A Roadmap and Timetable for the 2024 US Presidential Elections - MRU

6 September, 2023
A Roadmap and Timetable for the 2024 US Presidential Elections

David Schultz, visiting lecturer at Mykolas Romeris University (MRU) and member of the MRU LAB Justice Research Laboratory, professor of political science at Hamline University in the USA, in his article talks about the algorithm and peculiarities of the 2024 presidential election.

The 2024 US presidential elections have unofficially started.  They will be unlike any presidential race in American history because they feature a former president and candidate for office Donald Trump who faces four criminal trials in 2024 with nearly one-hundred indictments. Normally one would argue that Trump has no chance of being re-elected president, but there is a possibility it could happen.

US presidential elections are perplexing both to those who are not Americans and even to its own people. It goes through several stages.  Stage one begins approximately two years before the real presidential election.  It starts sometime after what we call the midterm elections or the national elections that take place halfway into a presidential term.  The last midterm elections took place in November 2023.

After the midterm elections individuals wishing to run for president evaluate the election results and they begin to take steps to see if there is support for their candidacy. This first stage involves candidates taking steps to raise their name profile and prominence. It  begins the process of raising money, traveling to different states, formulating their issues and themes, and trying to gather media support.

Stage one is informal and there are no real rules to it.  It starts approximately two years before the real election simply because the US is such a large country and it is very expensive to run for the presidency.  It costs several billion US dollars to run a campaign.  Think of a presidential campaign as running a large corporation or business for two years where the product to be sold is the candidate. There are all kinds of costs associated with selling this product and it takes time to acquire the resources to run a campaign.

Stage one generally gets more serious in the beginning of September, such as around now.  Summer is over, school has started, and people in the US get back into a normal routine and they begin to pay attention to politics again.

Stage one will end in January 2024.  This is when both of the major US political parties, the Republicans and Democrats, begin the primary season.  This is stage two.  Stage two lasts until around late June 2024.  During stage two each party will hold primaries or caucuses in each of the fifty US stages.  The purpose here is to select the delegates who will attend the national party conventions and eventually pick their presidential candidates.  The primaries are ways for candidates to gather supporters and delegates to vote for them at the national conventions.

The primaries and caucuses serve as ways to test the political strength of candidates. Some candidates will drop out due to lack of money or support or some will do well. But think of this process as a way to narrow down the number of candidates running.

Going into 2024, Joe Biden is the only declared candidate for the Democratic Party and he should have no problem during stage two getting the nomination.  There are about ten individuals seeking the Republican nomination, with Donald Trump by far in the lead and as of now, looking certain to win the Republican nomination.

Stage two for the Republicans begins in Iowa on January15, 2024.  For the Democrats it begins on February 3, 2024 in South Carolina.

Stage two ends with the national party conventions. The Republican Convention will take place in Milwaukee, Wisconsin from July 15 to 18, 2024.  The Democrats will hold their convention in Chicago from August 19 to 22, 2024.

Stage three begins after the conventions but in reality not until September 2024.  This is the general election period.  Here the major parties have selected their candidates and now they begin the real campaign against one an other.  There may national debates. But mostly during this time the race for the presidency, because of the US electoral college and its way of picking the president, will come down to what happens in a few states including Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Michigan.  Most of the money, time, and candidate resource swill be focused in these few states.

Election day in 2024 is November 5, 2024.  However many states allow early voting, in some cases, 45 days before the election.  Candidates will thus be campaigning while voting is taking place.

Finally, stage four takes places after November 5, 2024.  States will finalize their votes, certify the election, and cast electoral votes.  The electoral votes will be cast on December 17, 2024/

Potentially there is a stage five that takes places on January 6, 2025, when Congress formally counts the electoral vote.

The US presidential process is long and confusing and it favors candidates with money, name recognition, and media coverage.  Right now all the polls suggest that it will be a rematch of Donald Trump and Joe Biden.   So far all of Trump’s have only helped him build support within his party but not with independent voters.  Large percentages of the American public do not trust Trump or Think is too old to be president.  Both are unpopular.  A lot can still happen before election day in the US. Stay tuned for more updates.