OP-ED: The 2024 Presidential Race Intensifies

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EDITOR’S NOTE: Op-Eds detail the views of their writers and are not representative of the stance of the paper. Publication of Op-Eds is not tantamount to an endorsement of their content. 

The next Presidential election is almost a year away. Multiple candidacies have been formally announced, while potential runners have made headlines.

On Nov. 15 of last year, in Mar-a-Lago, Palm Beach, Florida, former President Donald Trump announced his 2024 presidential candidacy. In his speech, Trump alluded to major events from during his presidency, including the coronavirus outbreak and the Black Lives Matter movements that swept the country, illuminating Trump’s continued desire to protect the U.S. from outside threats and to contain social upheavals that are in opposition to his leadership.

To a vivacious crowd of Republicans, Trump proclaimed, “Our country is being destroyed before our very eyes. It’s a job for every aspiring young person and every hard-working parent; for every entrepreneur and an underappreciated police officer who is ready to shout for safety in America.”

Trump’s campaign is clunky at best. He failed to acknowledge how the candidates he endorsed in the 2022 midterm elections lost. Moreover, the criminal charges that were brought against him in April in a hush-money case may affect the Presidential elections next year. No one can predict precisely how this will affect things, since this is the first time in history that a president has been charged with criminal activity. Trump was found liable for battery and defamation in the E. Jean Carroll trial last week.

Despite his setbacks, Trump’s following remains as loyal as ever. The former president is leading in the 2024 GOP polls, beating out Nikki Haley and potential opponent Ron DeSantis.

Trump’s on-again, off-again political chum, Nikki Haley, the former governor of South Carolina and United Nations ambassador, declared her presidential candidacy on Feb. 14. In her announcement video, Haley, a proud daughter of Sikh immigrants from Punjab, India, expressed her sentiments on America ‘the freest and greatest country in the world’ and stressed the need for fiscal responsibility and securing our borders.

“The socialist left sees an opportunity to rewrite history,” Haley said. “China and Russia are on the march. They all think we can be bullied, kicked around. You should know this about me: I don’t put up with bullies.” She added, “And when you kick back, it hurts them more if you’re wearing heels.”

Ron DeSantis, governor of Florida, is expected to declare his presidential candidacy soon as of writing this article. With good press and high approval ratings following last year’s midterm elections, DeSantis has become hugely popular among conservative Republicans thanks to his high-profile legislation and his clapping back to cancel culture and ‘woke’ politics in public speeches. 

Additionally, former Vice President Mike Pence is rumored to be running for the 2024 presidency. During an interview with NBC News earlier this year, when asked about Trump’s 2024 run, Pence said that he’s ‘confident we’ll have better choices.’ He claimed that his 2024 decision would arrive by spring, keeping voters on the edge of their seats. He may be planning to improve upon policies that were in place during the Trump-Pence administration.

The first Democratic candidate to note is Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who announced his candidacy on April 19. He is known more for his name and anti-vaccine activism than for his policies. Nevertheless, RFK Jr. managed to win 14% of 2020 Biden voters, posing a challenge to the incumbent president.

On April 25, President Joe Biden announced his own reelection bid. Voters have expressed uncertainty about reelecting an 80-year-old man with cognitive decline and unfulfilled progressive policy goals.

The reasons for the President’s worsening reputation (besides his stair trip-ups) include his poor handling of the border and climate crises, out-of-control government spending, inflation, and weak foreign policy moves — including the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan, which led to the rise of the Taliban. 

Furthermore, Biden’s risky business and potential for hurting national security have further soured his image in the public eye; some 25 to 30 classified government documents were found in Biden’s office in the White House, which issued a D.O.J. probe, and Biden has failed to acknowledge his congressional subpoena.

While Biden has lost many frontiers, he has won others. Two and a half years into his presidency, Biden has expanded transatlantic alliances, and the economy has added more than 12 million jobs in America. Biden’s goals of transforming U.S. foreign policy and growing the economy may be realized if he serves another term.

As in any representative democracy, citizens will vote to decide who will be the next President. Citizens’ voting, while not mandated by law, is of utmost importance as it is a definitive step towards safeguarding and upholding democracy and Americans’ values — divided as they are among the parties.

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