Evaluating 2024 Presidential Candidates

Vivek Ramaswamy caters to patriotic voters with his America First 2.0 campaign, aiming to separate the US from the global community and promoting nationalist goals. While Ramaswamy is amazing at running debates, he may not be the best for the U.S. in the long run.
Vivek Ramaswamy caters to patriotic voters with his America First 2.0 campaign, aiming to separate the US from the global community and promoting nationalist goals. While Ramaswamy is amazing at running debates, he may not be the best for the U.S. in the long run.
Gabriel Oliveira
Vivek Ramaswamy: Good Candidate, Not a Good President

On Nov. 8, the third GOP presidential primary debate occurred in Miami and showcased candidates’ opinions and plans to solve various issues. 

In a fight to see who could reflect the average Republican voter’s opinions the best, some candidates slipped up or were confronted with questions they would have rather avoided. 

But one candidate stood out from the crowd and made the most headlines: Vivek Ramaswamy. Ramaswamy was the star of the show on Nov. 8 when he very explicitly voiced his thoughts and opinions, leaving no room for interpretation.

Be it good or bad, Ramaswamy has strong opinions that he does not hesitate to voice, even when it might make him stick out like a sore thumb. For instance, he controversially stated that the US needed a border wall with Canada in order to slow or even halt fentanyl trafficking. Furthermore, he spent the entire night asking to speak after any other candidate spoke. He also explicitly made snide comments towards other candidates, even calling out former UN diplomat and Trump cabinet member Nikki Haley for letting her 25-year-old daughter use TikTok.

But Ramaswamy does not just spout strong opinions, he has a strong campaigning platform. Ramaswamy is running on a platform of strong nationalism and national pride. He solidified this sentiment when he rejected an award from the World Economic Forum in April due to their “globalist” values. Furthermore, he emphasizes a need to distance the United States and its economy from China and the Chinese economy. Ramaswamy does not only feed off of nationalist sentiment in order to get votes, he also taps into the anti-big government crowd. 

For example, he proposed the idea of dissolving the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), firing most of its employees, and distributing the rest of its employees to other government agencies, such as Homeland Security and the Secret Service. While this particular scenario is extreme, the FBI does excessively use money for purposes that would not benefit the average U.S. citizen, such as collecting bulk phone data in the hopes of stopping a crime before it happens. Invading the privacy of innocent civilians and monitoring their private calls for the small chance of discovering crime is not the best way to fight crime. Thus, it isn’t very extreme to suggest at least some reorganization and redistribution of some, not all, of their employees to other, more pertinent agencies.

Ramaswamy also aims to implement a “civic duty” voting policy that will significantly impact young voters. This voting policy would introduce the requirement for voters aged 18 to 25 to take a civics test in order to have the ability to vote. This civics test would be identical to the one that U.S residents would need to pass in order to be naturalized as citizens. This is a good idea, as it would require new voters to be knowledgeable about the history and function of the U.S. government, likely leading to better decision-making as a whole.

Even though Ramaswamy has many opinions and ideals that could be seen as wrong by the vast majority of voters, at least he has opinions. U.S. voters have settled for weak candidates for too long, and it seems like every candidate is reading off of an AI-generated script that optimizes voter happiness. Sometimes voters need to be angered as it sparks critical thinking, and critical thinking is something that is needed heavily nowadays.

Vivek Ramaswamy may not be what the U.S. needs in a president, but he is someone who sparks discussion. Ramaswamy is amazing at being a candidate and running debates, but some of his opinions may not fare well with the average voter and may not be the best for the U.S.  in the long run.

More Information
  • Political Party: Republican
  • Notable Past Experience: Founder of Roivant Sciences
  • Priorities: Banning DEI, securing the southern border, decreasing renewable energy spending
  • Link to campaign
Ron DeSantis: A Dedicated but Unfit Candidate

In May 2023, Florida Governor, Ron DeSantis announced his candidacy for the 2024 presidential election. Among the 13 candidates currently in the presidential election, DeSantis stands out as one of the most dedicated to fulfilling his party’s priorities. DeSantis’ presidential platform leans on reducing America’s economic decline, limiting “woke” influence in education, and increasing border patrol.

