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JLeslie's avatar

What do you think about Iowa no longer being the first state in the Democratic Primaries?

Asked by JLeslie (65478points) February 5th, 2023

What do you think about South Carolina going first? Months ago I heard people debating that SC should be first because it represents the party better. Personally, I think Michigan represents the make up of the party better. I also don’t necessarily understand the strategy for which state goes first, is it purposely in states that are red states overall with relatively small registered Democrats not only as a ratio to the state population, but also as a ratio to the registered Democrats at large if you ranked the states.

Here’s an article about it.

From the article:
The South Carolina primary will take place on Feb. 3. New Hampshire and Nevada will hold their contests on Feb. 6, while Georgia will move up in the order and vote on Feb. 13.

Iowa has not yet been slotted back into the primary calendar.

The first Midwestern state currently scheduled to hold a primary in 2024 will be Michigan, which was slotted to Feb. 27 by the DNC.

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14 Answers

SavoirFaire's avatar

Removing Iowa is long overdue, but I think a lot of the conflict could have been avoided if they had just resolved to have a group of states (South Carolina, New Hampshire, Nevada, and maybe Michigan and/or Illinois) go first collectively rather than displacing New Hampshire altogether. That would give the first stage of the primary a bit of regional diversity as well rather than just shifting the locus of power from one spot to another.

As for South Carolina being representative of the Democratic party, it’s not. According to an analysis done by FiveThirtyEight, which is focused on the Democratic electorate rather than the party’s total membership, it’s almost all the way at the bottom (46th place, while New Hampshire is 34th). And the state that is most like the party—Illinois—isn’t even being talked about as an early primary state.

But that’s because it’s never really been about matching the party’s membership or even the party’s electorate. What they’re trying to do is increase the representation of one of their largest and most loyal voting blocks: black voters (who are often taken for granted and are not ignorant of that fact). It’s also about rewarding political allies of Joe Biden (which is why Mississippi, Louisiana, or even Maryland weren’t moved up instead).

And as always, let’s not ignore the role that money plays in these decisions. Being first means getting revenue from every campaign instead of just the ones that are still standing by the time your state gets to vote. Going first is lucrative in addition to whatever other merits it may have.

filmfann's avatar

Iowa hasn’t been the first primary location for that long. Only since 1972.

filmfann's avatar

Iowa will suffer a bit for this. Used to be Iowa was the first campaign stop, so bars, cafes, and corn dog stands would make lots of sales during elections.

ragingloli's avatar

Honestly, who gives a shit? Seriously.

JLeslie's avatar

@SavoirFaire Seems like a play (just short of pandering) to try to ensure Black people get out and vote. Starting in SC isn’t going to do anything in my opinion to give Black people more say in who makes it to the end.

@SavoirFaire @filmfann So, to make tax revenue? Or, you mean to help local business owners?

gorillapaws's avatar

The democratic establishment will do everything they can to prevent a progressive from winning the Primary. This is just another example in a long list of ways they’re willing to try to fuck over progressives.

JLeslie's avatar

@gorillapaws How does the hurt progressives?

gorillapaws's avatar

@JLeslie “How does the hurt progressives?”

This article explains it

In short, it’s a conservative state that leans heavily Republican, is very anti-labor, and is not representative of the nation as a whole, let alone the average democratic voter.

Also @SavoirFaire is spot on with the money angle. Remember that SC is where the Democratic establishment pulled the headshot on the Bernie campaign. Bernie had a 90% chance of winning the primary going into SC, and then the Party pulled out all the stops to prevent his victory. This is the payback to SC politicians for making that happen.

filmfann's avatar

@JLeslie I was thinking about the small business owners.

JLeslie's avatar

@gorillapaws I read your article, and I still don’t see how it hurts progressive candidates specifically. I’m assuming you mean progressives among the democrats and you are not using the term progressives synonymously with the term Democrats? Are you saying Democrats in SC are less progressive minded than NC? Or, FL or GA for that matter, which are also mentioned.

You can see in my statement on the OP I noticed that SC is a red state, and I don’t feel SC well represents the Democratic Party as a whole, so I’m questioning some of the same things as the article, but I don’t think starting in SC hurts the most progressive among the Democrats. Do candidates usually drop out if they do poorly in the first state? I don’t remember. That’s pretty quick to drop our.

I would guess the strategy is to get excitement in the states that count the most, and that’s probably towards the end of primary season. Let those voters feel like their candidate made it to the top spot. SC doesn’t count much at all for the Democrats for the actual vote when it’s the “final two” in the presidential run with our electoral college system. SC is too red.

gorillapaws's avatar

@JLeslie “Are you saying Democrats in SC are less progressive minded than NC? Or, FL or GA for that matter, which are also mentioned.”

I“m saying that the Democratic voters in SC are way more conservative than the typical American Voter and certainly more conservative that the typical Democratic voter. That means this will skew the early momentum in favor of conservative democratic issues. Because it’s the first stop, all of the conversations will not focus on areas progressives (and most Americans) care most about: labor, progressive taxation, minimum wage, single-payer healthcare, etc. Instead it’s going to focus on conservative issues for the entire lead-up to the first primary.

@JLeslie “Do candidates usually drop out if they do poorly in the first state?”

It’s that it create early momentum in the press and sets the tone for the coverage of the election. It also steers the conversation in the many months leading up to the primary. Statistically, when you win the first few states you’ve got a lock on the primary. Bernie’s 2020 campaign is the only outlier to this in the history of the US primaries. He won the first 3 states in the primary but lost the national primary.

One just has to look back to the previous primary’s shit-show in Iowa to see how the party is willing to try to give conservative democrats the early momentum:

“Shadow has also worked with a number of Democratic presidential candidates. Former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, for example, has several ties to Shadow. Federal Election Commission (FEC) filings show his campaign paid Shadow tens of thousands of dollars for various services in recent months. Former Vice President Joe Biden’s presidential campaign also paid Shadow, as did Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s. One of Shadow’s investors is Acronym, a well-funded Silicon Valley-based progressive nonprofit that also runs a political action committee. David Plouffe, the former manager for Barack Obama’s presidential campaign, sits on the board.”

JLeslie's avatar

^^A lot of good points there. When I lived in NC I learned there were people who were socially conservative and fiscally liberal. I didn’t know that existed before that. I’d say that’s true all over the Bible Belt, but in SC it probably is very high and it is most Black people who fall in that category. To be clear I’m not saying most Black people fall in that category, I don’t know the percentage, I’m only saying in my experience people who are conservative on social issues like gay rights and abortion, and still vote for the Democrats are usually Black in the South.

I remember Iowa voting for Obama, and hearing so many people saying “all white Iowa voted for Obama.” I think it helped with his momentum, even though I give even bigger credit to the Oprah effect and left wing media. I’m still angry about it.

I also think because Iowa is so white they were more inclined to vote for Obama. I assume you would agree Obama was seen as more progressive than Hillary.

I think the truth is a lot of Democrats reject the farther left extremes of the party, so if someone very progressive did well in the first state or two, it might inspire the moderates to get out and vote in other states.

Acrylic's avatar

By the time primaries come here the presidential candidates are usually already chosen. Still, whatever. We have a good idea who the nominees will be even before primaries and Caucasus start, so it matters very little to me. They all should be on the same day, but since they’re not America just has to live with the system in place.

Entropy's avatar

IMHO, the real move is that we should abolish primaries and runoffs, have one election, let everyone run, we all vote the same day, and we used ranked choice or multivote to have an instant runoff until someone has 50.1% of the vote.

Fixing the order of the primaries is like putting up wallpaper in a structurally unsound building..

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