Democratic Party officials gathering the nation’s capital this week on a mission to revamp the top of their 2024 presidential nominating calendar, a move that could have major consequences for the party far beyond their primary schedule in the next White House race.
On the agenda when the Democratic National Committee’s Rules and Bylaws Committee convenes is whether Iowa and New Hampshire — which have held the first two contests in the DNC’s presidential primary and caucus schedule for half a century — will keep their traditional lead-off positions, or if the party will shake up the order and look to a more diverse state to kick off the cycle.
The meeting was originally scheduled to take place in early September but was delayed until after the midterm elections, amid concerns that changes in the calendar would potentially wound Democrats facing challenging re-elections. In recent days, DNC officials on the crucial panel have been bombarded with calls, texts, and emails amid a deluge of public lobbying and behind the scenes jockeying.
For years Democrats have knocked Iowa and New Hampshire as being unrepresentative of the party as a whole for being largely White with few major urban areas, while the Democratic voting bloc has attracted more minorities over the past several decades. Nevada and South Carolina — which currently vote third and fourth in the calendar — are much more diverse than either Iowa or New Hampshire.
Complicating matters, Nevada Democrats last year passed a bill into law that would transform the state’s presidential caucus into a primary and aimed to move the contest to the lead-off position in the race for the White House, ahead of Iowa and New Hampshire. And compounding Iowa’s issues was the botched reporting of the 2020 caucuses, which became a national embarrassment for Iowa Democrats as well as the DNC. Michigan and Minnesota are pushing to replace Iowa as the Midwestern representative among the early voting, or so-called carve out, states.
Earlier this year the DNC moved to require Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina to reapply for early state status in the 2024 calendar. Other states interested in moving up to the top of the calendar also were allowed to apply for an early position. The DNC is also considering allowing a…