The Student News Site of Elmwood Park High School

The Tiger

The Student News Site of Elmwood Park High School

The Tiger

The Student News Site of Elmwood Park High School

The Tiger

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Presidential Candidates


While most high-school students are yet to turn 18, making them ineligible, presidential elections still matter. Illinois’ primary election, an election that decides which candidates will represent their individual parties, took place on Tuesday, March 19th, 2024. This left Democratic incumbent Joe Biden, and former President Donald Trump as the sole Republican candidate. For the Independent party, there is Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Cornel West, and Jill Stein on the ballot for the November 5th, 2024 general election, which will decide who the President will be until 2028.

Between now and the November general election, the remaining candidates after the primary will be making their case to the nation’s voters as to why they should receive their vote, with the goal of differentiating themselves from other candidates. Researching elections can be overwhelming, especially with the strong media presence and influence. However, it is important to remain educated as there will likely be some misinformation and mutual defamation about each candidate and their beliefs. 

This article will highlight very broad policy positions and information about each candidate as a basic introduction to what each candidate stands for before the long road to the general election.

Understanding the political environment

The main two parties, Democratic and Republican, make up most of the political environment due to their longstanding history and popularity. Understanding the basic beliefs of each party is important because of inherent biases that misconstrue policy positions and don’t align with the general party. Each party’s policy positions are very broad, creating variations within parties, although they set clear distinctions from the conflicting side. 

Typically, candidates and voters who identify as Republicans advocate for stimulating economic growth through the market, protecting constitutional rights, maintaining national security through a strong national defense, and conservative, often religiously-backed, social policies. The term Republicans, rightists, and the far-right are often used interchangeably in the media, as a reference to someone with conservative views. However, the term far-right carries a negative connotation, alluding to people with extreme nationalistic beliefs like fascism and oppressive ideologies. This definition does not directly translate to the beliefs of all Republicans.

The other party, Democrats, advocate for social justice, economic equality, environmental protection, pro-immigration reform, and large welfare programs. Democrats, also commonly referred to as leftists, or far-left, often hold liberal or progressive views. Similar to far-right, the term far-left has a negative connotation, giving the implication of extreme revolutionary beliefs or communist ideologies. This over-generality misconstrues popular Democratic positions.

Independents also exist within this spectrum but refrain from committing themselves to a specific party for a variety of reasons. They typically don’t fit into the cookie-cutter boxes that the main two parties have established. Independent’s positions can vary from the main party by focusing on specific issues, existing in even farther right or left positions, or holding a combination of positions from both parties. 

Donald Trump

Former President Donald Trump is pictured above. According to an NBC poll, nearly two-thirds of Republican primary voters would vote for Donald Trump.

Former President Donald Trump is currently the only Republican Candidate. Trump served as the 45th president of the United States from 2017 to 2021. Prior to his presidency, Trump was a well-known businessman in real estate, entertainment, and hospitality. During his presidency, Donald Trump encountered constant controversy. He was impeached twice by the House of Representatives on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress in 2019, and with encouraging the post-Capitol riot in 2021. He was acquitted on all charges in the U.S. Senate but faces criminal charges stemming from actions before, during, and after his presidency. Due to his institution of COVID-19 stimulus checks, improved economy before and after the pandemic, anti-human trafficking stance, and firm America-First ideas, Trump maintains a dedicated support base which has left him as the final Republican standing in the general election for the third time and seeking election in his second non-consecutive term.

Trump’s Campaign Positions: 

  • Cease all programs that promote the concept of sex and gender transition at any age.
  • A national 16-week ban on abortion with exceptions for rape, incest and life of the mother.
  • Recovery of the economy post-pandemic, focusing on job creation, tax cuts, and deregulation.
  • Stricter border control measures and policies that curb illegal immigration.
  • Prioritize American interests in foreign affairs, by withdrawing from international agreements perceived as unfavorable to the US such as NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization), and maintaining a strong military presence.
  • Support for gun rights, and protection of religious freedoms.

Joe Biden

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks at the Democratic National Committee (DNC) summer meeting. Here, he calls former President Trump and his supporters a threat to democracy.

