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Saturday, January 28, 2023

Biden weighs in on Democratic primary process

The president’s comments on Thursday dealt a severe blow to Iowa’s decades-long standing as the state that kicks off the process by saying that Democrats should abandon “restrictive” caucuses and embrace diversity at the start of their presidential primary calendar.

Biden did not specify which states he wanted to go to first in a letter to the Democratic National Committee’s rulemaking arm. Nonetheless, three individuals familiar with his suggestion said, on condition of anonymity, that he has informed Democrats he wants South Carolina moved to the top place.

In light of the president’s directive, the DNC rules committee will meet this Friday in Washington to decide on reshuffling the presidential primary schedule beginning in 2024.

Minnesota was selected together with 16 other states in June by the deciding committee.

South Carolina is expected to pass new laws first, with New Hampshire and Nevada following suit one week later on the same day.

In the opinion of the committee, Georgia and Michigan would replace Colorado and New Hampshire as the earliest voting states, with both holding their primaries in the weeks after the first states. Both states were decisive in the 2020 election between Biden and then-President Trump, who had won them in 2016.

Soon later, on Super Tuesday, the rest of the nation would cast their ballots.

Many prominent Democrats have long advocated for a shift in the election schedule away from the mostly white states of Iowa and New Hampshire, where the first caucus and primary, respectively, are held. Ultimately, the complete DNC will have to vote on the new schedule, which is expected to happen sometime in the first few months of 2019, although the DNC is very likely to follow the advice of the rule-making panel.

According to a source in The Washington Post, the intended sequence of the early states.

Black voters in particular have been the foundation of the Democratic Party for decades, but they have been “pushed to the rear of the early primary process,” as Biden put it in a letter he penned on his own stationery without the official White House seal. We count on them to vote, but we haven’t included their significance into our nominations schedule. One should “stop taking these voters for granted and offer them a stronger and earlier voice in the process.”

He said that caucuses were unfair to hourly employees and those who couldn’t afford the time off to go to a certain site at a specific time due of their schedules, calling for a one-night gathering of voters to cast ballots for candidates.

If Biden runs for a second term, the reforms might go into effect as early as 2024 but wouldn’t have much of an impact until 2028. White House staffers and Biden loyalists have initiated personnel and structural negotiations for his expected 2024 race, but they have refrained from taking any overt measures while the president mulls over his ultimate choice.

Given that the Iowa caucus has kicked off the Democratic voting schedule every year since 1976, such a shift would be unprecedented. The Associated Press was unable to declare a winner in the 2020 Iowa Democratic caucuses because of a series of technological issues that occurred two years before.

Currently, the first primary on the Democratic calendar occurs in New Hampshire, which has done so every year since 1920. Since the 2008 presidential race, when Democrats last completed a big primary schedule revamp, Nevada and South Carolina are up next.

Meanwhile, the Republican National Committee has already chosen to preserve the Iowa caucus as the first contest in its 2024 presidential calendar, guaranteeing that Trump and the other Republican candidates for president will continue to travel the state often.

Biden has a lot of ties to the state of South Carolina. After shaky showings in Iowa and New Hampshire, his 2020 presidential campaign was given a much-needed boost by his victory in the first South primary that year in the state.

According to Dick Harpootlian, a longtime Biden supporter, fundraiser, and former head of the South Carolina Democratic Party, on Thursday, Biden told him about the possibility of South Carolina moving up the Democratic Party’s nomination list the night he won the state’s 2020 primary. According to Harpootlian, Biden was amenable to the idea of holding an even earlier presidential vote contest in New Hampshire than in Iowa.

And I believe he would agree that this is a lot more dynamic process,” Harpootlian remarked. It was a living nightmare in Iowa.

A furious competition has broken out among several states to go first as the DNC rules committee has been contemplating reorganizing the early schedule for months. “We have long maintained that any path to the White House goes through the heartland and President Biden knows that,” Michigan Democratic Party Chair Lavora Barnes and U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell said in a joint statement on Thursday night.

New Hampshire authorities had already threatened to move their election forward regardless of what new regulations the DNC accepts, but Biden’s desires provoked uproar in the state since state law requires New Hampshire to conduct the nation’s first primary. In the past, other states have sought to circumvent party regulations in order to go forward, only to be threatened with having their delegates disregarded when it came time to secure the party’s candidacy for president.

Democrats from New Hampshire have spoken out against the idea, with Senator Jeanne Shaheen condemning “the White House’s short-sighted choice” and Senator Maggie Hassan saying, “I vehemently reject the President’s terribly foolish proposal.”

But there should be no misunderstanding,” Hassan stressed in his remarks. The law in New Hampshire is quite clear, and the state’s primary will remain the first in the country.

Cedric Blackwater
Cedric Blackwater
Cedric is a journalist with over a decade of experience reporting on local US news, and touching on many global topics. He is currently the lead writer for Bulletin News.

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