Constanza Del Posso is second year BSc English student, with an year of experience in The Diplomacy Review Policy column, with a passion for journalistic writing, coupled with an aspiration of building a career in diplomacy.
With no Democratic presidential debates to count on in 2023, the party’s potential runner-ups display an honour code of sorts – taking one for the team to ensure Biden’s victory in the primaries against the red elephants. With serious democratic candidates deliberately staying out of the race to ensure the party’s success, who do voters have to be aware of on the other side? From the first Republican primary debate this summer to the 2024 Milwaukee Convention, the road to face down the DNC is a long one – and there are new faces cropping up that just might tip the former president’s crown. Here is the rundown of the most talked-about candidates for the Republican primaries in 2024.
Leading the way as a clear favourite amongst Republican voters is, of course, indicted former president Donald J Trump. Trump’s campaign is sure to leave his fellow candidates in the dust in terms of funding, infrastructure, and popularity. After a tumultuous time in office from 2016 to 2020, Trump’s refusal to accept his loss of the 2020 elections led not only to legal peril, but lack of faith and seriousness from GOP voters. Nevertheless, his grievance, to some, furthered his appeal as a candidate, keeping him as the likeliest opposer to Biden, in spite of his criminal indictments and turbulent time in presidency. As for his stances on popular human rights and environmental issues, Trump declares himself “the most pro-life president in American history,” playing an influential role in anti-abortion popular opinion and, ultimately, legislation in the US. In a similar vein, Trump told his supporters he wants to reinstate the military ban on transgender individuals – an act Biden reversed in January of 2021, at the beginning of his presidency. Furthermore, Trump withdrew the U.S. from the Paris Climate Agreement, dominating the news cycle as he propagated his disbelief in the effects of climate change to his supporters.
Running a credible campaign and gaining favouritism from Republican voters who are suffering from “Trump fatigue,” is former New Jersey governor Chris Christie. An ex-avid Trump supporter, Christie has now become one of the loudest GOP critics opposing Trump. Although Trump supporters are loyal, Christie’s strategy seems to be to turn the voters against the former president – and for some, it’s already working. Christie’s big downfall amongst potential voters, is simply his lack of popularity. Having dropped out of the 2012 race, Christie lost his traction and has yet to gain most of it back.
Lacking Christie’s volume in strategy, but shooting forward in news dominance, is Florida governor Ron DeSantis. Having successfully turned the country’s most ambivalent swing state a deep, deep red since his 2018 appointment to local office, DeSantis’ opinions and political acts are consistently being shared by young voters of either party for their controversial and extreme effects, despite his campaign efforts seeming to be to function as a less-contentious Trump. Infamous for having passed Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill, DeSantis’ negatively perceived lack of charisma and his unpopular political opinions can put him on a losing path in 2024. Furthermore, the more popular candidates in the GOP, particularly Trump, are already working to undercut DeSantis’ campaign and reputation. As stated by Politico, “Trump has attacked [DeSantis] from the left on abortion and entitlements, a strategy meant to undermine DeSantis’ electability arguments.”
With foreign policy experience, executive reliability, and the historic advantage of being an incredibly accomplished woman in Republican politics, candidate Nikki Haley has turned heads as a likely contender to oppose the DNC. Considered a breath of fresh air amongst voters who have grown tired of her fellow candidates’ trivial fights, Haley’s twice-governor and cabinet member positions give her just enough credibility to rise the ranks to the top 2024 GOP candidates. However, this credibility wavers when looking at her political views, which seem to shift slightly too often for potential voters. After the January 6th riots, her public opinion on Trump changed, and her stances of issues such as climate change and gun reform are, at best, an attempt to straddle the fence to be universally appealing – a strategy that, for a woman in the political party, might lead to voter disregard.
With a charismatic disposition and strong opinions, 38-year-old former pharmaceutical CEO Vivek Ramaswamy hard-gained media popularity is what might shoot him to the ranks of his elder GOP colleagues – at least, to credible contention in the primaries. His critique of “wokeness” might earn him the favour of more extreme right-wing voters, but American youth’s hopes for a smart young candidate seem squandered by his stances: in the first primary debate, Ramaswamy’s closing statement was intensely opinionated: “...God is real. There are two genders. Fossil fuels are a requirement for human prosperity. Reverse racism is racism. An open border is not a border. Parents determine the education of their children. The nuclear family is the greatest form of governance known to man. Capitalism lifts us up from poverty. There are three branches of government, not four. And the U.S. Constitution, it is the strongest guarantor of freedom in human history. That is what won us the American revolution. That is what will win us the revolution of 2024.”