Trump, despite legal battles, leads GOP field

Trump seen as early 2024 GOP favorite. 
(Courtesy / Wikimedia Commons)

Trump seen as early 2024 GOP favorite. (Courtesy / Wikimedia Commons)

Michael Hanna, Crier Staff

The 2024 Presidential Primaries kick-off in less than a year. Candidates like Donald Trump, Nikki Haley, and Vivek Ramaswamy have announced campaigns for the Republicans. The first Democrat to announce a campaign for president is 2020 candidate Marianne Williamson, with President Joe Biden expected to announce another bid for the White House at any moment.

There have been some speculative candidates for both parties, including Florida Governor and presumptive favorite Ron DeSantis (R). Former Maryland Governor Larry Hogan (R) has declined to seek the nomination in 2024. Other speculative Republican Candidates include Governor Chris Sununu of New Hampshire and Former Vice President Mike Pence of Indiana.

Robert Kennedy Jr. recently appeared at Saint Anselm College, announcing that his wife has green-lit his presidential ambition but has not formally announced a bid for the White House. All eyes are on current President Joe Biden, who has not announced his campaign for re-election. The assumption is that he will run; however, if he steps away, look for Vice President Kamala Harris to announce her campaign for the oval office.

A March 27th poll from Quinnipiac University has Donald Trump leading the charge with DeSantis close behind. Other candidates include Mike Pence, Nikki Haley, Ted Cruz of Texas, Chris Sununu, and Ramaswamy. However, these candidates are all polling at 5% or lower. As of now, it seems like a two man race between Trump and DeSantis.

Donald Trump is a former United States President who served from 2017-2021. Twice impeached by the United States House of Representatives, Trump has climbed back into the limelight despite many political and legal challenges since the end of his term.

Ron DeSantis is the recently re-elected Governor of Florida. He also served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 2013-2018. A graduate of Harvard and Yale, DeSantis rose to the rank of Lieutenant Commander in the United States Navy from 2004-2019. A staunch conservative, DeSantis has taken on many issues during his time as Governor, including a spending cut in the Florida budget resulting in a state budget surplus while also managing a population increase in his state.

President Biden has been a legislatively successful president throughout his first term. He has managed to pass many of his campaign’s promised pieces of legislation through a narrow majority in the Senate. Biden also survived a red wave in the midterm and only gave up the House while keeping that slim Senate majority. Biden is already the oldest President in U.S. history and, if re-elected, would be 86 by the end of his second term in office.

If Biden declines to seek re-election, expect Vice President Harris to announce her candidacy. The former California Senator has had a somewhat limited role as VP, but that is still a strong title in itself. However, Harris’s approval rating is 38%, while her disapproval rating is 50%. Her highest approval rating was 55% in April of 2021, and she hasn’t seen above 50% since August of that same year.

However, Biden’s lack of commitment to seeking a second term has pigeonholed many prominent Democrats who may seek the nomination, but do not want to run against the sitting President. Some potential candidates include Senator Elizabeth Warren, Governor of California Gavin Newsome, Governor of Michigan Gretchen Whitmer, Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, and Senator Amy Klobuchar. All these potential candidates have allied with Joe Biden and would be unlikely to challenge him in a primary. 

However, Biden will be 82 years old at the beginning of his second term, leading many to question whether or not he will be fit to serve the presidency into his mid 80’s. Governor Newsome is seen as one of the favorites should Biden not seek reelection. He is 55 years old, which is young in politics, and survived a furious recall election in 2021. He has been seen as an up and comer in the Democratic party and is popular amongst his constituents in California, the same state Vice President Harris is from. Should the Democratic nomination be open, Harris and Newsome would fight for support from their home state and Democratic security blanket.  

With the primary season right around the corner, look out for future candidates to start making appearances at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics. The NHIOP student ambassador program allows students to meet and interact with a wide range of political candidates and gives students hands-on experience in the world of politics, which is especially important during election season.