Democrats rearranged the presidential primary calendar on Friday, rewarding South Carolina by moving the state’s vote to February 3 and giving Iowa’s caucuses a lower priority.
The rules committee of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) voted on Friday that South Carolina will replace Iowa as the first state on the presidential nomination calendar, ending a 50-year tradition.
As a result of the party’s dire technology difficulties in 2020, the Democrats adopted this unprecedented measure with the backing of President Joe Biden. In a letter he sent out last week, Biden explained why he wants to do away with caucuses: they are “restrictive” to hourly employees and require voters to make their choices in public. He also believes the party should prioritize winning over states with a large black population.
For the primary in South Carolina, the committee agreed on February 3. For the primaries in Nevada and New Hampshire, they chose February 4. The committee also revealed its picks for the subsequent two weeks, including both the state of Michigan and the state of Georgia.
So far as the AP can tell:
In contrast to the existing timetable, in which the Iowa caucuses have always occurred first in the nation (since 1972), and the New Hampshire primary (since 1920) has always been first, this is a major shift. In light of the results of the 2008 presidential election, Democrats have dramatically adjusted their primary timetable, moving Nevada and South Carolina to the forefront.
The new schedule may be meaningless if Biden stands for reelection in 2024, but it has the potential to significantly disrupt the Democratic presidential nomination process in future years. White House staff have started talking about recruiting for the president’s expected reelection campaign, despite the fact that he hasn’t officially decided to run again.
IA and NH were the only states to have lawmakers on the committee vote against the measure on Friday. Members of the committee have publicly said that they will follow the rules of their home state rather than those of the Democratic National Committee.
DNC ratification of the committee’s recommendations is required in the end and is expected to take place early in the new year. A DNC representative has promised to go through the rough timetable before 2028.
In 2024, the Republican National Committee decided that the party would launch from Iowa.