At least 10 prominent Republicans are officially seeking their party’s nomination in the 2024 presidential election. And with the campaign filing period nearly over, many of the leading candidates will gather in North Carolina later this week to begin a more aggressive selection phase.
There is still a long way to go before the Republican national convention in Milwaukee next summer, where Republican delegates from across the country will gather to nominate presidential rival Joe Biden. It is guaranteed that there will be surprises and changes of fortune. But right now, all Republican contenders are looking toward former President Donald Trump, the undisputed favorite in the crowded primary.
Here are some of the keys to the Republican campaign:
Trump announced his campaign nearly seven months ago in an attempt to intimidate potential rivals. it did not work.
For now, the former president competes with at least nine prominent people. They are former Vice President Mike Pence and four governors or former governors: Florida Governor Ron DeSantis; North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum; Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson. as well as Nikki Haley, former ambassador to the United Nations and former governor of South Carolina; United States Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina; Biotech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy and conservative talk show host Larry Elder, who lost the race for California governor.
Although long, the list for 2024 could have been much longer. There were 17 candidates in the 2016 primaries that required extensive debate in two groups.
Several Republicans who had paved the way for the run canceled their plans. This is the case of former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo; New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu; Former Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, Texas Senator Ted Cruz and Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton.
Other prominent members of the party are still considering running, such as former Energy Secretary Rick Perry; The Mayor of Miami, Francis Suarez, and the Governor of Virginia, Glenn Youngkin.
Make no mistake: The question is whether Trump loses.
The former president dominated early polls despite his extraordinary legal problems, his continuing lie about the 2020 election that fueled the Jan. 6 insurrection, and serious concerns among Republican leaders that he could win a general election. However, Trump has a strong hold on a large part of the Republican base, which is currently not enthusiastic about any alternative.
On paper, DeSantis is Trump’s strongest opponent, but the Florida governor has yet to chart a clear path to victory. He is trying to beat Trump at his own game with a tough stance on immigration, abortion and other divisive issues in the country, adopting the former president’s combative style and methods.
For their part, Trump’s team is buoyed by the large number of applicants, which creates a math problem that benefits Trump. Everything is reminiscent of 2016, when Trump won the New Hampshire primary with just 35% of the vote as other candidates shared the rest.
Trump’s Republican opponents warned against this same scenario last year, but for now they have been unable to avoid it.
The math aside, Trump’s Republican rivals have yet to find a coherent strategy to defeat him. Not that they haven’t started trying.
Pence told Iowa voters this week that Trump “asked me to choose between him and the Constitution,” a reference to Trump’s false assertion that Pence had the authority to overturn the 2020 election result. Trump’s words were “reckless” and the former president said he put his family at risk.
DeSantis, like others, has launched several indirect criticisms of Trump, notably the former president’s inability to serve more than one term and the party’s “culture of loss” during his leadership since 2016. By focusing DeSantis’ team also believes he has a chance to outdo Trump on conservative priorities like immigration and abortion.
Ron DeSantis, Republican presidential candidate, Florida Governor (AP)
Asked this week in Arizona, DeSantis downplayed Trump’s massive lead in the polls. “You don’t vote for a year, and that’s how elections are,” he said.
Christie may have been Trump’s most vocal critic in the campaign trail, even though she hasn’t held public office in more than five years.
“I’m going there to defeat Donald Trump,” the former New Jersey governor told voters in New Hampshire this week. “I’ll tell you why: I want to win, and I don’t want him to win (…) There’s one lane for the Republican candidacy and that’s ahead.”
They can expect to see anti-Trump strategies develop this weekend in North Carolina.
The 2024 slate matches those of 2016 as the most racially diverse in the party’s long history.
At least four candidates of color are seeking the nomination this year: Scott and Elder are black, while Haley and Ramaswamy are of Indian descent. For Haley and Scott in particular, race plays an important role in their messaging to voters, though all four deny the existence of systemic racism and generally support policies designed to help people based on the color of their skin. oppose federal policies.
Republican leaders hope that diversity will help the party continue its modest gains among black and Latino voters. Both groups remain overwhelmingly supportive of the Democrats, but even small cracks in the Democratic coalition could be significant in 2024.
There is only one woman among the applicants, but there is a huge difference in their ages. Trump is the oldest at 76, while Ramaswamy is the youngest at 37. DeSantis is 44, while Haley and Scott are in their fifties. The rest are in their sixties or seventies.
With few exceptions, Republicans have adopted hard-line conservative positions on issues such as abortion, immigration, gun violence, and LGBTQ rights.
All oppose abortion rights to a greater or lesser extent, although there are differences in the level of their opposition and in their discourse on the subject. Pence and Scott have openly supported a national ban on abortion, while Trump and DeSantis have refrained from taking a position on the federal ban for now. That said, DeSantis signed a Florida law this spring that bans abortion after the sixth week of pregnancy, one of the most restrictive policies in the country.
All the claimants also oppose introducing new limits on gun ownership, including a ban on assault weapons. Most blame the nation’s gun violence epidemic on mental health issues. DeSantis signed a new law this spring that allows Floridians to carry concealed weapons without a permit.
Optimists have also followed the party’s recent interest in the LGBTQ community.
In recent weeks, Haley has mocked transgender women in her campaign, calling them the wrong gender. Trump and DeSantis have denounced gender-affirmation surgery on minors as child abuse. And Scott was one of the sponsors of a Senate bill that would discredit elementary or middle schools that change pronouns to refer to a student without obtaining parental consent.
However, there seem to be some differences on Social Security and Medicare.
As a congressman, DeSantis voted in favor of a proposal that would have raised the age for access to Medicare and Social Security to 70. Since becoming governor of Florida, he seems to have distanced himself from that opinion. But Trump latched onto his rival’s earlier stance and vowed to preserve the popular show.
The primary landscape may already be set, but surprises are almost guaranteed in the coming months.
Trump’s legal troubles may increase. The former president already faces 34 counts of falsifying corporate documents in connection with the 2016 campaign to silence women and cover up allegations of his extramarital affairs. Federal prosecutors also have grand jury trials underway in Washington and Florida investigating possible mishandling of classified documents. And prosecutors in Georgia are probing whether Trump broke the law by trying to reverse his 2020 election loss.
Meanwhile, DeSantis is still making his debut in national politics. Rivals on both sides dig deep into his past for any hint of damaging information. His fellow Republicans openly question his social skills. And he doesn’t mind bumping into the press in informal moments of his campaign.
On the other hand, there is great uncertainty over the next discussions, which are expected to begin in late August. Trump, who took a wide lead in early polls, has expressed the possibility of not going. DeSantis lashed out at traditional media for the role they would play in staging television programs. And it’s unclear whether minority candidates will meet the relatively modest polling support and fundraising requirements to get a seat in the debate.