The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

In-Depth: Looking 2024-ward

Carissa Lai

Elections

Notable Dates

  • July 15-18: Republican National Convention
  • August 19-22: Democratic National Convention
  • September 16: First Presidential Debate
  • September 25: First VP Debate
  • October 1: Second Presidential Debate
  • October 9: Third Presidential Debate

In November, the American people will be voting for the 47th President of the United States. According to a poll conducted by the Associated Press, roughly 62 percent of Americans believe that the United States’s democracy relies on who will win in the fall. Despite these results, the country remains divided on who they want to take the Presidency — it seems likely that President Joe Biden and Former President Donald Trump will go head-to-head for the second presidential election in a row. 

However, some candidates have pushed for the Democratic and Republican nominations, respectively, attempting to build up their names and ultimately dethrone Biden and Trump. Here is an overview of the current top political candidates and updates as the elections draw nearer.

Democrats

Incumbent President Joe Biden

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When he took office in January 2021 with former Senator Kamala Harris as his Vice President, President Joe Biden hoped to mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic and its fallout, as well as fight converging economic, climate and racial crises in the United States. Biden is a widely unpopular president — only 39 percent of Americans approve of him on average, according to FiveThirtyEight — but he’s expected to sweep the Democratic nomination. 

However, as the elections approach, some Americans have reservations about his re-election. He’s currently the oldest President in United States history — at 81 years old — and a Reuters/Ipsos poll finds that three-quarters of Americans think he’s too old to work in government. Regardless, the Democratic Party remains supportive of his campaign, refusing to schedule debates and largely treating him as the presumptive nominee.

Marianne Williamson and Dean Philips

Marianne Williamson is an American politician and self-help author from Houston, Texas. She ran for the 2020 Democratic nomination for the presidential election, but eventually dropped out and campaigned for U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders. She is currently campaigning on increasing the federal minimum wage, tackling climate change, and establishing a U.S. Department of Peace. She’s currently polling at around 5 percent nationally. 

Dean Phillips, a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, is also running a longshot campaign against Biden. His argument is predicated on Biden’s unpopularity — he believes that Biden had good policies but that he’s the only candidate with a chance of beating Trump. Phillips has presented himself as a younger alternative to President Biden, acknowledging continuous issues of “the nation’s debt, military spending and high taxes.” That promise is complicated by the fact that he’s polling at roughly 3 percent.

States and Statistics: Do Phillips and Williamson stand a chance against Biden?

In recent weeks, states like Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina have held the nation’s first presidential primaries throughout the first months of 2024. In those states, and all others, Biden is far ahead. Biden had the toughest race in New Hampshire, where primaries occurred on Tuesday, January 23 — due to disputes between the state and the national Democratic Party, Biden didn’t appear on the ballot. However, Biden still won 55 percent of the votes due to a sustained write-in campaign, while Phillips came second with 19.5 percent and Williamson placed far behind at 4.6 percent.

Biden is running as an uncontested candidate — he mentions Trump in campaign speeches far more than his Democratic rivals — and he largely is. Neither Phillips nor Williamson have much of a path to the nomination.

Republicans

Former President Donald Trump

After leaving the Oval Office in January 2021, Trump’s name never quite left the news. Now, Trump is one of the most untraditional Presidential candidates in American history — even though he’s facing 91 criminal charges and legitimate Constitutional challenges to the validity of his campaign, he’s still far and away the front-runner for the Republican nomination. 

Despite his struggles, from being found civilly liable for sexual assault to being charged for allegedly mishandling classified information and attempting to overturn the 2020 election, Trump’s supporters across the country remain committed to him as he runs for re-election in the fall. He isn’t campaigning on a set of policies as much as on himself — Trump is a force of personality within the Republican primary, and even when his opinions have been out of line with Republican orthodoxy, he hasn’t lost much support. 

Nikki Haley and Ryan Binkley

Nikki Haley — the last major Republican challenging Trump for the nomination — served as the Ambassador to the United Nations under Trump and the governor of South Carolina before that. Haley is a traditional conservative in her policy opinions: she supports sending troops across the Mexican border to fight drug cartels, supports anti-abortion and anti-LGBTQ+ legislation and wants to repeal many federal taxes. Throughout much of 2023, her campaign rarely garnered more than five percent support, but strong debate performances enhanced her name recognition and popularity among Republicans and independents. She’s still polling roughly sixty points below Trump and is expected to lose her fight for the nomination. 

Ryan Binkley, a businessman and pastor from Texas, is also in the race but is widely seen as a non-serious contender. His main policies include reforms to immigration and equalizing the federal budget. 

