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US presidential election: A look at candidates running for White House this year

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US presidential election: A look at candidates running for White House this year

President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump will face each other in the U.S. presidential election on Nov. 5 in what looks set to be a divisive, closely fought contest. Several third-party hopefuls are also running.

Donald Trump, in office from 2017-2021, has secured enough delegates to clinch the Republican nomination, setting up the first presidential rematch in nearly 70 years. Biden faced no serious challenger for the party's nomination, which he clinched in March.(AFP)
Donald Trump, in office from 2017-2021, has secured enough delegates to clinch the Republican nomination, setting up the first presidential rematch in nearly 70 years. Biden faced no serious challenger for the party’s nomination, which he clinched in March.(AFP)

Here is a list of the candidates:

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REPUBLICAN PARTY

Donald Trump, in office from 2017-2021, has secured enough delegates to clinch the Republican nomination, setting up the first presidential rematch in nearly 70 years.

He has leveraged his unprecedented legal challenges to solidify support among his base and has cast his third bid for the White House in part as retribution against perceived political enemies. He calls supporters jailed for the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol “hostages” and campaigns using increasingly dystopian rhetoric. He has refused to commit to accepting the election results or to rule out possible violence around the Nov. 5 contest, and is already laying the groundwork to contest his potential election loss.

Trump, 77, faces 88 charges in four criminal cases over efforts to subvert the 2020 election, retaining classified documents after leaving office and alleged efforts to cover up a hush money payment to a porn star.

He denies wrongdoing in all the cases, including the New York hush-money criminal trial, which could be the only one to begin before the Nov. 5 election.

He has called the charges a Democratic conspiracy to prevent him from winning. The U.S. Justice Department denies any political interference. If elected to another four-year term, Trump has vowed revenge on his political enemies and said he would not be a dictator except “on day one,” later calling that “a joke.” He also wants the power to replace federal civil service workers with loyalists. Trump sparked criticism from Western leaders for saying the U.S. would not defend NATO members that did not spend enough on defense and would encourage Russia to attack them. He also pressed congressional Republicans to stall military aid for Ukraine before later reversing course. Trump has made immigration his top domestic campaign issue, declaring he would carry out mass deportations, utilize the National Guard and possibly federal troops, end birthright citizenship, and expand a travel ban on people from certain countries. He has referred to migrants as “animals” and has not ruled out building detention camps on U.S. soil. On abortion, Trump takes credit for the U.S. Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade and has said it should remain a state issue. While he has criticized some Republican-led state actions such as Florida’s six-week abortion ban, he said he would allow Republican-led states to track women’s pregnancies and prosecute those who violate their state bans.

He had promised to eliminate Obamacare health insurance before saying in an April 11 video that he would not “terminate” it. He has also vowed to undo much of the Biden administration’s work to fight climate change. Trump has yet to announce a vice presidential running mate, but several possibilities have been floated. Mike Pence, who ran alongside Trump in 2016 and 2020 but was targeted by Trump and his supporters amid the Jan. 6 attack, refused to endorse him in November’s contest.

DEMOCRATIC PARTY

JOE BIDEN Biden launched his 2020 candidacy as an urgent bid to defend American liberties and protect democracy and has cast his reelection bid in the same light, saying Trump threatens the future of American democracy.

Biden faced no serious challenger for the party’s nomination, which he clinched in March. November’s election will be much tougher, with the most recent Reuters/Ipsos poll putting both Biden and Trump’s voter support at 40% of registered voters. Other polling shows the incumbent trailing Trump in crucial battleground states. Biden, already the oldest U.S. president ever at 81, must convince voters he is more fit for office than Trump, who is just four years younger, while combating low approval ratings.

