The 2024 Presidential Election

From Ron DeSantis to Gretchen Whitmer, there’s new potential candidates being presented by both parties as the 2024 primaries draw closer.

America is only a couple months past the 2022 midterms, yet it feels like the 2024 election is already on our doorstep.  To be fair, it does make sense for both Democrats and Republicans to be talking about the next presidential election earlier than usual: the current incumbent, Biden, was already the oldest president ever inaugurated at the start of his first term, and he’ll be leaving office at 86 if he gets a second one. Meanwhile, on the right, Trump has already announced his bid for 2024 (along with a set of exclusive Trump NFT trading cards!)

Both Biden and Trump’s vice presidents have had their names floating around, but Kamala Harris’ approval rating has been consistently low for the last year and a half, and Trump’s most loyal supporters were chanting “Hang Mike Pence” while storming the Capitol, it’s safe to say both parties will try to branch out. On the Republican side, one name in particular has gotten a lot of attention.

In a midterm election where Republicans historically underperformed, Governor Ron DeSantis won re-election in Florida by a 20 point margin — an election he’d won by less than a point just four years earlier, in a state that has been a crucial battleground for decades.

DeSantis has done a lot to take the national spotlight, painting Florida as “where woke goes to die” by targeting classroom instruction through his “Don’t Say Gay” bill last year, and knocking down COVID-19 restrictions at the height of the pandemic. Last September, he took things a step further by flying 50 Venezuelan migrants to Martha’s Vineyard without their knowledge — a move that potentially equated to human trafficking.

All this has helped DeSantis gain support from national Republicans. Still, it doesn’t necessarily mean he’s going to do well in a presidential election — he has his fair share of personality issues, and the culture war stunts he’s pulled over the last year gave him recognition at the expense of his reputation.

But if DeSantis is ever going to have his moment, it’s now. Though it might be too early to speculate, recent polls have shown him overtaking Trump (and he’s got an endorsement from Elon Musk!) And if not DeSantis, then who? Nobody else besides him and Trump has managed to poll in the double digits.  

On the Democrats’ side, there’s just as many questions to be had. While it’s pretty out of the ordinary for an incumbent to not get nominated for a second term, most Americans don’t want Biden to run again. And there’s plenty of Democrats who could potentially take his place.

Among these candidates, Harris seems to be the top choice right now. But given her lack of popularity, a lot of Democrats have been looking at other options. One of those is Pete Buttigieg, the unusually popular Secretary of Transportation who is half of Biden’s age. Buttigieg won the Iowa caucus when he first ran for president three years ago, so he’d be starting off on relatively strong footing.

But not every potential candidate would be returning for round two. Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer seems promising: she’s thirty years younger than Biden, she won re-election in a major battleground state by almost ten points all while facing opposition so fierce they were willing to kidnap her in 2020 (all parties involved have since been convicted). Plus, with her six years of experience as Governor, she’s garnered a solid resume without the controversy that haunts a lot of other national figures. So while she’s yet to enjoy the same media attention that the other potential candidates have, if she’s able to break into the national spotlight, she’ll be a fierce opponent to Biden.

For now, nothing is certain about the next election. Besides Trump, nobody has made their run official. Biden could run for the Democratic nomination unopposed, or not run at all. And while there seems to be a lot of excitement around DeSantis right now on the Republican side, that could easily fizzle out as the primaries draw closer. One thing is certain: this election cycle is going to be an interesting one.

For now, nothing is certain about the next election.