President Biden has proposed a radical shakeup of the Democratic presidential nominating process that would make South Carolina the first primary state, bumping Iowa from the top spot.
The plan was announced by Democratic Party officials at a dinner Thursday in Washington, according to multiple reports.
The drastic reorder would see South Carolina kickoff the 2024 Democratic presidential primaries on Feb. 6, followed by Nevada and New Hampshire on Feb. 13. Georgia would come next on Feb. 20, and then Michigan on Feb. 27, according to Politico.
In a letter, the 80-year-old president cited the need for more diversity in the nominating process as the impetus for the change.
“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 missive Thursday to members of the Democratic National Committee’s Rules and Bylaws Committee.
“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,” the president added.
During Biden’s 2020 presidential campaign, the longtime senator and former vice president finished fourth in Iowa, fifth in New Hampshire, and second in Nevada before rocketing to first place in South Carolina, a turning point in his campaign.
The Iowa Caucuses have been the first test for Democratic presidential candidates since 1972.
The 2020 Iowa Caucuses were marred by technical glitches and errors and inconsistencies in reporting that resulted in a three-day-long delay before a winner was announced.
“Our party should no longer allow caucuses as part of our nominating process,” Biden bluntly writes in his letter to the DNC panel, calling them “inherently anti-participatory.”
Since 2008, Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina have been the first four Democratic presidential primary and caucus states.
Democratic leaders in some of the states being pushed further back are apoplectic.
“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 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.”
Biden’s proposal is subject to approval by the DNC’s Rules and Bylaws Committee and the full DNC, which according to the New York Times could come early next year.