Iowa and New Hampshire no longer will start the presidential primary season if some Democrat leaders have their way.
Senior party leaders and Democratic National Committee members privately have explored the idea of changing the schedule in 2024, and having Nevada and South Carolina start the primary season, Politico reported.
Democrats also are pondering multiple states — such as Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina — all holding their primaries on the first day.
Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., and former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D.-Nev., both with longtime connections to President Joe Biden, are among the people discussing the possible changes.
Clyburn and Reid have insisted Iowa and New Hampshire should not set the tone for the rest of the primary schedule.
"I don't think it's appropriate to have those two states to set the tone," Reid said in an interview. "It's really a false premise that if you do well in Iowa and New Hampshire you're going to do well across the country. That was proven wrong with Joe Biden.
"There's no diversity in Iowa. There's certainly no diversity in New Hampshire."
"Those states demographically do not represent the Democratic voting bloc. They should not have an outsize influence," he said.
Politico said intense discussions already have begun behind the scenes, based on interviews with more than a dozen Democrat leaders, DNC members, and state party officials.
Talk has ranged from overhauling the early state order to moving up Southern or Rust Belt states in the timeline. There also has been mention of Pennsylvania voting earlier, and doing away with caucuses entirely.
Clyburn and Reid both have argued their states should go first, though the South Carolina congressmen said he wouldn't lobby for it. He said he would leave the decision to new party chairman Jaime Harrison and the DNC.
Reid said he and Clyburn had spoken about the possibility of Nevada and South Carolina going at the same time. The former majority leader added he would be comfortable with South Carolina leading off things, if necessary.
"I'm not going to arm wrestle Jim Clyburn," Reid said.
The 2024 primary schedule is being scrutinized partly due to Iowa's problems in the 2020 caucuses, which failed to deliver a clear winner. Party members focused on diversity also have cited the state's predominantly white electorate.
Moving South Carolina to the head of the schedule would reward Southern voters in an evolving electoral map. Biden won the Democrat primaries in South Carolina and Georgia, which also gave him the nod in the general election.
In Nevada, Reid has advocated ending caucuses altogether, and the state legislature is considering that.
Besides possibly holding multiple states on the first day, there have been conversations about regional primaries. For example, Iowa and another Midwestern state could vote at the same time.
"Many of us believe that the first four could be consolidated, and still provide a small-state focus," said Larry Cohen, a longtime DNC member who was vice chair of the party's post-2016 Unity Reform Commission. He also called for "further calendar consolidation so that states like New York and New Jersey actually mean something."
Not all Democrats like the idea of changing tradition.
New Hampshire Democratic Party Chair Ray Buckley said adding multiple states at once would mean a TV-driven campaign, replacing the intimacy when an individual state is the sole focus of all the campaigns.
"People have been kicking around that flawed concept for decades," Buckley said. "Only the self funders or celebrity candidates would be able to compete. Without question, that plan would have prevented JFK, Carter, Clinton, Obama and Biden from ever being nominated. It would make having hundreds of millions for slick TV ads more important than one-on-one conversations with people. That idea should say in the trash can of discarded ideas."
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