Image Courtesy of John Maggio

By John Maggio

In the Chinese calendar, every 12 years, there is a new animal to represent that entire calendar year based on a mythological story between the 12 animals. To China, 2024 will be that of the dragon. To the rest of the world, 2024 will be represented by something else: the ballot box.

In 2024, over 2 billion people will be voting in over 50 nations, a record number in modern times. This will include the United States (U.S.), Mexico, the European Union (EU), Russia, and the United Kingdom (UK). Elections that have taken place in 2023 may predict the outcomes of some of the coming elections next year. Some places are likely to shift right, others to the left, with others still up in the air as 2023 comes to a close.

The following are some key elections in the coming year.

The 2024 U.S. Presidential election, being held on November 5, will undoubtedly be one of, if not the, most important elections next year. Former President Donald Trump is the current frontrunner for the Republicans, with him likely getting the nomination for his party’s ticket. President Joe Biden essentially has the Democratic ticket locked. While this is looking to be a rematch of the 2020 Presidential Election, other factors may shake this up this time. Robert F. Kennedy Jr. (nephew of former President John F. Kennedy and son of the former Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy) is running as an Independent with no prior experience of holding public office and is currently polling higher in favorability rates than any other candidate. This is likely due to most Americans supporting a third party and the Kennedy family name. Trump is polling higher than Biden in 5 out of 6 key battleground states (Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, and Pennsylvania, while Biden leads in Wisconsin). Additionally, abortion will likely be a hot topic; since the overturning of Roe v. Wade, seven states have voted to protect abortion rights, including deep red states like Kansas.

Prime Minister (PM) Rishi Sunak of the UK has been in power for just over a year, with the Conservatives holding No. 10, Downing Street since 2010. In Politico’s Poll of Polls, they put the Conservatives 20 points behind Keir Starmer’s Labour Party. Elections in 2023 may have predicted Labour’s coming red wave as much as the polls have. The by-elections in 2023 were a massive failure for the ruling Conservatives, with notable losses at Mid Bedfordshire, Tamworth, Selby and Ainsty, and Somerton and Frome. While the Conservatives are facing a wide array of issues, it will be no surprise if the Starmer could have a larger Labour result than former PM Tony Blair’s “New Labour” in 1997.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskky has stated that the next presidential election, which would have been held in March of 2024, will be postponed due to the war with Russia.

Russia will also be holding an election. Given President Vladimir Putin’s control over the nation, his United Russia Party will likely stay in power, continuing his reign of power that first began in 1999.

Staying on the continent, the EU will hold its parliamentary election from June 6-9, 2024. This will be the first parliamentary election held since Brexit in 2020. This election will be a test for Europe, facing the biggest war since 1945, a wave of right-wing nationalism leading to Euroscepticism, and the growing global concern of China. Recent elections in Europe may predict the results in 2024. The election of Giorgia Meloni as PM of Italy, Spain’s incumbent President Pedro Sánchez returning after concession to the pro-Catalan separatist party, and an anti-Islamic right-wing populist known as the “Dutch Donald Trump” coming first in the Netherlands’s election are all bellwether elections that may dictate future electoral results.

Mexico will likely be electing its first female president in 2024. Claudia Sheinbuam of the left-wing incumbent MORENA party holds a major lead over her conservative rival, Xóchitl Gálvez. This election will take place on June 2, 2024.

With India, being the biggest democracy and nation with the largest population, its next election will decide the fate of over 1.4 billion people. PM Narendra Modi is looking for his third term in office, and polls suggest that it is likely. His main opponent, Mallikarjun Kharge, will be leading the India National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA for short), a broad tent coalition to remove Modi from power. India’s general election will be held sometime between April and May of next year.

One of the most decisive elections next year will be the Taiwanese presidential election. This could predict how China and the U.S. could react when it comes to Taiwan for the next few years. The pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is looking to continue its rule over the island, much to the dismay of mainland China. While the DPP was in power during the 2000s, there was a rise in Chinese aggression towards the island. It was so dangerous that then-US President George W. Bush had to tell Taiwan to shut down efforts for independence. The Kuomintang (KMT) is in favor of peaceful ties with China and is opposed to independence. A third party, the center-left Taiwan People’s Party (TPP), will make this a challenging three-horse race when voters go to the polls on January 13.
In the Chinese zodiac, the dragon represents power, success, and unparalleled excellence. Given that the 21st century is often dubbed the “Chinese Century,” this power and excellence for the growing superpower could be decided by some of these crucial elections in 2024.

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