EXPLAINER-What you need to know about the 2024 US presidential election

National opinion polls show Trump locked in a tight race with Biden in a head-to-head matchup, with voters concerned about Biden's age, his handling of the economy and the surge of migrants crossing illegally at the U.S. southern border, despite job growth, infrastructure investment and a slow easing of inflation after last year's peak.

Reuters | Updated: 23-04-2024 21:00 IST | Created: 23-04-2024 21:00 IST
EXPLAINER-What you need to know about the 2024 US presidential election

The 2024 U.S. presidential election promises to be like no other in modern times. Former President Donald Trump, who faces a battery of federal and state criminal charges related to his efforts to overturn his 2020 election loss to Democrat Joe Biden, will be the Republican nominee for the third straight presidential election.

Biden, the incumbent president, will again be the Democratic nominee, setting up a rematch with Trump. At 81, Biden would be the oldest American to win a presidential election should he secure a second four-year term in November. WHO IS THE REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE RUNNING FOR U.S. PRESIDENT IN 2024? Trump, 77, dominated the Republican field, which largely avoided criticizing him for his actions related to the 2020 election for fear of alienating his base of diehard supporters. Many of those supporters believe Trump's false claims that the election was stolen from him. His last Republican rival, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, dropped out of the race after Trump won 14 states in their matchup on Super Tuesday on March 5. But Trump has work to do to consolidate the party behind him ahead of the general election. During her campaign, Haley often pointed to the fact that she gained around 40% or more of the vote in states such as New Hampshire and South Carolina as evidence that a large share of the Republican electorate is unhappy with Trump. National opinion polls show Trump locked in a tight race with Biden in a head-to-head matchup, with voters concerned about Biden's age, his handling of the economy and the surge of migrants crossing illegally at the U.S. southern border, despite job growth, infrastructure investment and a slow easing of inflation after last year's peak. Many Democrats, in particular, are unhappy with the Biden administration's steadfast support of Israel in its conflict with Hamas in Gaza.

Trump faces indictments in four cases in federal and state courts for his efforts to undermine the 2020 election, his mishandling of classified documents and his involvement in a "hush money" scheme involving a porn star. The trial involving the hush money payment is underway in state court in Manhattan. The proceedings are expected to last into May. The case is the only one against Trump certain to go to trial this year. He has maintained his innocence and argued he is the victim of politically motivated prosecutions, an assertion the Biden administration and other prosecutors deny. The legal calendars for those cases pose obstacles for Trump's ability to campaign, although the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to hear Trump's presidential immunity claim related to his federal election interference case could delay that trial indefinitely depending on when a ruling is issued.

WHO ARE THE DEMOCRATS RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT? While some voters may not be enthusiastic, Democratic leaders and major donors are backing Biden and his vice president, Kamala Harris.

Dean Phillips, a little-known U.S. congressman from Minnesota, mounted a long-shot challenge to Biden because he did not believe the president could win another term, but Phillips dropped out after a dismal showing on Super Tuesday. Self-help author and speaker Marianne Williamson remains in the nominating race but does not present a serious challenge to Biden. Biden's pitch for a second term rests on his stewardship of the economy as it has emerged from the COVID-19 pandemic, and what he calls the "battle for the soul of America," a fight against Trump-aligned Republicans whom he labels as extremists. Under Biden, unemployment dropped to generational lows, gross domestic product (GDP) grew faster than expected and wages have risen. However, inflation spiked last year, and, while it has eased in recent months, voters remain concerned about the high price of staples such as food, fuel, cars and housing. With Trump atop the Republican ticket, much of Biden's campaign will focus on warning voters that Trump poses a mortal threat to American democracy.

WHO ELSE IS RUNNING? Robert F. Kennedy Jr., scion of the famed American political family and an anti-vaccine activist, launched an independent bid rather than challenge Biden for the Democratic nomination. Kennedy has shown some appeal among both Republicans and Democrats unenthused about another Biden-Trump matchup. Progressive activist Cornel West also is running as an independent, and former presidential candidate Jill Stein is seeking the Green Party's nomination. The challenge for these candidates will be amassing enough support to land on the ballot in all 50 states.

WHEN ARE THE 2024 PRIMARIES HELD? Republicans held their first nominating contest on Jan. 15 with the Iowa caucuses, followed by contests in New Hampshire, Nevada, the Virgin Islands, South Carolina, Michigan, Idaho, Missouri and North Dakota. Trump won all of them handily. Haley won the primary in Washington, D.C. on March 3.

