DNC Votes to Shove New Hampshire and Iowa Aside for First Presidential Primaries, Moves South Carolina to the Top Slot

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

The Democratic National Committee voted Saturday to change their long-standing tradition of holding the first presidential primaries in New Hampshire and Iowa, pushing aside those states and moving up South Carolina and Michigan. The new lineup calls for S.C. to vote on February 3, followed by Nevada and New Hampshire on February 6, Georgia on February 13, and then Michigan on February 27.


The move is an effort to diversify the demographics of early-voting states to better reflect the Democrat base:

“Folks, the Democratic Party looks like America and so does this proposal,” said Democratic Party Chairman Jaime Harrison ahead of the vote, adding it “elevates the backbone of our party.”

Implicit in his statement is that Harrison feels that New Hampshire and Iowa don’t look like America. That must not feel very good to those folks living in those states.

Another reason for the change, which had President Joe Biden’s backing, is that he performed badly in early primaries in 2020 and almost had to step out of the race. It was South Carolina that saved him, where he dominated the vote with 48.6 percent choosing him over the likes of Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.

The result was largely due to Representative James Clyburn’s strong endorsement, which motivated black voter turnout that went heavily in Biden’s favor. Clyburn is the highest-ranking African-American in Congress and the most influential Democrat in South Carolina.

This is Biden’s thank-you gift to Clyburn.

The change would also be a blow for lesser-known candidates like Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar who both were able to burnish their profiles in 2020 early primaries with solid performances. If South Carolina goes first, candidates like those two would probably be out of the race after the first vote.


The Republican National Committee is not pleased with the reshuffling, with Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel tweeting Saturday:

There’s one major problem with the idea of putting South Carolina at the top: New Hampshire has a state law requiring it to hold the first primaries in the nation. Many folks won’t let that decades-old tradition be taken from them without a fight.

N.H. Democrat Senator Maggie Hassan took to Twitter to proclaim that the Granite State won’t budge:

Both the Iowa and N.H. delegations had voiced strong opposition to the new calendar before the vote. NPR reports that the outcome puts them between a rock and a hard place:


New Hampshire Democrats, who for generations have viewed the first primary in the nation as their political birthright, insist following the DNC’s marching orders on the primary schedule isn’t up to them. They point to a state law that gives the secretary of state, currently a Republican, the power to move the date of the primary to protect its first-in-the-nation status.

“This is not about New Hampshire’s history or our pride,” [DNC rules committee member Joanne] Dowdell said. “This is about state law.”

Grab a beer and sit back in a comfy chair, because there could be some serious infighting in the future.


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