As part of his platform, DeSantis introduced what he calls a “Declaration of Economic Independence,” championing decreasing costs for the working American family by decreasing China’s influence in the American economy. This includes reversing trade deficits with China, stopping child and forced labor, and ending China’s preferential trade status. The plan also aims to limit the influence of Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance (ESG) on pension funds and secure the nation’s borders to limit the labor market in the U.S. 

DeSantis has been very aggressive in his push to increase economic growth after panning previous presidents for not taking enough action on the issue. But is limiting trade with China the best solution?

Another set of policies DeSantis has been aggressive about is the border policies that he hopes to implement as president. His immigration platform would finish building the Mexico-U.S. border and tighten border security by allowing state and local governments to enforce immigration laws if the federal government refuses to. 

These policies exist primarily to reduce drug trafficking into the U.S., with DeSantis claiming that there are “no excuses” for the citizens lost due to fentanyl overdoses. This might seem like an admirable cause – until you think about how it went the last time a president tried building a wall. 

While DeSantis has been a rising candidate in the Republican party because he has been taking actions to implement his extreme beliefs, his term as governor has negatively affected many Floridians, which poses the question: Can DeSantis truly be a good president if he would forgo the wellbeing of citizens?

DeSantis put the lives of Floridians at risk under his governance during the COVID-19 pandemic. In September of 2020, after just three weeks of a state-wide lockdown, he lifted all lockdown procedures on schools and public buildings, even banning local governments from enforcing public health measures. This was an irresponsible decision, as at that point, very little was known about COVID-19 and people were dying every day. It was truly unjust for people to be expected to return to their previous everyday lives in the middle of a pandemic.

One of DeSantis’ most controversial bills he signed into law more recently was, the Parental Right in Education bill (HB 1557), more popularly known as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. This bill limits education on sex and gender identity in K-12 classrooms and no longer makes it required for teachers to use students’ preferred names and pronouns. HB 1557 also encourages parents to sue schools for violating these laws, and at one point, an amendment was proposed that would require principals to out transgender kids to their parents. 

DeSantis claims that schools need proper education rather than proper pronoun use, but how are transgender students expected to be at school if they can’t be in an environment where they can’t feel safe? According to a study published in Lancet Child and Adolescent Health, trans and non-binary youth are four to five times more likely to have attempted suicide or self-harmed than their cisgender counterparts. With these high rates of poor mental health, an expansion of this kind of legislation throughout the entire U.S. under DeSantis presents a very concerning situation for transgender youth.

DeSantis is not afraid to voice his opinions and is aggressive with how he tackles issues, but due to his questionable policies, history of anti-LGBTQA+ legislation and putting Floridians in danger, DeSantis is not a good candidate for the 2024 election.

More Information
  • Political Party: Republican
  • Notable past experience: Governor of Florida
  • Priorities: Supports federal 15-week abortion ban, opposes teaching about race and sexuality in K-12 schools, supports making cost of living more affordable, supports penalties for those employing undocumented immigrants
  • Link to campaign
Chris Christie Needs To Stand For Something

Former New Jersey governor Chris Christie is now the lowest polling candidate eligible for nomination. During his term as governor, Christie did not bode well. He financially damaged the northeastern state, and left as a disgraced politician. Following his extremely nuanced and vague responses at the third Republican primary debate in Miami recently, he will not fare well in the 2024 presidential election if he does not make some serious changes. 

Christie is in stark contrast to other candidates in the running. Although his anti-Trump stance might drum up support from some Democrats who disapprove of both Trump and Joe Biden, his decision may be hurting him in the long run, as many Republicans still strongly, or at least somewhat, support Trump.

Another fatal flaw in Christie’s campaign is his lack of decisive opinions and his general neutrality regarding many serious topics. For instance, his campaign website does not even mention any of his opinions or positions regarding important issues like gun control and abortion. The only issue he really notes in his entire one-page website is his anti-Trump agenda. His opinions can only be found when a voter actively looks for them and eventually reads third-party articles published by news outlets like NBC News.

When it comes to opinions, Christie’s are generic. He sounds like a broken record, spouting the same values as the general public. Christie does not display critical thinking that could lead to change, rather he mentions a general bias towards Republican values. Furthermore, he retreats from opinions when they turn out to be even a little controversial. For instance, in his 2016 presidential campaign, he actively supported the naturalization of illegal immigrants but backtracked and called it “extreme” once he was challenged on it. Without a strong foundation supporting his ideas, voters might be conflicted and unsure of what he might do in the future if they voted for him.

