2024 Democratic primary calendar passes in critical party vote : NPR

People cheer during the 2023 Democratic National Committee Winter meeting in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on February 3, 2023.


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People cheer during the 2023 Democratic National Committee Winter meeting in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on February 3, 2023.


Members of the Democratic National Committee voted overwhelmingly to reform the party’s presidential primaries, kick off the Iowa caucuses from the original group of states and push for primaries in South Carolina, Nevada, Georgia and Michigan.

Voting on Saturday, concluding a three-day meeting in Philadelphia, approve a proposal of the Rules and Regulations Committee (RBC) was implemented in December and officially reinforces what many Democrats have long called for: upgrading states to better reflect Democratic diversity.

DNC Chairman Jaime Harrison said before the vote: “Guys, the Democrats sound like America and so does this proposal.

The RBC made its recommendation after conducting a lengthy process in which states interested in one of the coveted early deadline positions convinced the committee of diverse areas, potential voter access and competitiveness in a general election.

According to the proposal passed, which President Biden himself supported in a letter to RBC in December, the 2024 presidential calendar will feature South Carolina in first place on February 3, followed by New Hampshire and Nevada sharing the number one spot. 2 on February 6, then Georgia on February 13 and Michigan on February 27.

It’s a calendar in many ways to reward states that helped get Biden into the White House in 2020, including South Carolina, which fiercely change Biden’s presidential destiny.

“It’s a big day for the state of South Carolina, and I mean not just South Carolina but our region,” said Trav Robertson, Democratic Party chairman of South Carolina. “It’s a clear sign that the DNC will no longer take South Korea for granted.”

But the sweeping changes to the calendar are not without a hitch – and they come in the form of prominent questions about whether New Hampshire and Georgia can meet the demands the national party puts on them. Are not.

New Hampshire Democrats argue they are in ‘unwinnable position’

Members of the Iowa and New Hampshire Democratic delegations strongly voiced opposition to the new calendar on Saturday ahead of the official vote.

“I’m very supportive of our president and I support the principles that guide the calendar,” said Rita Hart, the Iowa Democratic chair. “But I cannot support a proposal that further erodes Democratic support in my state and the entire central part of the country.”

Joanne Dowdell, a member of RBC from New Hampshire, said that “it breaks my heart to vote against [Biden’s] proposed schedule.”

“I agree with my colleagues that it is essential that we raise diverse voices in our presidential election process,” she said. “When some members say that we’re frustrated or that we’re attacking them by standing up for New Hampshire, it’s frustrating. It’s frustrating that the DNC is going to punish us despite the fact that we are. I am incapable of unilaterally changing the legal status.”

New Hampshire Democrats who for generations have viewed the nation’s first primary election as the political inheritance, insisted on obeying the DNC’s marching orders according to the main schedule independent of them. They point to a state law that gives the secretary of state, now a Republican, the power to postpone the primary election to protect the nation’s first place.

“This is not about the history of New Hampshire or our pride,” Dowdell said. “This is about state law.”

The DNC is not only asking states in the early stages to hold their primaries on a date designated by the national party, but also to expand voter access – what New Hampshire Democrats say politically impossible.

“We have a trio of Republicans at the state level with Republicans controlling the governor, the House and the Senate, and they’ve all said very clearly and eloquently that these provisions don’t begin. and will not be done,” longtime New Hampshire Democrat Chairman Ray Buckley told reporters Friday.

“We’re in an impossible, impossible-to-win position,” he said. “We know that New Hampshire will still hold its first national primaries, whether the DNC approves it or not.”

But if that happens – which Buckley emphasizes is not a hypothesis but a possible scenario – the rules of the DNC will be triggered and the consequences will be resolved.

RBC member Mo Elleithee told NPR: “This is not the first time states have tried to cross the line. “I hope it doesn’t get to that point. But I think the DNC is probably better prepared than ever to enforce this schedule.”

In December, the DNC detailed the enforcement actions it was set to take. If a state – like New Hampshire – fails to meet the requirements and holds an early primaries, that state automatically loses half of its delegates.

Presidential candidates will also be barred from campaigning – including putting their names on the ballot – in any state outside the DNC-approved window.

“The DNC can choose to do whatever they want,” Buckley said. “But it seems odd that we would be punished for doing something completely out of our control.”

Both New Hampshire and Georgia have been given an extension to respond to waiver requests through early summer.

When asked what would actually change between now and June, Buckley said the extension “has been offered to us and we treat it like an olive branch that there will be an option to chat further.” and try to do this.”

The public campaign by the New Hampshire Democrat has worried many party loyalists.

Dowdell and Buckley’s comments came amid exasperated DNC members who sympathized with the uphill political battle in New Hampshire but were frustrated by the public nature of the complaints. their complaint.

Recent State Democratic U.S. Senators skip a White House congressional gala in protest and swore that the primaries would continue as normal. A group of Democrats, including former Governor John Lynch, have warned Biden that the new calendar could affect the president’s re-election campaign. Former New Hampshire Democratic Speaker Steve Shurtleff went as far as to say he would look for another candidate to support if the state loses first place.

“We get it – they have a Republican legislature, they have a Republican governor,” Elleithee said. “I look forward to seeing them put as much effort into the fight as they are fighting us.”

Georgia Democrats hope to convince Republicans to advance to primaries

Elleithee said Georgia, was important in delivering the US Senate to the Democrats over the past two election cycles, has become “one of the hottest offers of all the states involved.”

“They met all the criteria and really fit the framework that we have set in terms of values ​​and factors that we care about,” he said. “They come hot, they come strong and they’re impressive.”

But like New Hampshire, Georgia faces significant challenges in meeting DNC requirements, as Republicans control the state government there is good.

The Republican National Committee has retained the original list of states: Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina. Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican, said the bipartisan primaries must be held on the same day to minimize the cost of election administration.

Wendy Davis, a DNC member from Georgia, said the state’s Democrats now have to work to convince “Republican leaders that [moving the primary up] that’s good for our state, not just good for Joe Biden.”

Davis points to the overwhelming attention states receive when they are in the early window, along with the massive economic benefits that come with holding early primaries.

“There’s campaign spending there. Ask the people in Iowa who sell snow shovels – they sell more snowshovels in a caucus year than at any other time,” she told NPR.

“A lot of money has been spent in that state. A lot of money has been spent on radio and television with direct mail, houses buying yard signs, all the things you come up with in a campaign, ” she said. “For example, in fact in my town, there are 35,000 people in Rome, Georgia who are running for president who will buy radio ads on our small radio stations. That’s a revenue stream that if we’re on Super Tuesday, we don’t take.”

But like Democrats, Republicans could face their own penalties, including the loss of delegates, for holding primaries out of order.

New schedule is not fixed

The DNC will meet again in June to see where Georgia and New Hampshire stand in meeting the party’s demands.

Biden encouraged the DNC to review the initial state review process every four years.

Elleithee said the current calendar “makes a lot of sense for the race where we have an incumbent Democratic president running without serious opposition.”

Biden has yet to officially announce his reelection bid.

“It might not be a reasonable calendar for 2028 when we have an open field,” says Elleithee. “And so we’re going to make decisions about what makes sense in that environment. Doing this now sets a precedent that we can do it in the future, when it’s going to have an even impact. even bigger.”

Trav Robertson of the South Carolina Democratic Party said it’s important to review the calendar every cycle.

“The reality is that the only way you will survive is to evaluate, adapt, and change,” he said.


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