 2023

The United States presidential race for 2024 is beginning to heat up

Running for office


he United States presidential race for 2024 is beginning to heat up with President Joe Biden announcing his candidacy for re-election and former president Donald Trump declaring his intention to run. The two main political parties will launch a process next year to formally choose a 2024 nominee to vie for the White House. On the Democratic side, only two long-shot candidates have entered the race to challenge Biden. A number of Republicans have thrown their hats into the ring to compete with Trump for the GOP nomination, with more expected.

Biden, who defeated Trump in 2020, appealed to American voters on April 25 to help him defend democracy and “finish the job” he began in his first term. He has enjoyed a fairly productive presidency so far, passing several of his legislative priorities such as heightened spending to combat climate change and bolster US infrastructure through Congress early in his first term. However, concerns over his age have hampered his candidacy. He would be 82 years old at the beginning of his second term if he wins the 2024 election.

Biden faces competition for the nomination from within his own party in the Democratic primary. Former self-help author Marianne Williamson has announced her candidacy, campaigning on themes of economic and racial justice, calling for the preservation of social security, more robust support for labour unions and slavery reparations for Black Americans.

Robert F Kennedy Jr, the anti-vaccine activist and a nephew of former US president John F Kennedy, has also formally launched his candidacy. A member of one of the most famous families in US politics, Kennedy has become a prominent voice in the anti-vaccine movement. He has garnered the support of about 14 percent of Democratic primary voters.

Donald Trump, who has already served a term as US president after defeating Hillary Clinton in 2016, formally launched his campaign in November. Following his loss to Biden in 2020, Trump had attempted to overturn the election results by claiming that the vote had been “rigged” against him. Critics say his false election fraud campaign spurred a mob of supporters to storm the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, in an effort to prevent Congress from certifying Biden’s election victory. Trump was later impeached by the US House of Representatives for “inciting” the January 6 Capitol riot.

Trump, a businessman and television personality, continues to face a long list of legal issues and investigations. In early April, he became the first former president to face criminal charges. However, he holds a lead over his rivals for the Republican nomination and still commands widespread influence over the voters. He has struck a populist tone on topics such as free trade and foreign policy, where he has pursued an “America First” strategy, and has leaned into far-right rhetoric targeting immigrants and Muslims.

On the Democratic side, only two long-shot candidates have entered the race. A number of Republicans have thrown their hats into the ring against Trump for the GOP nomination.

During his time as president, however, Trump mostly governed as a traditional Republican. His signature legislative achievement was a set of tax breaks that largely benefitted the wealthy. Recently, he has also made news by announcing that he would pardon several people convicted for the Capitol riot on January 6, if elected to the White House in 2024.

Ron DeSantis, the current governor of Florida, is seen as a credible challenger for the Republican nomination. DeSantis has been a vocal supporter of Trump and his policies, particularly on immigration and foreign policy. He has also been praised by Republicans for his handling of the Covid-19 pandemic in Florida, which has been more lax than other states.

DeSantis has made headlines for signing controversial bills, such as one that restricts voting access in the state and another that bans transgender athletes from competing in women’s sports. He has also been criticised for his response to the collapse of the Champlain Towers South condominium building in Surfside, Florida, which killed at least 98 people.

Despite the criticism, DeSantis has a strong support base among Republicans and is considered a rising star in the party. A poll conducted in March by Echelon Insights found that DeSantis was the second choice of Republican voters, behind only Trump.

Nikki Haley, the former governor of South Carolina and former US ambassador to the United Nations, is also considered a potential challenger to Trump for the Republican nomination. Haley is seen as a more moderate voice in the party and has been critical of Trump in the past.

During her tenure as ambassador to the UN, Haley took a hard-line stance on issues like North Korea and Iran. She has also been an advocate for human rights and has called for greater diversity in the Republican Party.

Haley has faced criticism from some Republicans for her decision to remove the Confederate flag from the South Carolina statehouse grounds in 2015, following a mass shooting at a historically Black church in Charleston. She has also faced scrutiny over her handling of sexual harassment allegations while serving as governor. However, Haley remains a popular figure in the Republican Party and is seen as a potential standard-bearer for the party’s moderate wing. A poll conducted in March by Echelon Insights found that Haley was the third choice of Republican voters, behind Trump and DeSantis.

Each candidate has their own unique platform and vision for the future of the United States, and it remains to be seen who will ultimately win their party’s nomination and go on to challenge for the presidency.

The writer is a journalist based in Karachi

Running for office