The Democratic National Committee (DNC) has made a bold move to shake up the presidential nominating calendar for 2024, bumping Iowa and New Hampshire from their longtime leadoff positions. In an effort to give more representation to Black and Hispanic voters in the party, South Carolina will now hold the first primary on February 3, 2024, followed by New Hampshire and Nevada, and then Georgia and Michigan. This dramatic switch from the current calendar has been met with both praise and criticism from Democrats, Republicans, and independent voters alike.
President Joe Biden is a major proponent of the change, arguing that it will empower minority voters who have long been taken for granted by the party. DNC Chair Jaime Harrison echoed this sentiment, saying that the new calendar “reflects our values and will strengthen our party.” He further stressed that “the Democratic Party looks like America, and so does this proposal.”
However, there is opposition to the plan, with Republicans in New Hampshire “weaponizing” the proposed calendar to go after Democratic politicians. New Hampshire Democratic Party chair Ray Buckley has called the move by the DNC a “self-inflicted wound” that will hurt the chances of Democratic candidates in the key northeastern general election battleground state. Iowa Democratic Party chair Rita Hart added that “small rural states like Iowa should not lose our voice in the presidential nominating process” and that Democrats “cannot forget about entire groups of voters in the heart of the Midwest without doing significant damage to the party.”
In order to remain in the early voting slot, New Hampshire must scrap a decades-old state law that protects its first-in-the-nation primary status and must expand legislation to expand access to early voting. However, with Republicans in control of New Hampshire’s governor’s office and both houses of the state legislature, state Democrats argue that’s a non-starter.
The DNC has extended until June the deadline for New Hampshire and Georgia to come into compliance with the DNC’s new calendar. Former President Donald Trump has already slammed the Democrats and Biden over the primary, and Granite State independents, who make up 40% of the electorate in the state, could be persuaded by his arguments.
Ultimately, the DNC’s vote to upend the presidential nominating schedule is a signal that President Biden intends to run for re-election in 2024. But New Hampshire Democrats warn that an unsanctioned primary where Biden doesn’t take part could invite trouble for the president, and that the first primary in the country could be won by someone other than the president, only fueling chatter about Democrats divisions.
The DNC’s decision to shake up the presidential nominating calendar is a bold move that will have far-reaching implications for the 2024 election cycle. Democrats, Republicans, and independent voters alike will be watching to see how this plays out in the coming months.