President Joe Biden is finishing up his first term as the 46th president of the United States this year. Beginning his federal political career in 1972, Biden was elected as a senator for the state of Delaware and remained in that position for 36 years. He ran for president twice before ultimately being elected as Vice President under Barack Obama for two terms. Biden has been known for his approach towards economic policies, immigration, foreign policy, and bipartisanship. Since becoming president, many argue his policies may have negative consequences for the economy, national security, and energy sectors. The House of Representatives formally launched an impeachment inquiry into the President which is still underway for allegedly using his position as president to financially benefit his son Hunter Biden. Additionally, concerns about the 81-year old’s cognitive ability were released, signaling a decline. The President and his administration have denied the validity of the reports. Despite this, Biden maintains support from within the Democratic Party through the cancellation of student debt, support for Ukraine, expanded contraceptive rights, renewable energy priority, environmental protections policies, and the improvement of relations with historical allies. As the incumbent president, meaning he currently holds office, Biden hopes to get re-elected for his second 4-year term as president.

Biden’s Campaign Positions:

  • Implementing measures to address climate change and promote clean energy initiatives.
  • Expanding access to healthcare, including strengthening the Affordable Care Act.
  • Pursuing criminal justice reform and addressing systemic racism.
  • Supporting immigration reform: a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.
  • Investing in education and workforce development programs.
  • Promoting unity and bipartisanship to address the nation’s challenges.


The three independent candidates are pictured above: Robert F. Kennedy (left), Cornel West (middle), and Jill Stein (right). According to a 2023 poll, 43% of Americans identify as independents, tying the 2014 record.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr, the nephew of former President John F. Kennedy is running as an Independent under the We The People Party after previously vying for the Democratic nomination. His policies include reducing student loans, lowering the U.S.’ military foreign involvement, and securing the U.S.-Mexico border while increasing legal immigration. He also holds strong pro-environment and anti-vaccine positions, with the latter holding large support from COVID-19 vaccine skeptics.

Cornel West is a philosopher, college professor, and activist running under the People’s Party. West’s positions include reducing climate change, canceling student loans, making state and community college free, increasing billionaires’ taxes, instituting a $27 federal minimum wage, reducing military funding, disbanding NATO, offering free healthcare, and establishing federal abortion rights.

Jill Stein is a longtime political candidate for the Green Party, having run for President in 2012 and 2016. Stein’s most adamant policy positions are in taking action to protect the climate but also has advocated for free public college and eliminating student loan debt, decreasing military spending, calling for a ceasefire in Israel, Medicare for All, and has expressed pro-abortion sentiments.

Works Cited:

The 2024 presidential candidates: Who’s running from both sides. (2024, March 11). NBC News. Retrieved March 17, 2024, from

‘A campaign for vengeance’: critics warn of a radical second Trump term. (n.d.). The Guardian. Retrieved March 17, 2024, from

BOAK, J., & KIM, M. (2024, February 8). Biden’s memory is ‘hazy’ and ‘poor,’ says a special counsel’s report. AP News. Retrieved March 18, 2024, from

Cornel West’s top policies: A 2024 presidential election guide. (n.d.). USA Today. Retrieved March 17, 2024, from

Fact check: Trump signed 2 executive orders against human trafficking. (2020, October 17). USA Today. Retrieved March 17, 2024, from

House GOP Biden inquiry stalls as impeachment becomes less likely. (n.d.). CNN. Retrieved March 18, 2024, from

Jill Stein’s top policies: A 2024 presidential election guide. (n.d.). USA Today. Retrieved March 17, 2024, from

Lerer, L. (2024, February 19). Trump Privately Expresses Support for a 16-Week Abortion Ban. The New York Times. Retrieved March 17, 2024, from

Republican Party | Definition, History, & Beliefs. (n.d.). Britannica. Retrieved March 17, 2024, from

Robert F. Kennedy’s top policies: A 2024 presidential election guide. (n.d.). USA Today. Retrieved March 17, 2024, from

Trump Administration Accomplishments – The White House. (n.d.). Trump White House. Retrieved March 17, 2024, from

Donald Trump: Life before the presidency. Miller Center. Retrieved March 17, 2024, from

Why Do “Left” And “Right” Mean Liberal And Conservative? (2022, August 9). Retrieved March 17, 2024, from

2024 presidential candidates on transgender healthcare. (n.d.). Ballotpedia. Retrieved March 17, 2024, from

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About the Contributor
Yeimi Alday
Yeimi Alday, Co-Editor
Hi! My name is Yeimi Alday. I'm a junior at Elmwood Park High School, and I am the co-editor of The Tiger. In school, I am the president of the Book & Film Club and a member of Key Club and National Honors Society. Outside of school, I am a violinist in The Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra and The People’s Music School. In college, I wish to major in Communications with minors in Business Administration and Music Education.
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