The first presidential primaries and caucuses are still more than a year away, but the next few months will see a series of major events in politics that will almost certainly have an impact in 2024.
Both Republicans and Democrats will make major decisions for their parties in the coming weeks, while a handful of states hold elections in November, giving political watchers an early preview of what next year will look like.
Here are five political events from this year that offer some clues for 2024:
Biden’s re-election announcement (date TBD)
One of the biggest questions facing Democrats over the past two years has been whether President Biden will seek re-election to the White House. And it’s becoming increasingly clear that he has every intention of doing so.
The president is expected to unveil his plan in the coming weeks, likely around the time of his State of the Union address in February.
If Biden ultimately pushes forward with a re-election bid, it could shut out other Democrats who might have White House ambitions. That could spare the party a potentially contentious 2024 primary and allow Biden to focus on preparing for re-election.
Biden will still enter his re-election campaign with some looming issues. At 80, he is already the oldest person to serve in the Oval Office. If he wins a second term in November 2024, he will be 82 by the time he is sworn in for a second term.
Of course, former President Trump is running for the White House again, and he is not much younger than Biden. One question that remains is whether Biden’s entry into the race will push Republicans toward a younger candidate who might be able to provide a sharper contrast to the incumbent.
Republican Winter Conference (January 25-27)
The Republican National Committee (RNC) will choose its next chairman when it meets later this month in Dana Point, California. While current leader Ronna McDaniel is seeking re-election to the top Republican organizing post, her re-election is “not as secure as she and her allies would like.”
McDaniel, who served as chairman for nearly six years, was handpicked by Trump for the job after his surprise victory in the 2016 presidential race.
But she faces mounting pressure from within the GOP following a poor showing in the 2022 midterm elections, when Republicans lost a chance to win back control of the Senate and won only a slim majority in the House. .
On Monday, the Alabama Republican Steering Committee issued a statement of no confidence in McDaniel, saying it would not support her re-election as RNC chairman.
Although McDaniel has earned a reputation in the Republican Party as one of the former president’s most ardent defenders, she faces challenges from two other Trump loyalists, Republican National Committee member Hammett Dillon and Pillow salesman Mike Lindell, who has become one of Trump’s most outspoken supporters, falsely claimed the 2020 election was against him.
Whoever emerges from the race will be tasked with leading the party committee in the 2024 presidential race. But the presence of Trump supporters in the race could complicate those in the Republican Party who believe the former president is at least partially responsible for the party’s current challenges.
Democratic Winter Conference (early February)
Top Democrats are advancing a plan to overhaul the party’s traditional presidential primary calendar, hoping to give more racially diverse states a bigger say in the nominating process.
The plan is set for a major vote early next month during the winter session of the full Democratic National Committee (DNC) in Philadelphia.
Under the new proposal, South Carolina would hold its primary on Feb. 3, 2024, replacing Iowa, which held its first presidential caucus in decades. New Hampshire and Nevada will follow on Feb. 6, followed by Georgia on Feb. 13 and Michigan on Feb. 27.
If the committee adopts the new proposal, it would revolutionize not only the traditional voting schedule, but also the way presidential candidates engage in the campaign.
Of course, there are still obstacles in the way. Two of the five states that fall under the proposed early primary window — Georgia and New Hampshire — have asked the DNC for an extension to try to meet the commission’s request to hold an early primary.
What’s more, Republicans have adopted their primary calendar, keeping the traditional order of Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada. That fact also makes it harder for Democrats to rearrange their schedules.
CPAC (March 1-4)
The annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) will return to Washington, DC in March after spending the past two years in Florida and Texas.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) is weighing his own 2024 campaign as Trump, who now lives in Florida, embarks on another presidential campaign, making for an important gathering of conservative activists and Republican officials Return to neutral territory.
Over the past few years, CPAC has become a mobilization rally for Trump and his Republican faction. A big question surrounding this year’s event, however, is whether it will take on a different tone.
First, Trump is no longer considered the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, with recent polls showing DeSantis ahead of the former president in the hypothetical primary. More importantly, the party is still grappling with the fallout from the 2022 midterm elections and whether Trump remains the best candidate to lead the GOP into the next election cycle.
Election Day 2023 (November 7)
Three states, Kentucky, Louisiana and Mississippi, will hold statewide elections this year. But the biggest bellwether is forming in Virginia, where voters will determine party control of their state legislature in November.
Virginia has been steadily shifting to the left in recent years. But that all changed in 2021, when Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R-Va.) defeated former Gov. Terry McAuliffe, giving Republicans a narrow majority in the state legislature.
This year, Republicans will not only try to retain their majority in the state House of Representatives, but also seize control of the state Senate, where Democrats hold little power. How these legislative races end may offer some clues about the political environment heading into 2024.
Meanwhile, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (Democrat) is seeking re-election in the governor’s mansion, and crowded Republicans are already scrambling to challenge him.
Beshear won his office in 2019 when he only narrowly defeated current former Gov. Matt Bevin (right). But the political climate at the time was more favorable for Democrats, and he was expected to face a tougher race this year.