Democrats are voting to move forward with a Biden plan that puts South Carolina at the top of the 2024 primary calendar.


The rule-making division of the Democratic National Committee gave the nod on Friday 2024 Plan to Drastically Reshape Presidential Nomination Calendar Make South Carolina the primary state, followed by Nevada and New Hampshire a few days later on the same day, then Georgia and Michigan before Super Tuesday.

President Joe Biden This week the DNC asked leaders to adopt this preliminary state line, which would eliminate Iowa’s first-in-the-nation status. The proposal from the DNC’s rules and regulations committee must be approved at a full DNC meeting early next year, and states must still set their own primary dates.

The DNC Rules Committee has scheduled South Carolina’s primary for February 3, Nevada and New Hampshire’s contests for February 6, Georgia’s primary for February 13 and Michigan’s for February 27 on the 2024 presidential calendar.

The proposal passed overwhelmingly, with only objections from members from Iowa and New Hampshire. Iowa has topped the nomination process since 1972, while New Hampshire has had its first primary since 1920.

Implementing these new dates will be a daunting challenge. Primary dates are set at the state level and each state has a different process. In Georgia, Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensberger is responsible for choosing the same date to hold both the Democratic and Republican primaries. Nevada Democrats, who control the state Legislature, will have a hard time passing legislation to change the date they run after their new Republican governor takes office next month. In South Carolina, each party can choose their own primary date.

As the Republican National Committee voted earlier this year to reaffirm the early state line-up of Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada, the new Democratic primary will break from the Republican calendar. That could cause conflict in new states’ hopes to advance, as their Republican parties could face obstruction from the national GOP if their state primaries are held too early.

New Hampshire and Iowa also have state laws covering their initial stages.

Under the plan adopted Friday, each of the five select states has until Jan. 5 to take steps to change their primary dates. If they don’t, they will give up their ability to hold a recognized preliminary competition.

Despite the logistical hurdles, all board members who spoke Friday praised the proposed changes and the diversification of the early-stage slate.

“We cling to traditions because they sometimes give us a sense of security,” said Donna Brazile, a former DNC chair who sits on the rules committee. “Sometimes we cling to traditions because they give us a foundation on which to grow. But as many of us on this board know, we also believe that traditions can be hijacked and changed, especially when you open new doors and help expand the electorate so that every American can enjoy full citizenship.

DNC Chair Jaime Harrison got emotional Friday about what it would mean to have his home state of South Carolina as the first primary state, speaking about the kind of voices that would raise such a move.

“Society called people like my grandparents simple people, never respect them, never respect them, never give them roses,” Harrison said.

Comments from committee members at Friday’s meeting made it clear that Biden’s disclosure of his preferences played a significant role in the process. Several members praised the president’s letter to the DNC committee on Thursday, which he described as “inherently anti-participation” and calling for a new calendar to prioritize different states in the initial order. In addition to the letter, CNN reported that committee leaders announced Biden’s proposed early-stage lineup to committee members Thursday evening.

Elaine Kamarck, who represents Massachusetts on the committee, said: “That’s why I believe the president’s proposal is so appropriate, and this will be our plan. You start with your foundation, but then you get to a place where you ask: Can our candidates win in these diverse swing states?

But the plan also drew opposition from particularly affected states, Iowa and New Hampshire.

After the chaos of the 2020 Iowa caucuses drew widespread backlash, Iowa is the first state in the nation to come under scrutiny. Beyond the issues in the 2020 caucuses, the Democratic Party is under pressure to knock Iowa out of its top spot because it is predominantly white and is no longer considered a battleground state.

Representative Scott Brennan of Iowa on the committee strongly condemned the move and was one of the few members to vote against the plan.

“While I support the guiding principles established by this committee and reinforced by the president, I cannot support the proposal before us,” Brennan argued: “Small, rural states like Iowa should have a voice in our presidential nominating process.”

Brennan said: “Democrats cannot forget entire swathes of voters in the heart of the Midwest without doing significant damage to the party for a generation.”

Earlier this year the DNC approved a plan to prioritize various battleground states that choose to hold primaries rather than hold primaries, considering which states should hold primaries. It asked 16 states and Puerto Rico about setting their primaries for the summer or moving their primaries back on the calendar ahead of Super Tuesday.

Committee member Joanne Dowdell, who represents New Hampshire, voted against the proposal to strip New Hampshire of its First-Nation status. That position, Dowdell noted, is protected by state law.

“I feel the president of the United States has made a very bold statement about his vision for this country, the importance of diversity. I don’t think there’s a person in this room who can argue with that. However, I will say that New Hampshire has a law, we have a law and we will not violate our law,” Dowdell told the panel. “And I think any advocate in the room or around the table would agree that it’s not in the best interest of this organization to suggest that we do that.”

This story and headline have been updated.

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