Sunday, July 21, 2024

Biden: New Hampshire lacks enough color to be first Primary in ’24

Dazzling fall foliage may bring in the tourism bucks to New Hampshire around this time each year until the leaves fall off. But if you ask President Joe Biden, New Hampshire isn’t colorful enough.

At least every four years, and in the spring. On Thursday, Biden wrote key allies in the Democratic National Committee his plan to boost “minority representation” in the presidential primary calendar. The plan would not only move the New Hampshire first-in-the-nation primary and ban the Iowa Caucus entirely and replace it with a later primary election but move South Carolina up as the first nominating contest of the election cycle — followed by Nevada, New Hampshire, Georgia, and Michigan. Read the letter here.

Biden’s letter means the party that dismisses any and all efforts to defend ballot integrity as “suppressing the vote” and cried endlessly about “Russian collusion” in 2016 may seriously looking at stacking the deck in the 2024 election. (Sidenote: We can’t wait to see what Elon Musk says about Big Tech collusion soon.) But it may prove to be a politically impossible task.

The DNC’s Rules and Bylaws Committee and then the DNC Executive Committee must sign off on any such proposal for it to be an official directive. However, New Hampshire and Iowa officials, even the Democrats, are already livid. Iowa has a state law establishing its ability to host a caucus in lieu of a primary since 1972 and New Hampshire has since 1920 prided itself as the first primary.

The idea of having small states go first has long been established as a means of assuring that presidential candidates do not dismiss rural areas and small communities in favor of campaigning wholesale in large electoral vote states and big cities. After all, making certain the small states are well-represented goes back to the “bundle of compromises” that make up our Constitution. However in 2020, Iowa had numerous irregularities in reporting the results of the caucus. A Red Wave that swept smaller states contributed to the ire of national Democratic leaders.

“The DNC did not give New Hampshire the first-in-the-nation primary and it is not theirs to take away,” New Hampshire Democratic Party Chairman Ray Buckley said in a press statement. “This news is obviously disappointing, but we will be holding our primary first. We have survived past attempts over the decades and we will survive this.”

Scott Brennan, DNC member from Iowa, called the news “a complete kick in the teeth” and that the Washington Post had the news before he did. Iowa Democratic Party Chairman Ross Wilburn (who is black, by the way) said he believes Democrats will lose rural voters, a demographic Democrats are increasingly banking on, if Iowa’s caucus is abandoned.

President Biden said it’s all about that race.

“We must ensure that voters of color have a voice in choosing our nominee much earlier in the process and throughout the entire early window,” Biden wrote in a letter Thursday night while DNC members were are a fundraising dinner. “Black voters in particular have been the backbone of the Democratic Party but have been pushed to the back of the early primary process. We rely on these voters in elections but have not recognized their importance in our nominating calendar. It is time to stop taking these voters for granted, and time to give them a louder and earlier voice in the process.” He also decried the caucus process as anti-democratic.

Biden finished fifth (an anemic 8.4%) in New Hampshire, The Clay and Buck Show was quick to point out following the news. Commentator Buck Sexton said the president was “crushed” in early states. South Carolina was the turning point. “Left for dead in Iowa” and fifth in New Hampshire, a glowing endorsement by U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn in South Carolina made him viable, Sexton said.

Co-host Clay Travis said it was “black, female primary voters that picked the nominee in 2020,” so does the order even matter? Which brings up another point, according to Sexton: Though the co-commentators believe Biden will run for a second term by most indications, could this be a means to pave the way for a Kamala Harris victory in ’24?

Regardless of the motive — whether a mere quadrennial critique of the primary process or something more strategic — the plan would have to get past institutions such as 40-year U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa. Grassley called for outright defiance of any such DNC directive and urged caucuses be held no matter what.

The unintended consequence here is that Republicans and Democrats in these states are locking arms on this. If States under the Constitution are the ones to order the date and manner of their primary decision-making processes (be it a caucus, open primary, closed primary, or other admissible method) then the entire effort may be moot. Whether or not Biden’s plan to shake up the primary calendar succeeds, it’s more of the identarian pandering that sends independent voters further to the right in smaller states.