States and Statistics: Trump versus Haley

When the New Hampshire polls closed on January 23, Trump swept his competition, receiving more than half of the New Hampshire votes at 53.3 percent, with Haley not too far behind at 43.2 percent. In Iowa, he won by 51 percent, with former Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (who has since dropped out) placing a distant second and Haley trailing him closely for third place. 

After routing all other candidates in New Hampshire, Trump held a victory party where he proceeded to make comments and insults toward his adversary. 

“Let’s not have someone take a victory when she had a very bad night,” Trump said. “Just a little note to Nikki: She’s not going to win.”

Stats and Statistics: Trump vs Biden

Because the 2024 Presidential race is largely expected to materialize into a matchup between Trump and Biden, some pollsters have begun assessing the potential result in a rematch between the two — and, so far, it seems to be a tossup. According to FiveThirtyEight, Trump is leading in many of the most recent polls, but rarely by much; there are months until the race, and it’s close enough that anything could happen this November.

Super Bowl

On Sunday, February 11, the National Football League will host the 2024 Super Bowl  LVIII in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Talon polled Los Altos High School students at the start of the playoffs on their predictions for the highly anticipated matchup. LAHS students correctly predicted not only who would be the four remaining teams, but correctly predicted who would play in the Super Bowl this season. The San Francisco 49ers were predicted by 82 percent to win the NFC. The Kansas City Chiefs were predicted to win the AFC by 43 percent of the respondents and the Baltimore Ravens trailing behind at just 37 percent to represent the conference. Here’s an overview of the stakes for LAHS’s correctly predicted top-four teams, ultimately represented by the Niners vs. the Chiefs in the Super Bowl match-up.

49ers – Remaining ‘Faithful to The Bay’

After the 49ers’ close 21-24 win against the Green Bay Packers, Niners’ fans were pumped up and ready to battle the Detroit Lions in the Conference Championships. In an exciting battle, the Niners rallied from a 17-point halftime deficit to score 27 unanswered points and win 34-31. A turning point was wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk’s 51-yard reception in the third quarter that Aiyuk corralled after it ricocheted off a Lions defender’s face mask. The 17-point rally tied the league record for the largest comeback in a conference championship game, tying a Niner 17-point rally against the Atlanta Falcons in 2012. 

Before the NFC Conference Championship, the Niners’ wide receiver and fan favorite Deebo Samuel was out with a shoulder injury after taking a hit during the first half of the Packers game; fans feared he might be out of the game. However, last Friday, January 26, Samuel got the clear that he was ready to play. 

“A game like this, you’ve got to put everything on the line,” Samuel said in an interview with ESPN before the Detriot game. “We’ve been here four out of the last five years; three years we fell short, and one year we fell short in the Super Bowl.”

Against Detroit, Samuel had eight catches for 89 yards. Now, fans and teammates look to quarterback Brock Purdy, who earned his way up from the title of “Mr. Irrelevant” in the final pick of the NFL draft in 2022 to a top candidate for MVP. With the victory against the Lions, the Niners will return to the Super Bowl for the eighth time and their first since 2019. The Niners are looking to hoist the Lombardi trophy for the sixth time.

Chiefs – Defending Super Bowl Champions Try To Repeat

The Kansas City Chiefs have dominated the past few seasons of the NFL, holding the title of the 2023 NFL Champions against the Philadelphia Eagles and previously in 2019 when they defeated the San Francisco 49ers. Led by star quarterback Patrick Mahomes, a two-time regular season and Super Bowl MVP, the Chiefs entered the 2024 Conference Championships for their sixth straight year against the Baltimore Ravens as the number-one seed in the AFC West with a 13-6 record. 

The Chiefs played on the road against the Baltimore Ravens, putting them just one game away from securing a spot in Super Bowl LVIII, marking their fourth appearance within the past five years. Despite their recent dominance, the Chiefs are ranked ninth in total offensive yards (351.3 yards) and 15th in scoring points. 

Playing the AFC Championship game on the road for the first time, Patrick Mahomes matched up against presumptive 2023 MVP Lamar Jackson. Mahomes methodically led his team to a 17-10 victory, completing 21 of 39 passes for 239 yards. Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker added three points to earn his team a ten-point lead when he kicked a 52-yard field goal to wrap up the first half of the game. 

After securing the title of AFC Champions, the Chiefs will make an appearance in the Super Bowl XLVIII against the San Francisco 49ers on February 11. 

Ravens – Attempt to Dethrone the Defending Champions (and Swifties)

The Baltimore Ravens, led by quarterback Lamar Jackson, defeated the Houston Texans in the 2024 Divisional Championships (34-10). They then faced the Kansas City Chiefs in their first Conference Championships since 2012. 

