Five political events this year that will shape 2024
The first presidential primaries and conventions are still more than a year away, but the next several months will see a series of high-profile events in the political world that are sure to carry weight into 2024.
Both Republicans and Democrats are set to make important decisions for their parties in the coming weeks, while a handful of states will hold elections in November, giving political observers an early preview of what the landscape next year might look like.
Here are five political events happening this year that offer some hints about 2024:
Biden re-election announcement (date pending)
One of the biggest questions for Democrats over the past two years has been whether President Biden will seek a second term in the White House. And it became increasingly clear that he had every intention of doing so.
The boss is He is expected to announce his plans in the coming weekswith theebruary announcement sometime around the State of the Union address emerging as a possible time frame.
If Biden eventually moves forward with his re-election campaign, it will likely freeze other Democrats who might have White House ambitions of their own. That could spare the party from a potentially contentious 2024 season and allow Biden to focus solely on advancing his case for a second term in office.
Biden will still go into his campaign with a few questions looming. At 80 years old, he is already the oldest person to work in the Oval Office. If he wins a second term in November 2024, he will be 82 by the time he is sworn in for his second term.
Of course, former President Trump is running for the White House again, and he’s not much younger than Biden. One remaining question is whether Biden’s presence in the race might nudge Republicans toward a younger candidate who might be able to draw a sharper contrast to the sitting president.
Republican Winter Meeting (January 25-27)
The Republican National Committee (RNC) is set to choose its next chair later this month when it meets in Dana Point, California. And while the party’s current leader, Ronna McDaniel, is seeking another term in the top organizational position in the Republican Party, her re-election isn’t as secure as she and her allies had hoped.
McDaniel, who served as president for nearly six years, was chosen for the role by Trump after his shock victory in the 2016 presidential contest.
But it has faced mounting pressure from within the Republican Party after the party underperformed dramatically in the 2022 midterm elections, when Republicans squandered the opportunity to regain control of the Senate and gained only a narrow majority in the House of Representatives.
On Monday, the Alabama Republican Steering Committee issued a statement of no confidence in McDaniel, saying it would not support her for another term as chair of the national Republican Party.
And while McDaniel has earned a reputation as one of the most ardent defenders of the former president in the GOP, she faces challenges from two other Trump loyalists, RNC committee member Harmit Dillon and pillow salesman Mike Lindell, who has become one of the most vocal supporters. Trump’s false claim that the 2020 election was rigged against him.
Whoever exits the contest will be tasked with leading the party committee during the 2024 presidential race. But the presence of Trump loyalists in the race could complicate matters for those in the GOP who see the former president at least partially responsible for the party’s current challenges.
Democrats Winter Meeting (earlyebruary)
Top Democrats are moving forward with a plan to radically reshape the party’s traditional presidential primary calendar, hoping to give more racially diverse states a greater say in the nomination process.
That plan will be put to a key vote before the full Democratic National Committee (DNC) early next month during the group’s winter meeting in Philadelphia.
Under the new proposal, South Carolina will begin the primary calendar onebruary 3, 2024, replacing Iowa, which held its first presidential caucuses in decades. New Hampshire and Nevada come onebruary 6, followed by Georgia onebruary 13 and Michigan onebruary 27.
If the commission adopts the new proposal, it will fundamentally change not only the traditional voting schedule, but the way presidential candidates handle campaigning.
Of course, there are still obstacles in the way. Two of the five states that fall within the proposed early primary window — Georgia and New Hampshire — have asked the DNC for an extension to try to meet the committee’s requirements for early primary elections.
Moreover, Republicans have already adopted their primary calendar, maintaining the traditional ranking of Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada. This fact makes it difficult for the Democrats to rearrange their schedule.
CPAC (March 1-4)
The annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) is scheduled to return to the Washington, D.C., area in March after spending the past two years inlorida and Texas.
This high-profile gathering of conservative activists and GOP officials returns to no-man’s-land as Trump, who now lives inlorida, launches another presidential bid, andlorida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) mounts a 2024 campaign of his own.
Over the past several years, CPAC has materialized as something of a rave rally for Trump and his wing of the Republican Party. However, one of the big questions surrounding this year’s event was whether it would have a different tone.
For example, Trump is no longer seen as the presumptive presidential nominee of the Republican Party, with recent polls showing DeSantis leading the former president in a hypothetical primary match. Moreover, the party is still grappling with the fallout from the 2022 midterm elections and whether Trump is still the person best suited to lead Republicans into the next election cycle.
Election Day 2023 (November 7)
Three states – Kentucky, Louisiana and Mississippi – are scheduled to hold statewide elections this year. But Virginia is the big frontrunner, as voters will decide the party’s control of the state legislature in November.
Virginia has been steadily moving leftward in recent years. But that all changed in 2021, when Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R-Va.) defeated former Gov. Terry McAuliffe and Republicans captured a slim majority in the state house.
This year, Republicans will not only try to retain a majority in their state House, but will try to gain control of the state Senate, where Democrats hold power by a narrow margin. How these legislative races may provide some clues about the political environment before 2024.
Meanwhile, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (D) is seeking a second term in the governor’s mansion, and there’s a crowded field of Republicans already vying to challenge him.
Beshear won office in 2019, when he narrowly defeated former governor Matt Bevin (R). But the political climate at the time was more favorable to the Democrats, and he is expected to have a tougher race ahead of him this year.