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Saturday, April 20, 2024

Dems Destroy Tradition for Racial Pandering

Iowa Democratic Party chair Rita Hart argued that Republicans in her state were already accusing Democrats of “hav[ing] turned their back on Iowa and on rural America...'

 (Headline USAThe Democratic Party on Saturday approved reordering its 2024 presidential primary, replacing Iowa with South Carolina in the leadoff spot as part of a major shake-up meant to empower Black and other minority voters critical to its base of support.

Although more changes are possible later this year, the formal endorsement by the Democratic National Committee during its meeting in Philadelphia is an acknowledgement that the start of the 2024 primary will look very different from the one in 2020.

States with early contests play a major role in determining the nominee because White House hopefuls struggling to raise money or gain political traction often drop out before visiting states outside the first five. Media attention and policy debates concentrate in those areas, too.

The new plan was championed by Joe Biden. The reconfiguring would have South Carolina hold its primary on Feb. 3, followed three days later by New Hampshire and Nevada, which is swapping the caucus it used to hold in favor of a primary.

Georgia would vote fourth on Feb. 13, followed by Michigan on Feb. 27, with much of the rest of the nation set to vote on Super Tuesday in early March.

Biden wrote the DNC rules committee in December, saying, “We must ensure that voters of color have a voice in choosing our nominee much earlier in the process and throughout the entire early window.” That committee approved the new lineup, setting up Saturday’s vote.

The move remakes the current calendar, which saw Iowa start with its caucus, followed by New Hampshire and then Nevada and South Carolina. The Republican Party has voted not to change its 2024 primary order, meaning the campaign has already began in Iowa.

“The DNC has decided to break a half-century precedent and cause chaos by altering their primary process, and ultimately abandoning millions of Americans in Iowa and New Hampshire,” Republican National Committee chair Ronna McDaniel said in a statement Saturday.

Four of the first five new states under Democrats’ new plan are battlegrounds, meaning the eventual party winner would be able to lay groundwork in important general election spots. That’s especially true for Michigan and Georgia, both of which voted for Republican Donald Trump in 2016 before flipping to Biden in 2020.

The exception is South Carolina, which hasn’t backed a Democrat in a presidential race since 1976, leading some to argue that the party shouldn’t be concentrating so many early primary resources there. But the state’s population is nearly 27% Black, and African American voters represent Democrats’ most consistent base of support. Iowa and New Hampshire are each more than 90% white.

Some Black members of the DNC said those arguing to abide by tradition could be seen as implying that states with larger African American populations were incapable of handling the responsibility of going early in the primary.

“If we’re really a family, it means some of y’all got to shift to make room at the table for others,” said Leah Daughtry, a DNC rules committee member from New York.

Iowa Democratic Party chair Rita Hart argued that Republicans in her state were already accusing Democrats of “hav[ing] turned their back on Iowa and on rural America.”

Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press

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