Although the US Presidential elections are still a year away, 2023 kicks off the pre-presidential election year where hopeful candidates will start setting the stage for their campaigns. Many politicians have already announced their interest in the position. President Joe Biden is said to be seeking re-election, and his approval ratings have picked up again. If elected, Biden will be 82 at the start of his second term. Although he’s a strong contender who can secure the Democratic party’s power in Washington, Democratic voters are on the lookout for an alternative candidate to represent their party. Biden has yet to file with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) and officially declare his intent to run for President.
Among the sea of candidates is Former US President Donald Trump who submitted his statement of candidacy with the FEC in November of 2022. He’s confirmed that Mike Pence, his former Vice President, will not be his running mate. His “National Greatness Agenda” contains many of his former promises and includes banning mail-in ballots, ending COVID-19 mandates, and eliminating critical race theory in education. Other possible Republican contenders are Corey Stapleton, Mike Pompeo, and Larry Hogan. Additionally, Howie Hawkins of the Green Party and Mike ter Maat of the Libertarian Party have also filed with the FEC. Although there aren’t many notable candidates from any party yet, there is still a lot of time left for candidates to pursue the Presidency. The list of the 100+ candidates filed with the FEC can be found at fec.gov/data/filings/?data_type=processed&office=P&cycle=2022&cycle=2024&form_type=F2.
The polarization of US politics in recent years leaves an opportunity for candidates to make opposing promises on topics that plague the nation. Candidates are expected to partake in conversations and propose policies surrounding gun violence, abortion, inflation and other economic failures, and voter fraud. Although the candidate’s stand on these issues will reflect their political party, it’s still an opportunity for voters to gauge genuineness, consider potential future legislation, and assess how deeply candidates care about the matter. We’ve seen over and over how politicians, regardless of their political party, fail to keep the promises they made during their campaign once in office.
Since the 2020 election, there have been a few minor changes to the presidential election. For example, data from the 2020 US Census has led to a redistribution of electoral votes. With the electoral college system, each state receives two votes for each of its US Senators and one vote for each member it has in the House of Representatives. Since the amount of House of Representative members each state gets is determined by state population, states that have seen a significant increase in population in the past decade have gained votes.
As a result of the 2020 US Census data, California, for the first time in its history, lost a seat in the House.
Recent projections for the 2024 presidential race show that, like the past few elections, it’ll be a close race. It makes sense considering the state of American politics, but it’s still an unpleasant reality. For some voters, seeing their political party represented in the White House outweighs their responsibility to elect the best candidate for the job. However, as we saw during the 2022 midterms, showing up to vote has an impact. Midterm elections usually result in the current president’s party losing congressional seats, but the 2022 midterms didn’t result in a dramatic loss for Democrats. The “red wave” that many Republican politicians voters envisioned never materialized, and Republicans failed to take majority control of the Senate.
Although voters have parties and policies they’re confident in supporting, an overwhelming number of them hope to see better and more promising candidates rise to challenge the current contenders. Many of the politicians we see today cling to an extremist view for the sole reason of standing out from the crowd of other candidates, and, as they do so, they build a following. Supporting a politician isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but voters often get swept away in catchphrases, emotions, personal slights, and unrealistic promises. Glorifying candidates set a dangerous precedent and blur the lines of the relationship between a politician and their constituents.
As we inch closer to the 2024 Presidential election, it’s important to make sure you’re ready to vote. Stay informed and check if you’re registered to vote. Citizens over the age of 18 living in California can register online at registertovote.ca.gov.