If Christie does not take risks and form actual controversial opinions that could win Democrat voters or moderate Republican voters, it is unlikely that he will make it to the fourth republican primary debate, let alone presidency.

More Information
  • Political Party: Republican
  • Notable past experience: Former Governor of New Jersey
  • Priorities: Addressing opioid epidemic, advocating for mental health, aid to Ukraine
  • Link to campaign
Joe Biden: The Best Choice Out of Bad Options

With the presidential debates continuing on and the 2024 presidential election nearing its start, many worry for the future of their country. As the current lead for the Democratic nomination and current president, Joe Biden has high hopes in the 2024 election as the Democratic Party’s single hope of staying in the White House. 

During his presidency, Biden did a lot to help the country re-stabilize after the COVID-19 pandemic and rebuild from the chaos that was the Trump administration. However, he has also faced, and unsuccessfully handled the current issues, such as housing market distress and inflation, to the current and ongoing bombings of the Gaza Strip. 

Many people say that he has not done enough to help solve any of these problems, as shown through his low approval rating . However, with the inflation at barely above average levels, the housing prices decreasing across the U.S., and debt being at national lows, Biden has done the work that needed to be done to keep the country afloat. 

But the bare minimum is about all that’s been done. Very few promises were kept, such as his promise to protect civil rights, which was not kept and lead to the implementation of abortion bans after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. There has been exactly zero progress towards any sort of nationwide gun control after multiple mass shootings. Both were part of promises he made when he was first elected, dropping his approval rates greatly.

Now in his re-election campaign, Biden is “looking to finish what he started” in the hopes that when he is put back in office he can further protect the rights overturned in his last term. He hopes to expand civil rights in the hopes to re-gain the votes he lost while in office, as well as to change direction from his last campaign in the hopes to improve his approval rating in total.

In all, out of the two political parties, the Democratic Party has it together the most. But even if one party is better for the majority of people, there is a larger overall problem: The ages of front running candidates in both parties. Joe Biden is 81 and Donald Trump is 77. Old age brings a lot of problems for the candidate in their hopes for re-election as many worry about their mental acuteness as well as how their perspectives may differ greatly to many voters perspectives. However this is no new problem, but a systematic one that younger generations have to change, and yet no chance of doing so. 

With all that being said, Biden has one of the better chances of winning and the most put-together campaign plan, with the big goal of protecting and expanding civil rights of all. However, there are many problems not only with his candidacy but also with the options that the country has been given. However, moving into the next election, all Americans can do is vote and hope their candidate has their best interest in mind.

More Information
  • Political Party: Democrat
  • Notable past experience: Incumbent President, Vice President to Barack Obama (2008-2016)
  • Priorities: Reforming the immigration system, combatting the climate crisis, relieving economic inequities, expanding affordable healthcare, addressing the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Link to campaign
Donald Trump: An Inevitable, but Potentially Costly Outcome

In a divisive Republican primary season filled with screaming and pleas to the voters for the nomination, there has been one candidate whose presence has not been seen on the debate floor this year.

Following the 2020 election in which he was ousted by President Joe Biden, 2024 Republican presidential candidate and former president Donald Trump, is under fire amid his bid for re-election. While his in-office policies, insurrection attempts, and rabid X, formerly known as Twitter, rants already left the former actor in heaps of controversy during his presidency, his problems have only grown since leaving office. With Republican voters flocking en masse to other candidates, one would think it may pose a potential problem for the Trump campaign. However, at this point in time, despite all these issues for the 77-year-old, Trump should have no reason to believe his bid to be the Republican candidate should be in danger, that is unless his legal woes catch up to him. 

As a candidate, Trump has all the qualifications to represent the Republican party, nearly half of America. His policies continue to line with the ever increasing far right, and the loyalty of his following of “Trump-loyal” Republicans is unwavering in response. Trump has stayed consistent on some of the most hot button issues, reaffirming his abortion stance and supporting the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade, the ruling granting the right to an abortion under federal protection. His hard “America First” foreign policy, and his continued support of military spending aligns perfectly with the party, and from a pure policy standpoint Trump exhibits all the traits and ideas necessary to be the candidate for the Republican party. 

