Every Vote Counts: Looking into the 2024 Election

Daniel Perodin, Staff Writer

While this year is not titled an election year in the sense that no major state or federal elections will take place, local initiatives still make an appearance. However, 2023 will encounter extensive political activity leading up to the 2024 election. In 2024, Americans will vote for senators in 33 states, and for the presidency nationwide. 

In preparation for 2024, some politicians have already revealed their candidacies and launched their campaigns. Florida Sen. Rick Scott announced he was running for re-election in January. Gov. Ron DeSantis is predicted to run against former President Donald Trump for the Republican presidential nomination though DeSantis has not officially announced his candidacy yet. On Feb. 14, former South Carolina governor and Republican Nikki Haley announced her candidacy for president. Haley believes the Republican party requires change, and that new leadership is essential. This apparent shift was also echoed in Arkansas Republican governor Sara Huckabee Sanders’ response to President Joe Biden’s state of the Union, where, similar to Haley, Sanders called for the ushering in of the next generation of Republican leadership. The future of the Republican party remains unclear, but there are elements within the party that see a future without Trump.

Miami Palmetto Senior High School United States Government and Economics teacher Larry Schwarz believes this schism within the Republican party will hurt Trump’s chances of winning the nomination for president. 

“I think finally, a lot of things have caught up with him [Trump]. And I think people have lost faith in him. And even some of his staunchest supporters are starting to question whether he’s a good leader for the country. So I don’t think he’s going to win the nomination. I don’t know if I like the other choices either, but that’s for the American public to decide,” Schwarz said.

So far, the Democratic party seems to back Biden for the most part. It is yet to be seen if Biden can win the nomination, with a lot of time left until the primaries. 

“Personally, I question whether it makes sense to have somebody his [Biden’s] age, although he has all faculties and everything with him. Whether that is a risk because anybody can get ill, or suddenly pass, and then we would end up with Kamala Harris as president, and she hasn’t really proven herself, I do not think. I think that could make things more difficult if we had somebody who was inexperienced in the White House, so in the end, I do think he is going to get the nomination,” Schwarz said.

In Florida, the presidential preference primary will occur on March 19, 2024, the regular primary on April 20, 2024, and the presidential election on Nov. 5, 2024, across the 50 states.

The 2022 mid-term election was the last major election cycle. Republicans took control of the House of Representatives and Democrats held onto the Senate. Associate Director, Michael Santos, of U.S. Poverty Policy at RESULTS (an advocacy group heavily involved in elections) believes there will be some differences between the 2022 and 2024 elections, especially when it comes to voter turnout.

The 2022 midterm elections were interesting. Parties ran on a platform based on the economy and abortion rights. Democrats did really well despite losing the House of Representatives, which was already predicted. The economy will be front and center in the 2024 election. Depending on who the presidential candidates are, we’ll likely get a strong turnout (more so than the 2022 midterm elections because it’s a presidential election cycle),” Santos said.

Like every election, the outcome of the 2024 election will have a lasting impact on the country. 

Who wins the 2024 election will have a big impact on the quality of our lives. A lot is at stake — our democracy is more fragile than what most people think. Just look at what happened on January 6, 2021. Who wins can have a big say on how the government functions, its role in people’s lives. Who wins will have the power to shape our government — whether that’s on foreign policy and/or domestic issues like poverty,” Santos said.

For decades, students have had the opportunity to register to vote at MPSH. MPSH voting registration coordinator and U.S. History honors teacher Armando Gonzalez believes in the importance of voting, especially for students. Gonzalez took registered seniors on a field trip to vote during the 2022 mid-term election.

“This year I was able to take 18-year-old students to vote [who] were registered to vote at the district, and the Miami Heat provided the transportation, lunch and pep rally. If they do it again next year I will definitely do it again,” Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez was proud to witness students complete the major milestone of voting, their first major participation in democracy.

“When the students were in the bus it was great to see how they had researched the different candidates and referendums, so they were armed with the knowledge that many voters, unfortunately, are not. Registering students to vote for the last 23 years has been one of my greatest rewards and to be able to see them exercise that right was an inspirational moment. Of course, it is important for students to vote because they have the lowest percentage of voting once they have registered, yet they care about so many causes, and one of the easiest and best ways that they can make their issues a reality is by voting for candidates that believe in those causes,” Gonzalez said. 

Many students at MPSH will be eligible to vote in 2024. When those students get the chance to perform their civic duty they will have to take into account the different issues and candidates when casting their ballot. MPSH U.S. Government and Economics teacher Joel Soldinger believes in the importance of an inclusive democracy and says that preserving those principles takes priority over anything else when it comes to politics. 

To me, it seems that the traditional political debates – taxes, foreign policy, etc. – have faded into the background and the real issues are more fundamental – who gets to participate in democracy, who gets to participate in our economy, and who gets to participate in the so-called American dream,” Soldinger said.

Soldinger advises that students consider carefully when they cast their first ballot and stresses the importance of voting.

So while politics are very personal I would advise new voters to find the thing or things that matter most to them and choose the candidates that are going to fight for those things or embody those values. At the end of the day though – no matter where you stand on the issues – do not sit on the sidelines – stay informed and let your voice be heard,” Soldinger said.

With over a year until the presidential primary and the election, a lot can happen. The various candidates, issues, and factors to consider during voting may seem overwhelming, but the right to vote is sacred nonetheless. Now is the time for politicians to make their case and state their positions before the American people decide in 2024.