Trump then won 14 states on Super Tuesday on March 5, driving Haley from the race. After since winning primaries in states such as Georgia, Arizona and Florida, Trump now has close to 2,000 delegates, more than enough to secure the nomination. The first official Democratic primary took place on Feb. 3 in South Carolina, where Biden won big. He later won the Michigan primary on Feb. 27 but faced a significant protest vote over his handling of the Israel-Hamas war. Biden, too, picked up hundreds of delegates by winning almost every contest on Super Tuesday and has since clinched his party's bid. One of those primaries, in Minnesota, also ended with a notable protest vote over the Middle East war. At the close of the primaries, each party this summer will hold their nominating conventions where they will formally nominate the candidate who received the most delegates. Republicans will hold their convention in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, while Democrats will stage theirs in Chicago.

The general election will be held on Nov. 5, 2024. WHAT ARE THE KEY ISSUES? Abortion: Democrats plan to make abortion central to their 2024 campaign, two years after the Supreme Court – powered by a conservative majority that Trump installed – overturned the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision and ruled that abortion was not constitutionally protected.

Opinion polls show most Americans don't favor strict limits on reproductive rights, and the party is hoping threats to those rights will encourage millions of women and independents to vote their way this year. The issue has divided Republicans, with Trump suggesting the matter should be left to individual states and others pushing for a national ban. The Economy: Biden's White House is trying to reassure Americans that the economy is in solid shape, with inflation slowing, wages up and unemployment at its lowest levels in a half-century. Investments in infrastructure are producing long-term job gains, Democrats say.

Republicans say they will cut federal spending, which they blame for stoking inflation and triggering consumer-price spikes, trim back federal regulations, and lower taxes. A Reuters/Ipsos poll in April gave Trump a significant edge over Biden in terms of the candidate voters trust to handle the economy. Immigration: Since taking office in 2021, Biden has grappled with record numbers of migrants caught illegally crossing the U.S.-Mexico border, straining resources there and in cities they have gone to, such as New York and Chicago. Republican candidates, including Trump, have blamed Biden for reversing more restrictive Trump-era policies and have pledged to step up border security. Trump in February urged congressional Republicans to back away from a bipartisan bill that gave them many of the border-related measures, in order to avoid giving Biden a policy victory.

Some Democrats have criticized Biden for turning to Trump-style enforcement measures to reduce illegal crossings, while the White House maintains it is moving to a more humane and orderly system by offering new ways for migrants to enter legally. A Reuters-Ipsos poll in January found rising concern among Americans about immigration, with 17% of respondents listing it as the most important problem facing the U.S. today, up sharply from 11% in December.

Foreign Policy: The eruption of Israeli-Hamas violence threw a polarizing new issue into the election campaign. Biden has been heavily criticized by progressives within the party for his steadfast support of Israel. Trump and Republicans also back Israel and are using the conflict to press for a stronger U.S.-Mexico border. China has emerged as a potent foreign policy issue in the campaign, with Republicans arguing the Asian power is a growing threat to national security, U.S. corporate interests and Taiwan's independence.

The Biden administration has said it wants to "de-risk" and not "de-couple" its relationship with China and work to keep the competition between the world's No. 1 and No. 2 economic powers from escalating into conflict. Even so, Biden recently threatened to slap more tariffs on Chinese goods such as steel and aluminum products. Ukraine is another major issue and has split the Republican field. Trump argues Biden's support of Ukraine in its war with Russia is distracting the U.S. from preparing for a possible confrontation with China. Trump made waves in February when he suggested that the U.S. should not defend NATO countries that do not meet their obligations to contribute to their national defense. Crime: In many cities, violent crime has mostly dropped back to levels seen before the COVID pandemic and unrest over racial justice. Even so, Americans of both parties remain concerned, with 55% of respondents in a January Reuters/Ipsos poll saying reducing crime was the most important issue to them.

WHAT ARE THE KEY STATES IN THE 2024 GENERAL ELECTION? That both parties are holding their conventions in the Midwest says much about the value they are placing on Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, all of which went for Trump in 2016 and flipped to Biden in 2020.

Arizona, Georgia and Nevada have also proven to be closely divided and contain growing populations that could determine the next election. Another key battleground next year could be North Carolina, a Southern state with an increasingly diverse electorate. For 2024 U.S. election stories, results and data: https://www.reuters.com/topic/event/us-elections/

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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