His policies, however, have not been enough for some Republican voters to stay on the Trump train as Trump has lost a significant following to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley. Multiple polls and social media posts from the New York Times have suggested that this is due to many Republicans have calling his morals into question. Others are afraid of another defeat, with Trump losing the popular vote by a staggering seven million votes in 2020. This also leaves many to question the turnout of Republican voters if Trump gets the nomination, with some choosing to not support Trump at all, or choosing to vote for a more centrist Biden, as was seen in 2020. 

Another  issue arising for the Trump campaign is his legal woes. Although many continue to support Trump unconditionally, criminal activity and all, he is currently facing dozens of charges from a wide variety of lawsuits and civil opponents. Although there are circumstances in which a conviction could yield no issues for Trump to continue his campaign, there are still potential areas of problem for Trump. If the former president is found guilty under the 14th Amendment of inciting an insurrection,  he will be barred from running for president for his actions on Jan. 6 2021. However, this would most likely yield a Supreme Court hearing in which would most likely go in his favor, considering he appointed a third of the current Justices himself. Once again proving that the Trump campaign may just be unable to be stopped.

While Trump might be the most inevitable and best fitting candidate for the nomination, his victory over his other Republican foes might prove costly for Republicans if they are looking to take back the White House in 2024. If he does capture the White House, America might be in for another four years of nonsense, and lots and lots of pandering.

More Information
  • Political Party: Republican
  • Notable past experience: 45th President of the United States
  • Priorities: Securing the southern border, rebuilding the economy, free open trade
  • Link to campaign
Nikki Haley: Qualified, But Subdued By Trump

Nikki Haley, previous South Carolina Governor and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations is the only person standing in the way of Donald Trump’s path toward becoming the Republican nominee in the 2024 Presidential Elections. The first Indian-American woman to become South Carolina Governor and only the fifth Republican Woman Presidential Candidate, Haley launched her campaign in February of 2023. 

Haley’s campaign focuses on bringing relevant debates to the surface, including social security benefit cuts for the wealthy and increasing the eligibility age of the younger generation to receive retirement benefits, advocating for a federal abortion ban, increasing border control by defunding “sanctuary cities”, and cutting trade ties with China while in favor of Taiwan in the conflict between the neighboring countries. Resolved under the goal of civilian freedom, she is one of the strongest advocates of sending military personnel to Ukraine and Israel and pushes for sanctions against North Korea’s nuclear program.  

Aligned with the views of her party, she advocates for more metal detectors and mental health counselors in schools instead of gun control. Even after she signed a bill in 2015 to ban the Confederate flag on South Carolina state grounds after nine Black members of a Charleston church were murdered by a white supremacist, she remains opposed to stricter gun legislation. 

Haley gains appreciation under her slogan “Women for Nikki,” because she is open about her children, her husband, and her life as a powerful figure in a male-dominated field. But even so, there is a stark difference in popularity between the two, with eyes turning toward Trump’s outlandishness and Haley being dubbed as hypocritical. Albeit clever in demoralizing her rival through quips of his age and social media use, she fails to find the spotlight while on the same stage. Her political strategies are sensible, but her views are far too inconsistent, leaving voters confused about what they stand for and a weak spot for Trump to march in with his overpowering charisma and unwavering ideals. Consequently, it is not clear whether Haley can figure out the magic formula  — the power to capture the American audience the way Trump has — to truly connect to potential voters in time. 

To support her slim chances against his loyal fanbase, she has been relying on open primary states such as New Hampshire to gain independent ballots. In the recent election, she led an offensive attack and raised a million dollars after calling Trump “totally unhinged” and scorning his “temper tantrum”. Despite her efforts, Trump won 54.34% of voters with 176,392 votes, and Haley won 43.22% of voters with 140,288 votes, leading to a devastating loss. 

Haley is fighting to prove herself in the Republican Primary. If she somehow manages to win against Trump and finds herself pitted against Biden, she must continue to appeal in more effective ways to the American audience to land in the Presidential seat. 

More Information
  • Political Party: Republican
  • Notable past experience: Governor of South Carolina (2011-2017) and ambassador to the UN under Trump administration
  • Priorities: Limiting taxes, more secure borders, cutting back economic spending, opposes labor unions, opposes working with China economically
  • Link to campaign
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Class of 2026
I love socializing with new people, playing logic games like chess and crossword puzzles, and playing badminton with my crew at Badminton Club. My favorite thing about student press is that it gives me the opportunity to interact with people that I would not have the chance to otherwise, and it introduces me to people from a variety of backgrounds.
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