Democrats Plan Shake-Up of Presidential Primary Calendar

President Joe Biden endorsed a plan to shake up the Democratic presidential primary calendar by elevating states with more diverse electorates.


President Joe Biden endorsed a plan to shake up the Democratic presidential primary calendar by elevating states with more diverse electorates.

  • President Biden urged Democrats to drop “restrictive” caucuses and prioritize diversity and variety – “demographic, geographic, and economic” in their party’s nominating process.
  • Instead, Biden wants South Carolina to hold the first nominating contest, followed by New Hampshire and Nevada one week later. Georgia and Michigan, two populous, diverse swing states, would round out the early-state roster.
  • “For decades, Black voters, in particular, have been the backbone of the Democratic Party but have been pushed to the back of the early primary process,” Biden wrote in a letter to top Democrats.
  • While the president did not mention any states by name, his remarks are a clear shot at Iowa and New Hampshire, states with overwhelmingly white electorates that have kicked off the primary process for decades.
  • New Hampshire Democrats did not take kindly to Biden’s plan. The state party chairman slammed the proposal, saying, “The DNC did not give New Hampshire the first-in-the-nation primary and it is not theirs to take away.” Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-NH) blasted Biden’s plan as “deeply misguided.”
  • But don’t forget: A key endorsement from Rep. Jim Clyburn, the African American de facto leader of South Carolina Democrats, and the Palmetto State’s Black-majority primary electorate propelled Biden to the Democratic nomination in 2020. As the saying goes, “Dance with the one that brought you.”


reporting from the left side of the aisle


  • POLITICO covered Minnesota Democrats’ efforts to supplant Michigan as the first Midwest state to vote on the Democratic primary calendar. Minnesota’s Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party argues that the Gopher State is more diverse than Iowa and smaller than Michigan, making it an ideal early state for grassroots-oriented candidates.
  • The Washington Post identified the challenges Democrats will face implementing this proposal. Iowa and New Hampshire politicians of both parties have vowed to fight the plan or ignore it while moving up the Nevada and Georgia contests would require support from Republicans in those states.
  • NBC News noted the primary state reshuffle will begin Friday at a meeting of the Rules and Bylaws Committee of the Democratic National Committee. The process will likely take months and a final decision will be implemented early next year.



  • The Washington Examiner traced the decision to dump Iowa back to the disastrous 2020 Iowa Caucuses. Iowa Democrats botched vote counting and took days to declare a winner. Iowa’s gradual shift rightward since 2016 hasn’t helped matters, either.
  • The Wall Street Journal pointed out one personal grudge Biden may hold against Iowa: he has never performed well in the Hawkeye State. The President got smoked in the 2008 and 2020 Iowa Caucuses and was also defeated in the 2020 general election, a turnaround from 2008 and 2012 when the Obama-Biden ticket carried Iowa twice.
  • Breitbart noted the changes to the calendar could be relatively meaningless in 2024 should Biden seek reelection but could radically redefine the 2028 Democratic presidential primary should Democrats prove able to overcome opposition from New Hampshire and Iowa.


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© Dominic Moore, 2022