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World's most powerful office

The US presidential electoral contest elicits the greatest interest globally, and the 2024 engagement will hopefully be no different
11:12 PM Jan 25, 2024 IST | Guest Contributor
world s most powerful office
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WHILE only nearly 300 days are left for the U.S. presidential election, scheduled for November 5, 2024, the two major political parties are still not clear who will be the two contenders for the world’s this most powerful office.

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Though America’s ruling Democratic Party’s current sitting president, Joseph Robinette Biden Jr., has declared his firm determination to seek a second term despite numerous doubts of his deteriorating health; arguably all because of his advancing age (he turned 81, as of November 20, 2023) and causing serious concerns about his being able to stand up to the swelling multiple burdens of  Washington’s widespread political involvement in global affairs.

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Therefore, because of Joe Biden’s steadfast announcement to contest for a second term of his presidency in the November 2024 presidential election, worried American voters have questioned whether he will finish the second term; for, if he’s re-elected, he’ll be 86 by the conclusion of his second term. That will make Biden the oldest functioning American president in history.

Meanwhile, the opposition Republican Party’s primary debates to select its official nominee to face the Democratic Party’s Joe Biden are still in process and may be finalized by early May 2024. Therefore, the five Republican contenders, from among whom one will be selected to contest for the nation’s highest office are: the former President Donald J. Trump; Ron DeSantis, governor of Florida, Chris Christie, the former governor of New Jersey. In addition, for the first in the US presidential election contest history are two Indian-Americans: Nikki Haley and Vivek Ramaswamy, business entrepreneur.

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Meanwhile, four-time indicted, twice-impeached and deemed outright unfit to be  elected again, ex-president, Donald J. Trump who has expressed his intention to jump in the field, is highly popular among ordinary common American voters. Currently, he enjoys the highest approval rating of 65% among all the rest four contenders for the nation’s top office. Though the 74-year-old Trump is facing a battery of court cases: a total of some ninety plus court suits: both criminal and civil. In addition, Trump is bound by the two court gag orders, and defamation fines amounting to millions. And that’s not the end….more in the pipeline.

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According to some recent surveys, Indian-American Nikki Haley stands at number two position with her approval rating being over 29%, though this keeps mounting fast forward every day. (Incidentally, Ms. Haley is the second ever India-origin, ex- governor of the US state of South Carolina; the first was Piyush Bobby Jindal of Louisiana. Both are US-born and converted to Christianity in the US. Ron DeSantis is very close to Nikki Haley and is seen likely capturing the second position soon.

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Ms. Nikki Haley, born in South Carolina, January 20, 1972, a daughter of a Sikh immigrant family as Namrata Randhawa, converted Christian, married (1996), with a US army Major veteran, William Michael Haley, her college classmate. They have two grown up children, son Nalin and daughter Rena. Nikki is a two-term four-year  elected former governor of South Carolina. Nikki Haley is also the former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations.

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Be as it may, Haley is an exceedingly popular and an extraordinarily strong contender for the nation’s highest office. The Nikki Haley poll campaign is adequately and fully staffed and richly-funded. Nikki has received profound and generous financial support from GOP’s many usual donors, such as the Koch brothers—Charles and David. They are also believed to have pledged $70 million for now, and more may follow later.

A highly outwardly strong critic of the former President Donald Trump; Nikki Haley did not approve many of her former boss’s actions and political statements on several national and international issues, such as economic support to Ukraine, over the year-long Russia-Ukraine war, etc. In the Republican Party’s five primary debates, fifth on Monday, January 15, for nomination, Haley has been a drastic censurer of all her rivals; and especially the Indian-American candidate, 38-year-old Vivek Ramaswamy, aggressive, successful millionaire, biotech entrepreneur. While participating in the nomination debates, Vivek has often exchanged many offensive, even putrid, unpleasant words against both Nikki and Ron DeSantis. Outside the debate, young, dashing, irrepressible Vivek, handsome, flamboyant Vivek has also faced most ‘boos’ when he tried to dig deep holes into the Haley children’s personal life and conduct.

Nikki Haley is a downright profound foreign policy whiz; her two-year stint at the U.N. as the US Ambassador, sharpened her foreign conversance and negotiation skills that will stand her in good stead if she makes it to the White House. Nikki’s views on the currently on-going Israel-Hamas war are widely considered tough and radical: ‘Finish them,’ she told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after the Hamas’s October 7 ‘horrific attack’. And, as it has been reported, the people of her home state of South Carolina have profusely backed Haley for her actions and support to Israel. Her support to Israel is said to have drawn abundant admiration. Also, more donations to her campaign fund have flowed in. Till 30 September 2023, the Haley campaign had received donations totaling $11 million. A ‘steady increase’ (in poll donations) for the campaign has been reported over until December-end 2023..

A New York Times commentator opined recently about the Nikki Haley campaign strategy thus: “Ms. Haley is going hard with the message that she is the face of America’s new generation, unburdened by Trumpian drama, and unlike Florida  governor Ron DeSantis, able to unite rather than divide Americans to get things done…Pragmatism has been a central theme in her strong debate showings.’’ Haley’s approval ratings are inflating by the hour.  Also, she’s ‘walking a clearer, cleaner path than her nearest rival, Mr. DeSantis’s.’’ Nikki Haley’s three other GOP adversaries, Tim Scott, Mike Pence, Trump’s former vice-president and New Jersey ex-Governor Chris Christie, have all already withdrawn from the contest.

Haley’s poll campaign managers are doing a great job: they’re conducting the election prudently, economically and smartly. So far, Nikki Haley’s campaign is learned to have spent more than $70 million on advertising in primaries-voting states. More poll donations are expected to stream in fast as Haley’s primary debates’ performances are winning her flying high with abundant encomiums. Watching and listening to Haley’s debate management is considered praiseworthy. A retired senior citizen Kriss Davis, whom I happened to confront recently at the senior Activity and Recreation Center of Bloomington, Illinois. Kriss Davis spoke approvingly of her primaries debate performances; he did not think Trump would win the 2024 presidential run. Some other wise senior citizens also didn’t seem keen following Republican Party’s primary nomination debate, declined to discuss the presidential electoral battle.

Governor Ron DeSantis is the 46th governor of Florida, a former Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives for six years, is being placed at third position in approval ratings. after Nikki Haley. Though he doesn’t impress you first time, he’s currently at number two after Donald Trump. The 46-year-old Ron DeSantis, a father of four, is a proud Christian and has served the US navy as lieutenant for four years. Meanwhile, as the general Republican Party trend has eminently shown, most diehard American citizens, particularly those in the rural areas are committed Republicans, would vote for Trump at any rate a Republican.

Finally, former president Donald Trump, a celebrated hi-fi GOP candidate, is a strong, robust, confident, to win a second term of his presidency, though he has declined to participate in any primaries so far. This is believed to be a high sign of his insolence, arrogance, impudence and overconfidence that there’s no one among the current lot of GOP contenders who can compete him to win, and that he alone can defeat Joe Biden, the likely Democratic Party nominee.

In any case, the U S presidential electoral contest elicits the greatest interest globally, and the 2024 engagement will hopefully be no different.

By Prof. M. R. Dua

R. Dua, former professor-head, journalism department, Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC), New Delhi, and  an ex-faculty Journalism, California State  University, US.

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