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What You Need To Know About The 2024 Presidential Election

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Conn chapter.

For those who are unaware, it’s coming time to decide who’s going to be our president for the next four years. A lot of stuff has been happening from messy Republican debates, to federal charges being held against former presidents, to problematic candidates. I’m going to explain it all for you, leading you to make an informed vote next year.

Democratic candidates

I figured we should start with the democratic candidates since they’re a bit less chaotic, and I think we might not know much about them since they haven’t been in many media cycles, in comparison to their Republican counterparts. According to the New York Times, only three Democratic candidates are running for president, current U.S President Joe Biden, Marianne Williamson, who is running for a second time and was once Oprah’s spiritual advisor, and Robert F. Kennedy Jr., son of Robert F. Kennedy and — that’s right — nephew to assassinated U.S president John F. Kennedy. 

President Joe Biden is a candidate we should all be familiar with, seeing as he is our current president, but for those who don’t know, Biden served as Vice President under former President Barack Obama for eight years and was a senator for the state of Delaware from 1973 to 2009. He won the historic 2020 election against controversial or rather disgraced President Donald Trump. 2024 is set as another close race between Biden and Trump with Biden beating Trump in polls by a margin of 2%. Biden is facing a bit of controversy seeing as people are disapproving of his handling of the economy and his overall performance as president. They’re also skeptical about his capability to serve as president due to his age. For reference, Ronald Regan was the oldest president to be sworn into office before Biden, at age 69, and it’s well rumored that by the end of his presidency, he had Alzheimer’s and was no longer running the country.

The next candidate is Marianne Williamson, whom I hadn’t heard of previously. Williamson is a self-help author who’s published 15 books and has sold over 3 million copies. She’s been a spiritual advisor to clients like Oprah, whose talk shows and other platforms she’s made many appearances on, and former president Bill Clinton and his wife Hilary Clinton, who ran for president in 2008 and 2020. Williamson also had a stint at running for president in 2020 but very quickly suspended her campaign in January 2020. Marianne Williamson is yet another candidate marked by controversy due to her profession, which has been ridiculed repeatedly. “How can you reconcile all that with the memes in which she appeared with her eyes shooting out lasers and stories about groups of occultists praying for her to get more speaking time in the second debate?” She’s also had no previous political experience, which is a critique she faced in her previous campaign. In my personal opinion, it seems as though she doesn’t have the capabilities to be president, and other Americans agree. According to Premise, She’s only polling at 1%, while Biden is favored to win the Democratic primary at 61%.

The third and final candidate, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is a figure that I believe we can all say is conversational and quite morally skewed. RFK Jr. is a member of the famed Kennedy political dynasty and is the son of 1968 presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy, who was assassinated after the California Democratic presidential primary, which he had won, at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles. RFK Jr. is yet another candidate who lacks political experience, though he claims he has been a part of every election that’s taken place in the past sixty years. Referencing his uncle’s presidency, his father’s run for president, and even his uncle Ted Kennedy’s bid for president in 1980. RFK Jr. is trying to use his family’s notoriety as a way to win the presidency. “I’m something old. I’m a Kennedy Democrat.” RFK Jr. seems to lack the traditional Kennedy democratic beliefs, as he continuously promotes beliefs like autism is caused by vaccines and that medications like Prozac lead to school shootings. He’s been repeatedly denounced by his family members. Jack Schlossberg, who is JFK’s grandson, recently posted a TikTok where he denounced his cousin and shared that his campaign is “an embarrassment” and that his beliefs don’t coincide with his family’s or his grandfather’s. His siblings have condemned his beliefs and shared, “his remarks in no way reflect the words and actions of our father, Robert F. Kennedy.” RFK Jr. is currently toying with the idea of running as an independent instead and has the potential of stealing votes from Trump if he does, which would be a benefit to President Biden. 

The Democratic National Convention has yet to plan any primary debates, so it seems as though we may not see the democratic candidates argue as we have seen their Republican counterparts do.

Republican candidates

Now, let’s discuss the Republican candidates for the upcoming election. I’m only going into detail about four of them, seeing as they have 17 candidates running for president. That’s right, the Republican party has 17 candidates running for president. Meanwhile, the Democratic Party only has three, soon to be two, with Kennedy’s impending switch to become an independent. We’re going to go through all of them, ranging from former disgraced presidents, past governors, and tech executives. 

