2024 will be a great year for elections and election watchers.
The US Election is perhaps the biggest game in town – and will take place on November 5th – although the campaigns are continuing from the distant past and won’t end – likely not even after the election. A fairly run of the mill election as far as American elections go, we can expect the rhetoric to be through the roof – with apocalypse promised by both sides if they do not win. It looks likely that Joe Biden will fight the good fight on behalf of the Democratic Party – framing himself as a moderate for the purposes of the election if not in practice. The Republican leadership race seems to still be up for grabs, but a Donald Trump candidacy will not surprise us. Either way, expect the hyperbole to remain at Hollywood levels of dramatism and production value. The winner – who will deliver a total utopia according to sources close to the conjecture – will rule supreme (subject to oversight, check and balances, the Congress, the Senate and the Supreme Court) for four years. We’re totally there for all of it.
The next UK Election is expected to be in the second half of 2024, but no later than 28 January 2025, making the terms and conditions decidedly British. The outcome will determine the composition of the House of Commons, which in turn determines who gets to be in Number 10. It is an interesting election in that the Conservative Party – which has been in power for a while – is expected to lose to Labour. The Conservative Party has been making giant strides towards alienating and pissing off its base, while already having the ire of its opponents in the bank. Labour – which in the previous round ran an extremist communist – will pretend to be totally and fervently centrist, at least for as long as elections last. Whether their base or their opponents believe them remains to be seen. Other parties are also in the mosh pit – including the Reform Party – which might cannibalise the Conservatives (known as Tories) from the right. We’ll see. The Brits are a bit more mature about political promises, which is to say they don’t believe them, and are less partisan than the Americans. I’m yet to meet a Brit who likes ANY politician. Still, we’ll see.
The next South African Election is also on the cards. This will determine the National Assembly and the Provincial Legislatures which will give the once promising nation its President. By law it must take place within 90 days from May 2024 (the end of the parliamentary session). No fewer than 14 political parties are in the mix… but like too many official languages, only some really matter. The reality is there are three forces involved. A Marxist aligned Centre and its orbiting controlled opposition of Far Leftists, and browbeaten and apathetic forces of middle of the road reformers on the far left of centre left, which is as right as it gets. While to outsiders South African politics can look complicated, in reality the only thing that matters is how much of a majority the ANC enjoys. If the ANC wins by huge margins, the status quo remains and the country continues down its path of courting China and Russia, scolding the West while extorting money from it, continuing nepotism and corruption because of racist policies (but, observers will be pleased to note, the correct kind of racism), and runaway violent crime with extra sides of cruelty for minorities or foreign visitors. If the margin narrows, it will indicate South Africans are starting to care about the trajectory of their own country – but whether this will be in time to reverse the institutional decay and rot is remains to be seen.
We’ll be here for the lot of it, minus the pretend balance or inaccurate bias.