The Race to ’24: Trump and his detractors, how the Republican field is shaping up

Elections & Politics Policy Brief #79 | By: Abigail Hunt | May 26, 2023
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The 2024 Presidential election is pivotal – will we be able to continue the democratic policies of the past four years? Will a win for the Republicans mean the next administration spends time dismantling the work of the previous officeholder?

The way candidate choices are lining up ahead of the 2024 presidential election could be  Deja Vú as President Joe Biden and former President Donald J. Trump, 45th president of the United States plan to duke it out for the Presidency one more time.

Trump is in the running even though he was indicted in spring 2023 in New York on 34 counts of falsifying business records in the first degree, a class E felony. Per the New York Courts website, a Class E felony is punishable by a possible sentence of less than a year up to four years in prison. 

Trump also has recently been convicted of the sexual assault of E. Jean Carroll, and faces possible federal criminal charges for the mishandling of top secret government documents and for leading the January 6th insurrection of the US capitol. At the state level he faces potential criminal charges for attempting to falsify the outcome of the Presidential election in Georgia.

Despite all this, the irascible yet indomitable Trump persists in the political arena. Once again, Biden faces the prospect of a head-to-head with Trump. Trump’s campaign, titled Agenda 47, details how he will wage war on Biden’s policies, claiming he will advocate for veterans, improve the quality of life for all Americans, and protect American workers (though he offers few details on how he will achieve these goals.

In addition to Trump other Republicans are seeking to enter the race and Trump is no longer a shoo-in… In February, Nikki Haley, a Republican and former Governor of South Carolina, and Vivek Ramaswamy, a biotech and health care entrepreneur, announced their candidacies. Asa Hutchinson, former Arkansas governor and congressman, and conservative talk radio host Larry Elder joined the pack in April. The month of May brought South Carolina Governor Tim Scott and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis into the ring.  

On May 24, DeSantis announced his 2024 bid in an unconventional way – via a livestream event with Elon Musk, the platform’s owner and a strong DeSantis supporter. In 2022, DeSantis raised more than any other gubernatorial candidate in U.S. history, and most of it was funded through a state-level political action committee (PAC), Friends of Ron DeSantis. DeSantis officially parted ways with the PAC, but now the $173.2 million fund is in the hands of DeSantis’s supporter, friend, and colleague, Florida Republican State Senator Blaise Ingoglia, who sponsored several conservative pieces of legislation which DeSantis signed into law, including allowing a jury to sentence someone to death from a unanimous jury decision to a 2/3rds majority. 

Scott, a junior senator, espouses traditional Republican viewpoints – he stands with Israel, criticizes the federal government, supports the police. There is a subliminal sense of pulling oneself up from the bootstraps in Scott’s life story, the child of a single mother who struggled to make ends meet. With a bachelor’s in political science, Scott has very little real-world working experience, having previously worked as an insurance and real estate agent. 

It is too early to say which of the candidates will cement the nomination, though DeSantis’s fundraising capabilities and name recognition give him an early advantage. Regardless of who takes the nomination, the candidate pool indicates that the conservative Deep South was deeply unsatisfied with Trump as their President. Whoever becomes the Republican nominee will face off against an incumbent president – historically not a fight often won.


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