The 2024 elections are shaping up to be one of the most consequential and contentious in American history. Not only will voters choose the next president and vice president of the United States, but they will also determine the balance of power in Congress and in many state and local governments. Here are some of the key facts and issues that you need to know about the upcoming elections.
- The presidential race: President Joe Biden, who took office in January 2021 after defeating former President Donald Trump in a close and controversial election, has indicated that he plans to run for a second term, with Vice President Kamala Harris as his running mate. Biden, who will be 81 years old by Election Day, faces several challenges, including managing the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, reviving the economy, addressing climate change, and dealing with foreign policy crises. Biden also has to contend with a divided Democratic Party, where some progressives are dissatisfied with his moderate policies and may challenge him in the primaries.
- On the Republican side, Trump, who was impeached twice by the House of Representatives but acquitted by the Senate, has announced his candidacy for president in November 2022, despite being indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of inciting the January 6, 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Trump remains popular among his loyal base of supporters, but faces opposition from some establishment Republicans who blame him for losing the White House and the Senate in 2020. Trump also has to overcome legal hurdles, as his trial could interfere with his campaign activities. Other potential Republican candidates include former Vice President Mike Pence, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, Texas Senator Ted Cruz, and Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson.
- The congressional races: All 435 seats in the House of Representatives and 34 of the 100 seats in the Senate will be up for grabs in 2024. The Democrats currently hold slim majorities in both chambers, but face several challenges to maintain or expand their control. One of them is redistricting, which is the process of drawing new congressional districts based on population changes from the 2020 census. Redistricting can affect the partisan composition of each state’s congressional delegation, as well as create new opportunities or challenges for incumbents and challengers. Another challenge is voter turnout, which tends to be lower in midterm elections than in presidential elections, especially among younger and minority voters who tend to favor Democrats.
- Some of the most competitive Senate races are expected to take place in Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, where incumbent Democrats are either retiring or facing strong Republican challengers. On the other hand, some of the most vulnerable Republican senators are Marco Rubio of Florida, Chuck Grassley of Iowa, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and Rand Paul of Kentucky.
- The gubernatorial races: Thirteen states and territories will hold gubernatorial elections in 2024. Governors play an important role in shaping state policies and budgets, as well as responding to emergencies and crises. Governors also have influence over national politics, as they can appoint senators to fill vacancies, veto or sign legislation passed by state legislatures, and endorse or oppose presidential candidates.
- Some of the most competitive gubernatorial races are expected to take place in California, Colorado, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon, and Wisconsin. These states have either term-limited or retiring governors from one party or incumbents facing strong challengers from another party.
The bottom line: The 2024 elections will have a significant impact on the direction and future of the country. They will also reflect the mood and preferences of the American people after four years of Biden’s presidency and eight years of Trump’s presidency. Whether you are a Democrat or a Republican or an independent or a third-party supporter or a non-voter or a first-time voter or a seasoned voter or a young voter or an old voter or a white voter or a black voter or a Hispanic voter or an Asian voter or a Native American voter or an immigrant voter or a native-born voter or a male voter or a female voter or a LGBTQ+ voter or a straight voter or a rich voter or a poor voter or a urban voter or a rural voter or a religious voter or a secular voter or a liberal voter or a conservative voter or a moderate voter or a radical voter or any other kind of voter you can think of… please tell me something: Are you ready for 2024?