Last week, Ed Morrissey explored the possibility that the Democratic National Committee might have finally grown tired of the quadrennial circus that the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primaries have become. Ed expressed some understandable skepticism as to whether or not the DNC could actually force a change or if they would go through with it if they could. But as The Hill reports this week, senior members of the DNC are still speaking seriously about the possibility. They’re offering a list of reasons why Iowa may not be a good fit for the Democratic Party of the 21st century and there are at least five other states currently working behind the scenes and jockeying to take Iowa’s place. And Democrats aren’t just talking about a change in the number one slot. They’re looking at expanding the number of states that hold their contests in the first week to five.
Democratic National Committee members say Iowa Democrats may not be allowed to go first in 2024 and may not even be included in the list of early contests. That’s prompting jockeying among other states for the chance to be included in the initial lineup, which Democrats are considering expanding to five.
“The 2024 presidential cycle is not about subtraction, but addition which will create its own momentum,” Donna Brazile, a member of the DNC’s Rules and Bylaws Committee who previously chaired the national party, told The Hill. “By adding an additional state, we would ensure that the candidates will be in a position to talk to more voters, not less.”
Under any scenario, the other three early voting states — New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina — would most likely be safe somewhere on the early roster.
The Democrats on the DNC are raising several issues that could prompt such a change and most of them probably make sense if you’re a liberal. First of all, the 2020 Iowa caucus turned into a technological nightmare when their new online tallying and reporting system utterly failed. As you may recall, nobody was entirely sure who the winners were and in what order they placed for quite a while after the date of the caucus.
Then there’s the issue of demographics. For Democrats, everything revolves around racial and gender concerns, along with loyalty to the progressive agenda. They are currently questioning the wisdom of holding their first primary or caucus in “a largely white, mostly rural state with a quixotic process.” You probably don’t need me to translate that for you. Even the Democrats in Iowa tend to skew toward the center far more than leaning toward The Squad.
On top of that, the track record of both Iowa and New Hampshire hasn’t been that great of late. Neither state picked the eventual nominee in 2020, indicating that the Democratic voters there might not really be in step with the main body of national Democratic support.
So let’s say that the DNC somehow decides to make such a drastic change. Who would be in the running for a new, early slot? The Hill is listing Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, Arizona, and Washington. With the possible exception of Arizona, the message seems to be clear. Iowa isn’t blue enough (if it’s ever really blue at all) and it isn’t far enough to the left. They want the early lead in the primary race to be decided by the far left and those are some of the states that might give them the best shot.
One other question to consider is what happens if the Democrats make this change but the GOP doesn’t? There’s nothing really stopping the two parties from having a primary or caucus on different dates, I suppose. But it sort of flies in the face of tradition, particularly for the earliest states. Then again, this is 2022. Tradition doesn’t seem to be all it was cracked up to be in previous generations.