DEMOINES, Iowa (AP) — Democrats are poised to drop Iowa from their presidential nominating process starting in 2024, part of a broader effort to better reflect the party’s deeply diverse electorate by going early with a low majority of white voters.
The rule-making arm of the Democratic National Committee plans to make the recommendation Friday When considering adding a fifth before Super Tuesday, which states should be the first four to vote, when a large number of states hold primary elections. But there was a delay in taking the decision Until after the November electionWithout becoming a distraction that affects Democrats in key congressional races.
Still, Iowa’s caucus position is in jeopardy after technical glitches led to a 2020 meltdown. More than a decade of complaints about caucus rules requiring in-person attendance to limit participation are reaching a crescendo. It is New Hampshire’s No. 1, which is now second but has traditionally started primary voting, and Nevada, a heavily Hispanic state, is looking to jump from third to first.
“I fully expect Iowa to be replaced,” said Julian Castro, former San Antonio mayor and federal housing chief. “And the primary calendar will be reordered to better reflect the diversity of the Democratic Party and the nation.”
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Castro is not on the rules committee but has criticized Iowa for being the first post-2019 presidential election. A spokeswoman for the Democratic National Committee said the rules committee was “fully handling the process” and “allowing it to play out.”
Iowa has overcome previous challenges And could do so again, especially since a final decision won’t come for months. Aside from 2020, it argues that voters here have a strong track record of starting the nomination process — and its rationale will keep Democrats relevant in light of the state’s recent shift to the right..
Iowa Democratic Party Chairman Ross Wilburn says he will fight to continue the nearly 50-year-old tradition.
“When I became chair and we started this process, the word was ‘Iowa is done,'” Wilburn told reporters Thursday. “But no decision has been taken. The committee was not provided with a calendar. We are still in this fight. “
But several members of the Rules Committee said privately that the party would lean toward New Hampshire or Nevada, or perhaps on the same day. They all requested anonymity to more freely describe the ongoing negotiations.
South Carolina, with its large coalition of black Democrats, could move from fourth to third, freeing up a large Midwestern state to go next. Michigan and Minnesota are making strong cases, but neither can move their primary dates without legislative approval, which would require support from Republicans.
If the committee adds a fifth opening slot, it could go to Iowa to soften the blow.
Iowa has had open voting since 1976, when Jimmy Carter scored a caucus upset and gained enough momentum to eventually win the presidency. Since then, it has been followed by New Hampshire, which held the nation’s first primary since 1920. The last time Democrats made a major primary calendar overhaul was Nevada and South Carolina, following the 2008 presidential election.
Nevada has now canceled its caucus in favor of a primary. During a recent presentation before members of the Rules Committee, its delegation He showed a video Argued that “tradition is not a sufficient reason to preserve the status quo”.
“I’m really concerned that if a diverse and inclusive state isn’t on the primary calendar, we’re going to continue to see the same criticisms that we’re seeing about the Democratic Party’s primary process,” he said. Nevada Democratic Sen. Jackie Rosen.
Delegates from Iowa and New Hampshire argued that small states should allow all candidates — not just well-funded ones — to run. Connecting with voters personally and losing their slots will benefit Republicans in congressional races. The GOP has already decided to let Iowa open its 2024 presidential nominating cycle.
“Just as Nevada and South Carolina added two more states to the opening window,” there is a sense that “the Democratic Party will change and evolve with the times,” just as America is not stagnant. Rules Committee member Randy Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers.
New Hampshire Democratic National Committeeman Bill Shaheen said he didn’t know what would happen if the rules committee didn’t postpone the vote, but cheered for “another chance to show what kind of state we are.”
When the DNC approved a shakeup of the primary calendar prior to 2008, New Hampshire only called for Nevada’s caucus after Iowa’s and before New Hampshire’s to move into its primary. Shaheen said his state may do the same this time regardless of the party’s decision.
“We’re going to have the first primary whether the DNC recognizes it or not,” Shaheen said of his wife, Jean, a senator. “There’s great potential for that.”
More diverse states are pushing for a leadoff this time, with Democrats likely to impose sanctions to prevent such jockeys.
Non-white voters make up 26% of the total electorate and support Joe Biden over Donald Trump by a nearly 3-to-1 margin in the 2020 presidential election, according to AP VoteCast, a survey of voters nationwide. Non-white voters then made up 38% of the Democratic electorate.
By contrast, 91% of 2020 Iowa Democratic caucus goers and 94% of New Hampshire primary voters are white, according to VoteCast surveys.
Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Mich., who is helping to get the state going early, said Michigan reflects diversity “and what we’re losing in these early primaries.”
“We’re not testing candidates on what their general election is going to be like,” Dingell said, adding that Michigan’s “had more county fairs than anyone would want.” It’s reminiscent of the Iowa State Fair, where generations of presidential candidates have manned the porkchop grill and wolfed down deep-fried versions of every food item imaginable.
“We’re pretty good at junk food,” Dingell said with a laugh.
If the Rules Committee approves the reorganized framework, it would still have to be approved by the full Democratic National Committee, which generally approves such decisions.
This could be a moot point if Biden seeks a second term. In that case, the party will have less appetite to build a strong primary schedule that would allow another Democrat to challenge for the nomination.
Some rules committee members suggested the White House has recently taken a keen interest in the preliminary calendar process, but others expressed frustration that the Biden administration has not provided clear guidance on where its priorities lie.
In addition to diversity, Democrats are looking at state efforts to make elections more competitive and loosen voting restrictions. They’re looking at states’ racial makeup, union membership and size in terms of demographics and geography — all of which affect opportunities for direct voter engagement and travel and advertising spending.
After a flurry of results that prevented The Associated Press from announcing the winner, Iowa Democrats have proposed changing the presidential preference portion of the caucus, requiring all participants to mail in their choices. But there have been more than a decade of calls from top Democrats to move the starting line elsewhere, highlighting the party’s growth and potential among young voters and people of color.
Advocacy groups promoted Nevada’s bid first with Latino Victory, the board of the Asian American Action Fund, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus’s BOLD PAC, Somos Votantes and ASPIRE PAC, which represents Asian American and Pacific Islander members of Congress.
Castro said his position once irked party bosses but gained more approval among top Democrats.
“This time feels different,” he said. “After the experience of Iowa in 2020 — and after pushing for equity and racial justice over the last two years, recognizing that the Democratic Party is the only big tent party, the only inclusive party — this is what our primary calendar reflects. .”
Weisert reports from Washington. Associated Press writers Holly Ramer in Concord, New Hampshire, and Hannah Fingerhut in Washington contributed.