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President Donald Trump with Nikki Haley, who was stepping down as his US Ambassador to the United Nations, in the Oval Office on October 9, 2018 in Washington, DC. Both are now 2024 candidates for President.
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The 2024 presidential election has already started. The contest on the Republican side is sure to get heated, with former President Donald Trump starting as the frontrunner for his party’s nomination and numerous other candidates waiting in the wings, including Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida, former Vice President Mike Pence, Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina, and John Bolton, Trump’s former national security adviser..

Across the aisle, President Joe Biden appears poised to continue to lead his party, even though many Democrats would like to see someone else running for the White House.

Here’s who has entered the race so far:

Donald Trump

Former President Donald Trump threw his hat back into the ring in November, just a week after the 2022 midterms, whose outcome had proven underwhelming for his party.

The business tycoon was elected President in 2016. The stakes of the election were heightened in February following the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s choice to refuse to consider President Barack Obama’s nominee to replace him. Trump argued that the next president should make the appointment. He also campaigned on building a wall at the Southern border and banning Muslims from entering the United States. A month before the election, the Washington Post published the Access Hollywood tape, in which he bragged about groping women.

The controversy continued throughout his presidency. Trump became the only American President in history to be impeached twice, first for soliciting foreign interference in the 2020 election and later, after he lost that election, for inciting an insurrection ahead of the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. During Trump’s presidency, special prosecutor Robert Mueller investigated Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible links between the president, his campaign, and Russia. Ultimately, the investigation did not find Trump guilty of criminal conduct, and did not take a clear position on whether Trump obstructed justice. It did charge several of his associates with various crimes.

Trump followed through on many of his campaign promises, passing a big tax cut and appointing three Supreme Court justices during his term. Those appointments cemented a conservative majority on the Court that eventually overturned Roe v. Wade, the decision that protected the right to abortion. Trump also took a hard line on immigration. In 2017, he issued an executive order prohibiting travel from several majority-Muslim countries that became the subject of years of litigation. His administration began construction of his proposed wall at the U.S.-Mexico border, and for a period, separated thousands of parents and their children who had crossed together.

In the final year of his presidency, Trump oversaw the U.S. response to the COVID-19 pandemic. He repeatedly denied the severity and intractability of the pandemic and promoted unproven treatments for the virus. As unemployment surged, he signed the CARES Act, which authorized direct stimulus checks to individual Americans. Trump also made headlines in 2020 for his response to the demonstrations against police brutality and racism in the wake of the murder of George Floyd, in which Trump threatened the use of military force against protestors.

Following his 2020 loss, Trump has continued to raise baseless doubts about the validity of the results, claims that played a role in the deadly Capitol attack. During the 2022 midterms, he largely supported candidates who joined him in questioning the integrity of American elections.

Read more: Donald Trump’s Disastrous Campaign Launch

Nikki Haley

Former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley launched her campaign in mid-February with a promise of generational change.

Haley served in the South Carolina state House for several years before being elected governor in 2010. At the time, she was the youngest governor in the country, as well as the first woman and first person of color to lead the Palmetto State. One of the defining moments of her career came in 2015, when she led the push to remove the Confederate flag from the state Capitol in the wake of mass shooting that killed nine Black churchgoers at Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston. While in office, she supported cuts to the state income tax and opposed a proposed transgender bathroom bill. She also appointed Tim Scott to an open U.S. Senate seat.

Haley delivered the Republican response to President Obama’s 2016 State of the Union speech. She criticized Trump throughout his 2016 campaign, but after ending her second term as governor in 2017, she joined his administration as Ambassador to the United Nations. She resigned from the role at the end of 2018. Since then, she has flip-flopped on her relationship with Trump more than once. At first, after the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, she suggested he no longer had a place in the Republican Party. Later, she said the party needed him. In 2021, she said she would not run for president if Trump was running; now, she has launched her bid.

Haley has remained deeply involved in politics since leaving the Trump administration, issuing endorsements and hitting the campaign trail with a variety of Republicans ahead of the 2022 midterms, including Georgia Governor Brian Kemp and Senate candidate Herschel Walker.

Marianne Williamson

Self-help author Marianne Williamson became the first prominent Democrat to formally jump into the race with a campaign launch on March 4, meaning she’ll likely challenge Biden for the nomination, though he has not yet officially started his reelection campaign.

During her announcement speech, Williamson said the country is facing an “atomizer spray of economic injustice.”

“The opponent is not a specific situation or circumstance,” she said. “The opponent is an economic mindset.” She called for universal health care, free college tuition, free childcare, and paid family leave, among other policies, and said those are “moderate” positions in many other countries and Americans have been “played.”

Williamson, a spiritual adviser to Oprah and an associate of many other celebrities, also ran for President in the Democratic Party’s crowded 2020 field, drawing attention on the debate stage for saying her first act as president would be to call New Zealand’s then-Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and tell her, “Girlfriend, you are so on.” Williamson drew criticism for controversial comments on vaccines and antidepressants. She dropped out of the 2020 race before the first primaries, facing dwindling funds and dismal polling.

Earlier in her career, Williamson ran for Congress in Southern California as an independent, placing fourth in the 18-person 2014 primary. Several of her books have become New York Times bestsellers and she is known for authoring the quote, “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.”

Vivek Ramaswamy

Entrepreneur and author Vivek Ramaswamy announced his presidential bid on February 21. Ramaswamy, running as a Republican, has made his name by slamming what he calls “woke” corporations, and especially by criticizing environmental, social, and governance investing. After founding Roivant Sciences, a biotech company focused on drug development, he published two books: Woke, Inc.: Inside Corporate America’s Social Justice Scam and Identity Politics, the Death of Merit, and the Path Back to Excellence, the first of which was a New York Times bestseller.

In 2022, he co-founded Strive, an asset management company which markets itself as a way to avoid mixing business with politics. Ramaswamy was previously included in Forbes’ list of richest entrepreneurs under 40, with a reported net worth of $500 million.

The son of Indian immigrants, Ramaswamy’s launch video focused on “a national identity crisis” that he says has replaced America’s foundational values like free speech and patriotism with a focus on the country’s divisions. In an interview with the New York Times, Ramaswamy said his first act as President would be to repeal the executive order that bans discrimination and requires affirmative action for federal contractors.

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