By Risha Sinha
Graphic generated by AI
Dark Brandon vs. Inmate No. P01135809 seems to be the most likely match-up come November 5, 2024. In addition to his upcoming political clashes, Trump faces an unprecedented sum of legal battles that have sparked questions about his electability; nevertheless, his campaign remains the most well-funded of both parties. Both presidential pugilists are geriatric white men who may end up kicking the bucket while kicking each other. Here is a rundown of the other main candidates.
Robert F. Kennedy Jr. seems to have gone so far left that he’s swung around to the far right. Although he is the nephew of former liberal President John F. Kennedy, politically, he has more in common with conspiracy theorist/congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene. Instead of concrete policy ideas, he spouts anti-vaccine and anti-Semitic rhetoric. The absurdity of his strategy makes me think his entire campaign is a ruse to get his previously banned social media accounts restored.
Former Vice President Mike Pence switched from MAGA darling to MAGA enemy #1 in the span of a few hours on January 6th. Since then, he has maintained that the 2020 election was not stolen. An evangelical Christian, he is vocal about his support for a national abortion ban after 15 weeks. Pence seems like a reasonable candidate, though his refusal to condemn or endorse Trump alienates him from both sides of the GOP.
At 38 years old, Ramaswamy is the youngest candidate in this race. A multimillionaire entrepreneur, he has no previous political experience, although he gained notoriety for his opposition to diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives in the corporate arena. He wants to raise the voting age to 25, wants Ukraine to concede land to Russia and is a staunch defender of Trump. His lack of name recognition — and such an ethnic name at that — will certainly limit his support among the conservative crowd.
Currently in his second term, North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum has pretty moderate views on climate change, immigration and the war in Ukraine. Because of or despite this, his support is dwindling; to salvage his declining popularity, he gave out $20 gift cards for every $1 donated in order to meet the GOP debate fundraising threshold. Such unconventional tactics are made possible by the billion dollars he made as a software entrepreneur.
Former New Jersey governor Chris Christie toes the party line with most of his proposed policies. He stands out as a leading voice in the condemnation of Trump, though Trump’s refusal to participate makes a Trump-Christie showdown a moot point. Christie’s shining moment at the RNC debate was when he called out Ramaswamy for stealing Obama’s 2004 DNC convention opening line.
Former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley is the only woman running for the Republican nomination. Her policies align with the bulk of the field though she takes a hard-line stance against China: as a United Nations ambassador, she called for the end to any economic cooperation. Haley joined Christie and Pence in clapping back at Ramaswamy during the RNC debate.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is considered the biggest threat to Trump, although his policy ideas appear to be mostly similar to that of Trump and the GOP. He is famous for signing far-right, “anti-woke” bills like “Don’t Say Gay” and limiting the teaching of racial history in schools. While campaigning, DeSantis is in the throes of a seemingly mindless lawsuit against Disney.
A professor of philosophy who has taught at Yale, Harvard and Princeton, Cornel West originally ran for the People’s Party but now seeks the Green Party nomination. He is uber-progressive, believing in the decriminalization of all drugs, vastly cutting military spending and dissolving NATO. He has called Biden a “mediocre, milquetoast neoliberal centrist.”