Beyond the Ballot: Current primary status and general election information

Beyond the Ballot is written by Justin Yoo, Pascack Hills sophomore and Vice President of the Politics Club. Social media handles feature @phhspolitics_ ( and @phhspolitics (Instagram).
Thomas Samouhos
Thomas Samouhos
Current primary status: general election information
Current primary status: general election information

Welcome to the first edition of “Beyond the Ballot,” a column presented and created by the PHHS Politics Club. This column will explore electoral information, congressional controversies, along with whatever the team cooks up! Stay tuned for biweekly updates from your new news source. This first article will feature a general overview of the current electoral landscape. 

The 2024 election will prove to be the most controversial and exciting one of perhaps the last decade. A question posed by many in the months leading to the beginning of this year was: “Who’ll be running?” The Democratic and Republican primaries hold the answer.

A rematch of 2020? Or perhaps a new contender? This electoral season began with a fiery showing from the Republicans, which saw the rise of many up-and-coming politicians, who sought to challenge former President Donald Trump for the candidacy. The most notable anti-Trump dissident was Chris Christie, former Governor of New Jersey. 

On the Democratic side, the most prominent competitor was Robert F. Kennedy Jr, 70, nephew of former president John F. Kennedy. However, after Oct. 9, 2023, he made the announcement that he would be running as an independent candidate, unrelated to the Democratic party. 

This has been hugely successful, with high estimates showing that he takes up to 22% of the vote based on polling data from November. Polls from January via ABC3340 show that he has the highest favorability ratings, a solid 11% above the incumbent Joe Biden. 


On the Republican front, there have been serious changes over the past few weeks regarding candidacy. Here’s the biggest shifts in order:

  • Tim Scott, 58, junior Senator from South Carolina, dropped out on Nov. 12, 2023. 
  • Doug Burgum, 67, the current Governor of North Dakota, dropped out on Dec. 4. 
  • Chris Christie, 61, the former Governor of New Jersey, dropped out on Jan. 10.
  • Vivek Ramaswamy, 38, a young self-funded entrepreneur, dropped out on Jan. 15.
  • Asa Hutchinson, 73, the former Governor of Arkansas, dropped out of the race on Jan. 16. 
  • Ronald DeSantis, 45, the current Governor of Florida, and the second most popular candidate, dropped out on Jan. 21.

The remaining candidate, Nimarata Nikki Haley, 52, has maintained support and is set to become the 2nd place candidate. However, recent polls have suggested that an endorsement or dropout may occur due to the fact that of the 50 delegates in South Carolina, she only won 3. 

This major loss in her home state may discourage the campaign. Vivek Ramaswamy has given his full support and endorsement for Donald Trump, showing a will to consolidate power to one candidate, save for Nikki Haley. 

Governor DeSantis gave an explanation that he could not continue his campaign “without a clear path to victory.” Amidst his exit, he stated his reasoning for endorsing Donald Trump. 

“While I’ve had disagreements with Donald Trump, such as on the coronavirus pandemic and his elevation of Anthony Fauci, Trump is superior to the current incumbent Joe Biden,” he said. 

Trump, now age 77, responded by pulling back previous blows against his first major competitor, including the nickname Ron “Desanctimonious.” Once again, the consolidation of resources into one Republican candidate is showing. 

Trump, who leads the current primaries 110-20 in delegates, is the candidate with the most momentum in the GOP. Nikki Haley, who is trailing by a very large amount, still has prospects for a candidacy given the murky waters surrounding Donald Trump’s legal struggles.


The Democrats, being the incumbent party, have consolidated support for President Joe Biden, now age 81, who is vying for a second term in the White House. RFK Jr, as stated, has dropped out, leaving the only viable competitor as Dean Phillips, who is polling at approximately 4-20% over various data points. However, his success has been minimal and there seems to be no real threat towards the Biden reelection campaign. 

Joe Biden, the incumbent, has been facing fire for his policy on the border, economy, and the Middle East as of late. This reflects the approval rates, which have been hovering around 40% over the last two years. 40% is shockingly low for an incumbent President, and signals that there may be some turbulence ahead in the reelection campaign. 

Many voters cite age as the main issue, with the President’s mental and physical ailments increasing as he turns 82 this year. Recent general election polls reflect this, with various polls showing Trump tied to or beating Biden. Of course, this may not reflect the whole populus, especially with the DOJ of the Biden administration zeroing in on persecuting Trump for cases such as the Mar-A-Lago document mishandling fiasco.

Author Marianne Williamson has unsuspended her campaign following a 3rd place victory in the Michigan primaries. The Michigan primaries have been especially rough for the incumbent President, who seems to be facing backlash for his unwavering support of Israel in the conflict in the Gaza Strip. 

Nearly 110,000 voters chose to vote uncommitted as part of a new movement which promises to discredit Joe Biden so long as greater restrictions are not applied upon the Israeli military. Whether this will prove to significantly change the results of the general or primary election is doubtful, but this occurrence shows disjunction and disunity within the Democratic party. 

In addition, the Vice President, Kamala Harris, has favorability ratings that more or less resemble her superiors’, with a meager 36.4% approval rating, according to the 538 project polling data.


In conclusion, the current status of both primaries indicate a fierce and fiery rematch of the 2020 presidential election featuring Joe Biden and Donald Trump. Joe Biden, the uncontested incumbent, and Donald Trump, the controversial challenger, look to secure their respective second terms. 

If Donald Trump were to win, he would make electoral history by being the second ever President to have two nonconsecutive terms, after Grover Cleveland. Detractors from both sides have legitimate claims against the other: Biden for his irresponsible border management and his age, and Trump for his pugnacious posts and anti-immigrant rhetoric. 

Stay tuned for more Beyond the Ballot updates on polls and politics! 

Beyond the Ballot is written by Justin Yoo, Pascack Hills sophomore and Vice President of the Politics Club. Social media handles feature @phhspolitics_ ( and @phhspolitics (Instagram).

Sources: days%2C%20DeSantis%20 leaned%20 toward,for%20 Haley%20in%20New%20 Hampshire

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Justin Yoo
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Beyond the Ballot is written by Justin Yoo, Pascack Hills sophomore and Vice President of the PHHS Politics Club. Social media handles feature @phhspolitics_ ( and @phhspolitics (Instagram).

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