The economy will also factor in Biden’s reelection campaign. While the U.S. escaped an anticipated recession and is growing faster than economists expected, inflation and the cost of essentials are weighing on voters. Biden pushed through massive economic stimulus and infrastructure spending packages to boost U.S. industrial output, but has received little recognition from voters so far as his campaign moves to highlight new semiconductor manufacturing plants, housing plans and other economic efforts. Biden has said he wants to compete with China, not launch a trade war, and moved to keep tariffs put in place by Trump while ratcheting up others on an array of Chinese imports. Two labor groups, the United Auto Workers union and the North America’s Building Trade Union, have endorsed his reelection bid with Vice President Kamala Harris. Biden’s handling of immigration policy has been criticized by Republicans and Democrats as migrant crossings at the U.S.-Mexico border hit record highs. He has led the response of Western governments to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, persuading allies to punish Russia and support Kyiv, and secured additional funding in April after a months-long battle with congressional Republicans. Biden has also provided military aid to Israel in its conflict with Hamas while urging more humanitarian assistance, but he has faced sharp criticism from some Democrats over his handling of both the war in Gaza and the U.S. campus protests against it that Reuters/Ipsos polling shows has divided the party. In May, Biden paused shipments of certain weapons to Israel amid continued efforts to pursue a ceasefire, while Israel has vowed a ground operation in Rafah.

MARIANNE WILLIAMSON Best-selling author and self-help guru Marianne Williamson, 71, relaunched her long-shot 2024 presidential bid focusing on “justice and love” less than one month after dropping out.

In a February statement, she said she was getting back in to fight Trump’s “dark and authoritarian vision” after earlier suspending it because she was losing “the horse race.”

Williamson previously ran as a Democrat in the 2020 presidential primary but dropped out of that race before any votes were cast.

INDEPENDENTS

ROBERT F. KENNEDY JR

An anti-vaccine activist and environmental advocate, Kennedy, 70, is running as an independent after initially challenging Biden for the Democratic nomination. While he lags in overall polling, Kennedy could siphon votes from Trump and Biden, with the latest Reuters/Ipsos poll showing he was backed by 8% of registered voters, a seven-percentage-point drop from March. The son of U.S. Senator Robert F. Kennedy, who was assassinated in 1968 during his own presidential bid, Kennedy has drawn rebukes from his famous family, which has publicly backed Biden. Kennedy, who chose wealthy lawyer Nicole Shanahan as his running mate, supports Israel and has questioned a six-week ceasefire backed by Biden.

He said he views the U.S. southern border situation as a humanitarian crisis and opposes Trump’s border wall. He has also vowed to repeal parts of Biden’s climate bill over tax breaks he says help the oil industry. Kennedy has taken different positions on abortion rights, including restrictions on when a woman can access an abortion. He told Reuters he thought every abortion was a “tragedy” but that it should be a woman’s right “throughout the pregnancy.” He has been criticized for making false medical claims over the years on vaccines but says he would still allow Americans to have access to them. He himself had a brain worm more than a decade ago but has fully recovered, his campaign said in May.

Kennedy’s campaign has said he is officially on the ballot in a handful of states so far, including California, Michigan and Utah, although he faces a challenging, costly battle to be listed in all 50.

CORNEL WEST

The political activist, philosopher and academic is making a third-party bid for president that is most likely to appeal to progressive, Democratic-leaning voters.

West, 70, initially ran as a Green Party candidate but, in October, he said people “want good policies over partisan politics” and announced his bid as an independent. He has promised to end poverty and guarantee housing.

JILL STEIN

Jill Stein, a physician who ran under the Green Party in 2016, is trying once again in 2024.

She launched her current campaign accusing Democrats of betraying their promises “for working people, youth and the climate again and again – while Republicans don’t even make such promises in the first place.”

Stein, 73, raised millions of dollars for recounts after Trump’s surprise 2016 victory. Her allegations yielded only one electoral review in Wisconsin, which showed Trump had won. (Reporting by Costas Pitas and Susan Heavey; additional reporting by Jarrett Renshaw and Stephanie Kelly; Editing by Ross Colvin, Daniel Wallis, Rosalba O’Brien and Jonathan Oatis)

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