Wait, How Many People Are Running for President Now?
And who exactly is that new guy?
WITH THE 2024 PRESIDENTIAL RACE race well underway, let’s take a look at a few of the candidates or almost-candidates who are not named Biden, Trump, or DeSantis—the dreamers and the deluded, the also-rans and the lesser-knowns, the quirky and the quacks. Several of them will likely be out of the race before a single primary vote is cast, so why not pour out some pixels for them now while they’re still around?
Robert F. Kennedy Jr.
Following the traditional playbook, most Democrats have already lined up to support President Joe Biden’s re-election bid, and the party’s general coalescing around him will give the Democratic primaries something of a pro-forma character. No debates are currently scheduled, and at this point it seems unlikely any will be held.
But that hasn’t deterred a couple of fringe Democrats from declaring their candidacies for the Democratic nomination. It’s possible they’ll even throw themselves a debate to figure out who will come in second place for the nomination.
The most notable of these is Robert F. Kennedy Jr. The most prominent living scion of the blursed Kennedy dynasty, he is best known for his nutty anti-vax conspiracy theories. He has the backing of Steve Bannon and recently got an endorsement (enDorseyment?) from Twitter cofounder Jack Dorsey.
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You remember her. The dark psychic forces couldn’t keep her away again this time. She will meet us on this field. We will see her there.
BernieBros might remember the People’s Party, which was founded in 2017 after Bernie Sanders lost the previous year’s Democratic primary. (It was meant to be a political vehicle for Sanders specifically, but he refused to be involved and has since ignored it.) Well, this nascent progressive party has found its champion for 2024: Cornel West, the Harvard professor and public intellectual who announced his candidacy on Monday:
Could Brother West end up sharing a debate stage with Sister Marianne? We can only hope.
Speaking of parties that have no chance of installing their own presidential candidate in office—even if they might help someone else secure the White House along the way—“No Labels,” the bipartisan dialogue organization, has taken a heel turn by moving to get its own candidate on the presidential ballot in all fifty states. The group’s prospects are dimming following recent negative press arising from deceptive signature-collection in Maine, and from the accusation that a No Labels candidate could only serve as a spoiler favoring Trump. Even so, Manchin is apparently still considering running for president under the No Labels
label banner. “Not ruling anything in, not ruling anything out,” he said this weekend.
Be sure to check out Matt Bennett’s thread explaining why a No Labels candidate can’t win the presidency:
Who doesn’t love a banker? The JPMorgan Chase CEO was briefly in the news after publicly toying with the idea of campaigning to become the leader of the free world. Dimon has said “my heart is Democratic but my brain is kind of Republican”; one wonders about the rest of his body. But we won’t be finding out this presidential cycle: He’s not running, the bank says, and furthermore he’s “very happy in his current role” and could you stop asking about it because he’s ours and he’s not doing it and that’s final. Dimon reportedly told friends that “he wants to be president but doesn’t want to RUN for president”—which I’ve gotta say is entirely understandable. Heck, I would like to be a billionaire banker but don’t want to have to train or work for it.
On the GOP side of the aisle, where everybody but Trump and DeSantis is polling under 10 percent, there are many familiar candidates—like the two South Carolinians, Nikki Haley and Tim Scott, and the two big names formally launching campaigns this week, Mike Pence and Chris Christie—but there are also a few fascinating not-quite-household names. Running longer than nearly anyone is Vivek Ramaswamy. An Ohio tech bro who was into ESG/“woke” criticism before it became the right’s rallying standard, Ramaswamy, 38, has never held elected office. Any hopes that he would prove to be a GOP equivalent of Andrew Yang, the Democratic candidate whose 2020 campaign earned an impressive following thanks to his cheerfully optimistic policy creativity, have been dashed by Ramaswamy’s penchant for right-wing crankery. That said, he does have something of the outsider’s gift for raising neglected issues, and he has developed something of a coherent campaign theme.
The former Arkansas governor (and former Clinton impeachment manager) is making a bid for the Never Trump and Trump-exhausted vote by openly criticizing the former president while maintaining an air of Southern gentility. He hasn’t yet cracked 1 percent in the polls.
If you find yourself saying “Who?” at this name, you’re not alone. But Burgum, the governor of North Dakota, is apparently poised to announce a bid. He’s a software founder with a bit of a Mitt Romney vibe and a pitch that, apart from a perfunctory gibe about “woke [being] what you did at 5 a.m.” to start choring, feels like a throwback to the GOP messaging of yesteryear. It’s nice to see a retro cover of what the Republican brand was.
I will enjoy this reminder of the GOP of yore up until Burgum inevitably drops out of the race. He just needs to formally declare first.