First up is the projected Republican presidential candidate, former President Donald Trump. Trump, as we all know, was the winner of the 2016 election against Hilary Clinton and was president until he lost to Joe Biden in 2020. He refused to accept defeat and adamantly claimed that the election was stolen. He ignited the Jan. 6 insurrection where protestors stormed the capital stating, “they were taking their country back.” Trump was recently indicted for his actions in the Jan. 6 attack. He’s currently facing four criminal charges. Which are, “a conspiracy to violate civil rights, a conspiracy to defraud the government, the corrupt obstruction of an official proceeding, and a conspiracy to carry out such obstruction.” Trump is currently on trial in New York for fraud, and he’s facing charges in Georgia for his attempts to change Georgia’s 2020 election results. Through it all, his followers remain loyal and are expected to lead him to victory in the Republican primaries. 

Ron DeSantis is the current governor of Florida and is known for making Florida one of the most conservative states in the country. During the COVID-19 pandemic, he opened schools early and didn’t adhere to any vaccine, lockdown, or mask mandates and requirements. He’s also recently changed the standards for teaching African-American history. These standards he’s passed stop schools from teaching that people are discriminated against or oppressed because of their skin color and/or race. The curriculum also promotes the notion that slaves benefited from slavery. DeSantis also famously passed the notorious “Don’t Say Gay” bill, which bars teachers from discussing gender or sexuality, in any manner to all students in public schools, meaning even high schoolers can’t learn about the topic. DeSantis’ laws all come from his crusade against wokeness, claiming these topics aren’t topics kids should be learning about. DeSantis is projected to be runner-up, after the former president in the primary, but he currently trailing far behind with other candidates like Nikki Haley and Vivek Ramaswamy close behind. 

Nikki Haley is the former governor of South Carolina, where she was the first woman to do so, and under Trump, she served as the “U.S ambassador to the United Nations.” While she was governor, she led her state through tragedies like the Charleston shooting, when a white supremacist entered a Black church and murdered nine Black individuals. Soon after, she had the confederate flag removed from South Carolina’s state capital. She used this tragedy to condemn Donald Trump in the 2016 election and claimed that we didn’t need someone like him as our president. But she soon accepted a post in his administration. It comes off as though Haley changes her stance and does certain things to appeal to voters, not reflecting her true beliefs. In recent debates, she seems to become less pro-life, which is a stance she was previously adamant about. She also tends to tokenize herself as a woman of color, bringing up the fact that she’s a WOC and the child of immigrants. Meanwhile, she’s stated before, “that she does not believe there are “glass ceilings” limiting women” and, “identity politics are a form of divisiveness and “woke self-loathing.” Nikki Haley is quickly climbing up the polls, and it’s actually projected she or Vivek Ramaswamy may beat Ron DeSantis and become the runner-up in the New Hampshire primary. 

Vivek Ramaswamy is yet another candidate we’ve seen that lacks political experience. Apparently, he didn’t vote for 16 years, from 2004 to 2020, and only broke his streak to vote for Trump. In light of his voting slump in his twenties, Ramaswamy has proposed that as president he wishes to change the voting age from 18 to 25, and only wants to have exceptions for members of the military and emergency responders who are 18 and older. Or, he wants people to take a citizenship test that those who are naturalized would take. This would call for a change in the Constitution, seeing as the 26th Amendment changed the voting age to 18. It was previously 21, but after WWII, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War, since the draft age was 18, and it felt ridiculous that men could go to war at 18 but couldn’t vote. Ramaswamy also wishes to get rid of birthright citizenship, which he is a direct benefactor of, seeing as his parents weren’t citizens when he was born. Both proposed laws by Ramaswamy seem to be a direct threat to our civil rights, as literacy tests to vote were banned by President Lyndon Johnson when he passed the Voting Rights Act, and birthright citizenship was guaranteed when the 14th Amendment was enacted in 1868. Ramaswamy is currently polling behind Haley, and it’s proposed that he, Haley, and DeSantis will battle it out for second place in New Hampshire. 

Two Republican debates have taken place on Aug. 23 and Sept. 27, the next will happen on Nov. 8. The first two lacked an appearance from the former president, and so will the third.

what can we do?

It’s important to stay informed and know what is going on — learn about the candidates, who are they, what are their proposed policies, and what they care about. Since most of you are my age, I’m assuming you don’t listen to the news, so pay attention to online news sources. Our universities give us free subscriptions to the New York Times and The Washington Post, so take advantage of those resources. Also, make sure to register to vote. Here’s a link where you can register to vote online and find other ways to register. You can also check your voter registration status here.

Sagal M

U Conn '25

Sagal is a sophomore at the University of Connecticut. She's studying Political Science. She's hopes to become a lawyer focusing on civil rights law. Her favorite hobbies are watching rom-coms and reading books.