Monday, May 15, 2023

THE PRAIRIE EDITOR: Don't Look Now, But The 2024 Election Has Already Begun

The 2024 presidential campaign cycle will begin

formally in less than four months with the first

Republican nationally televised debate in Milwaukee

in August. The exact date, and the debate rules,

are not yet known, but GOP national chair Rona

McDaniels has stated that those who want to be

included in the debate will have to publicly promise

that they will support the eventual party nominee

who will be named at the national Republican

convention next year (that will also be held in


Major candidates already announced include

former President Donald Trump, former South

Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, former Arkansas

Governor Asa Hutchinson, businessman Vivek

Ramaswami, former National Security chief John

Bolton, radio host Larry Elder and businessman

Perry Johnson.

South Carolina Senator Tim Scott. former Vice

President Mike Pence and Florida Governor Ron

DeSantis are each expected to announce their

candidacies in coming weeks.

Other Republican political figures are known to be

considering running, and given the August debate

date, would almost certainly declare their intentions 

before August.

Current polls indicate Mr. Trump with a two-to-one

lead over his nearest potential rival Mr. Desantis,

with hopefuls Pence, Haley, Ramaswami, Scott,

and Hutchinson is low single digits. Candidates

Johnson, Elder and Bolton so far have little support

in the early polls.

Political commentators have noted that the early

polls reflect name recognition, and likely also reflect

GOP grass roots sympathy response for Mr. Trump

after his recent indictment in New York City, something

widely perceived by most Republicans to be a purely 

political attempt to hurt the former president’s

re-election chances. Since Mr. DeSantis has not yet

announced, observers have noted that the Florida

governors true political strength might not yet be

accurately reflected in the polls.

Democrats will hold their 2024 national convention in

Chicago, and have rearranged their primary schedule

to begin in South Carolina, bypassing the traditional

campaign order that has begun with the Iowa caucus

and New Hampshire primary. New Hampshire officials

say they will defy the change and schedule their

primary before South Carolina. 

The choice of Chicago for the Democrats’ convention

involves some risk. Although historically the most

frequent convention site of the major parties, in 1968

the convention to seek a replacement for retiring 

President Lyndon Johnson turned into chaos in the

city despite the strong urban control of then-Mayor

Richard Daley. Today, Chicago is a crime-ridden city

with an untested new leftist mayor.

Two candidates, activist Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and 

businesswoman Marianne Wiliamson, have formally

declared they are challenging incumbent President 

Joe Biden’s renomination, but by next year more 

serious potential opponents (so far discouraged from 

running) could enter the contest. As part of the

Democrats’ strategy to prevent a serious challenge, 

no primary season debates have so far been slated.

But early polls indicate that Mr. Biden has very high

unfavorables, and that his running mate Vice President

Kamala Harris is even more unpopular. 

Although he has a famous political surname and is 

seen as only a controversial maverick, Mr. Kennedy is 

receiving about 20% in early polls — against 60% for 

Mr. Biden — with about 20% undecided. Until now, 

no prominent Democrat has openly declared they will 

run in 2024 against Mr. Biden — although California 

Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom has been making 

himself conspicuously heard and seen.

In any event, it is much too early to draw conclusions

about the 2024 presidential cycle. But the contest,

slated to hold its first actual voting early next year, has 

already begun in earnest. We don’t yet have the full cast 

of its characters, but with the Republican debates set to

begin very soon, the time has come to begin paying more



Copyright (c) 2023 by Barry Casselman. All rights reserved.