The student news site of Peddie School

The Peddie News

The student news site of Peddie School

The Peddie News

The student news site of Peddie School

The Peddie News

U.S. Presidential Primaries: Candidates, Competition, and Court Cases


January 15 marked the first presidential primary held this year. The primaries process will continue until July 15, the day on which the Republican candidate is announced. Polls predict that Trump will win the Republican nomination in a landslide victory. But even if he wins the nomination, his recent run-ins with the law may hinder his general election campaign.

Who are the Candidates for the 2024 Presidential Election?

On the Republican side, there are two candidates: Donald J. Trump and Nikki Haley. The former president has vowed to finish projects that did not come to fruition during his first term, such as completing the U.S.-Mexican border wall, implementing a 10% tax on all goods imported internationally, using the National Guard to crack down on crime, and slashing the Department of Education (which he claims would return educational power back to the states, a factually incorrect statement). Trump has also floated new ideas during his recent campaigning, including hiring a prosecutor to “go after the Biden crime family,” beginning the “largest domestic deportation operation in American history,” and allowing Russia to attack NATO countries that did not pay enough for defense. 

As of late, he and his team have been up to their necks in legal trouble. Trump has appeared several times in court to fight off allegations made against him and his campaign. 

What about Nikki Haley? Her beliefs are still heavily conservative, though certainly less radical than Trump’s. She stands in favor of a fifteen-week ban on abortion but also suggests that access to contraception technologies be increased. When it comes to issues of gun control, she encourages schools to hire police and mental health counselors but opposes laws that restrict citizens’ access to arms. Haley throws her support behind Ukraine in its war against Russia and Israel in its war against the Hamas terrorists. 

One of her favorite talking points is the “old” age of Trump and Biden. Haley has remarked repeatedly that both candidates are too senile to hold office, their mental acuity too unstable to lead the country. As she puts it in a campaign speech, “We’re ready…to move past the stale ideas and faded names of the past. And we are more than ready for a new generation to lead us into the future.”

On the Democratic side, there is one option only: current President Joseph R. Biden.

What is Happening in the Primaries?

Thus far, Donald Trump has won 63 delegates, while Haley trails with 17. (However, the only states to have held their primaries and/or caucuses are Iowa, New Hampshire, and Nevada.)  Candidates need 1,215 to win the Republican nomination. Joe Biden, of course, is leading the Democratic primaries with 91 delegates. He needs 1,968 delegates to win the nomination, but he faces no opposition. The next primary will take place on February 24 in South Carolina (Haley’s home state). Super Tuesday will take place on March 5, 2024. On that day, more than one-third of all delegates will be awarded to the candidates. Fifteen states and one territory will be holding their primaries then. California (169 delegates) and Texas (161 delegates) are among the states casting their votes on Super Tuesday. Often, the results of Super Tuesday decide the respective parties’ nominees before the rest of the states even vote. The New Jersey primary takes place on June 4 – it’s the third-to-last state to award delegates. Voters will enter the primary already knowing the probable outcome.

A poll conducted on February 13 by The Economist reveals that 90% of Republicans prefer Trump over Haley. It stands to reason that Trump will win the Republican nomination. But is he even eligible to run, considering the felony cases and civil suits against him?

An Overview of Trump’s Legal Escapades

In total, there are 91 felony counts, plus one civil suit, leveled against Trump, most of which could sentence him to time in prison. His appearances in court have both hurt his reputation and also cemented some voters’ allegiance.

In the fall of 2022, the New York Attorney General filed a civil suit against the former president, accusing him of committing tax fraud. The trial concluded in January, and the ruling will be delivered in mid-February. 

In May 2023, writer E. Jean Carrol brought two defamation suits against Trump, claiming that he had sexually assaulted her in the 1990s. The jury found Mr. Trump guilty of rape, and awarded over 80 million dollars to Carrol. 

In March 2023, Trump was accused of falsifying business records in order to conceal payments to someone with whom he’d had sexual relations. The trial will begin on March 25, and the verdict will be announced even later. 

Trump is also charged with 37 felonies in connection with his removing classified documents from the White House after he left office, and refusal to return them to the government. The trial date is set for May 20, 2024. However, if the trial date is pushed back, which it may be, a Republican president (if elected) is likely to dismiss the case before it’s heard. 

The Department of Justice is charging Trump for “election subversion”. The tentative court date is set for March 4, just one day before Super Tuesday. 

More than 30 states have filed cases to remove Trump from the 2024 ballot, citing his attempt to “steal” the 2020 election as a reason to do so. The timing of the decision has yet to be announced. 

The Constitution does not prohibit felons from taking office. In other words, Trump will remain eligible to run for president, even if convicted in a case. Whether a conviction will influence the public’s perception of him remains to be seen.

A poll conducted last week by Ipsos found that 52% of Republican voters would still vote for Trump, even if he were convicted of a felony. The same poll proposes that 46% of Republican voters would support Trump, even if he were serving time in prison.


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