This season, the Ravens have rallied against an intimidating line-up, scoring at least 14 points in each of their last four wins. According to CBS, the Ravens have also demonstrated the best rushing attacks in this NFL season, averaging 156.5 yards on the ground per game.

Although 37 percent of polled LAHS students predicted the Ravens winning the Superbowl, the team was unable to perform their best in their final game, losing 17-10 against the Chiefs. A key play was a fumble by Zay Flowers in the fourth quarter, a Ravens wide receiver who was also flagged for taunting a Chiefs cornerback after a 54-yard catch. 

Jackson struggled in trying to comeback against the Chiefs, throwing a fourth-quarter interception in the Kansas City endzone that ended a late drive.

Lions – Michigan champs take a stab at the Super Bowl

After an exciting 31-23 win against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Detroit Lions played a highly-anticipated and well-matched game against the San Francisco 49ers in the Conference Championships. The Lions, the number-three seed, received an exceedingly low number of votes from LAHS students at 9 percent. 

The Lion’s potent big-play offense is arguably their greatest strength, consisting of key players such as wide receivers Amon-Ra St. Brown, Jahmyr Ghibbs and Jameson Williams, allowing them to physically dominate the Niners in the first half to take a commanding 24-7 halftime lead. The Lions were led by star quarterback Jared Goff, who completed 25 of 41 passes with 273 yards and a touchdown.

Despite their fast start, the Lions were unable to keep their lead, being held scoreless in the third quarter, allowing the Niners to tie the game, 24-24 entering the fourth quarter. Eventually, the Niners held on for a 34-31 victory.

“Look, I told those guys, this may have been our only shot. Do I think that? No,” said Detroit Head Coach Dan Campell in an interview with ESPN. “However, I know how hard it is to get here. I’m well aware, and it’s gonna be twice as hard to get back to this point next year than it was this year.”

Column: New Year’s Resolutions by Matilda

The saying goes: “new year, new me.” Except, I’m feeling a lot like the same old me, and I don’t think that’s a bad thing.

Every year when January rolls around, we love to make unrealistic promises. Whether this pledge is to eat healthier or exercise, more often than not, it is broken. So why do we keep making resolutions if we know we’ll never achieve them? And at what point do they become toxic?

I’ll admit I have made my fair share of new year’s resolutions. Sitting around the dinner table with my family on December 31st and sharing our goals for the new year, I can’t help but feel excited for what’s to come. But at some point, the failure I felt after giving up on my resolutions — oftentimes overly aspirational — was worse than the excitement of making them in the first place.

New year’s resolutions are a cultural rite of passage. It feels like there is something in our DNA that searches for the opportunity to change. It’s hard to say if this goes back to our personal insecurities or not; but ultimately, we never seem to be satisfied with the person we are in the moment. January 1st just gives us the perfect excuse to be optimistically hopeful for the future. And while that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, the pressure to change in the new year can be unhealthy.

In particular, I believe new year’s resolutions surrounding dieting and weight loss are toxic. Setting goals to become stronger or establish healthier lifestyle habits are admirable, but when a young girl hears her mother talk about dieting just because it’s January 1st, it instills the expectation that she must do the same — that the new year means we have to “fix” ourselves.

Deciding not to participate in new years resolutions doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still set goals and work to achieve them. However, a tradition that enforces a toxic beauty standard is not one we should take part in. First and foremost, your intentions shouldn’t come from societal pressures to conform, they should come from the motivation to be better. In short, don’t make a New Year’s resolution just for the sake of it.

So I declare the motto for this year is: 202-four self-love.

Matilda’s Ins & Outs

INS:

Clogs/Ugg minis

10-step skin care

Baggy/low waisted jeans

Bangs

Digital cameras

Heatless curls

Overalls

Clear phone cases

VSCO (again)

Adidas Sambas

Going to class on time (or else…)

Book-to-TV show adaptations

Owala water bottles

Homemade chai

Lip Gloss

Bows

OUTS:

UGG slippers

3-in-1s

Cargo sweatpants

Buzz season

Snapchat filters

Damaged hair

Patterned denim 

Wildflower cases

Instagram

Air Forces

Lunch detentions

Musical movies

Stanley Tumblers

Starbucks “chai tea” latte

Lipstick

Claw clips

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About the Contributors
Matthew Kim, Web Managing Editor
Carissa Lai, Media Editor
Matilda Haney Foulds, Staff Writer
Janavi Ramde, Staff Writer
Rachel Wilson, Staff Writer

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