2024 was everywhere on a holiday weekend marred by yet another numbing tragedy, midway through a year with enormous political implications.
Just recently, Vice President Kamala Harris appeared to take President Joe Biden back a step in terms of how soon they’ll announce their plans for a second campaign. And former President Donald Trump’s aides and associates moved him one step closer to a second presidential run, teasing an announcement that could come sooner rather than later.
California’s Democratic governor, Gavin Newsom, launched a costly political jab at Florida’s Republican governor, Ron DeSantis. That was based on the assumption that the latter is already running for president, though it fuels speculation that the former is interested as well.
The most recent Republican nominee before Trump, Utah Sen. Mitt Romney, wrote an essay for The Atlantic criticizing Biden for failing to break through a “national malady of denial, deceit, and distrust” and warning that a Trump re-election would “feed the sickness, probably rendering it incurable.”
That came just days after another prominent Republican Trump critic, who, like Romney, has a name familiar to national ticket voters, stated in an interview that she will “make a decision about ’24 down the road,” with a fresh perspective on the challenges of the present.
Cheney will face primary voters in Wyoming next month to defend her House seat against a Trump-backed challenger.
That’s a big race with a small reminder: No matter how much midterm elections rise and fall on their own dynamics, the next presidential campaign looms large over everything. While 2024 is a long way off, it has already begun, with more unknowns than perhaps any presidential race in modern history.
The Highland Park, Illinois, parade mass shooting occurred just days after a bipartisan anti-gun violence agreement was negotiated through a divided Congress and signed into law by Biden at the end of June, in the first major federal effort on the issue in decades.
At least six people were killed and dozens more injured in the shooting at an Independence Day parade in the Chicago suburb, according to law enforcement. Authorities recovered a rifle and went on to launch a hunt for the suspected gunman.
The parade shootings come on the heels of a string of other mass shootings in the United States this year, including a high-profile massacre of children at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, and the shooting of Black patrons and employees at a Buffalo, New York, grocery store by a suspected white supremacist.
The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which paired funding for social services and school security with modest firearm reforms such as supporting more “red flag” laws, strengthening the federal background check system, and restricting more domestic abusers from having weapons, broke three decades of stalled negotiations on gun safety.
After the parade shooting, President Biden said in a statement that the new law is important, but that there is “much more work to be done, and I’m not going to give up fighting the epidemic of gun violence.”
Additional restrictions and regulations will be nearly impossible to enact without either a larger Democratic majority in Congress following the midterm elections – in a year in which Biden’s approval has plummeted – or the support of at least a handful of Republican lawmakers, who are unlikely to bend on such a sensitive issue so close to election primaries and after long arguing such laws violate the Second Amendment.
During a surprise visit to a fire station in Santa Monica, California, on Monday, Harris told reporters that gun violence in the classroom had been on her mind.
County officials in Nevada completed a statewide recount in the nominating contest for governor on Friday, reaffirming that GOP candidate Joey Gilbert lost to Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo. This is the first significant example this election cycle of a Republican candidate using election fraud claims in a primary.
Following his June loss to Lombardo, Gilbert pushed false voter fraud claims. Then, on the day of the recount, Gilbert stood outside the Clark County Election Department, spreading lies about how ballots were counted.