Democrats Might Bump Iowa from First Primary Position

The Democratic Party began discussions this week to bring an end to having the Iowa caucuses serve as the kickoff to the presidential primaries every four years. Democrats are likely concerned about the publicity effects of continuing to start its nomination process in a location that does not resonate with its liberal coastal urban base.

The party’s Rules and Bylaws Committee circulated a document labeled as a “draft for discussion” that could change the criteria for selecting early primary states. The proposal would require consideration of a state’s “diversity” among its voters, its “competitiveness” in the general election, and whether the state can provide an “inclusive” process.

Iowa could easily be alleged to fall short in all of the proposed criteria. It is overwhelmingly white, is not considered a swing state and conducts a caucus rather than a statewide primary election.

The committee document states that it will select no more than five states to hold primaries before the first Tuesday in March. It expects to have states apply for spots in the early primaries.

Iowa has been joined by New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina in recent decades as the first states to participate in the nominating process. As a result, each has attracted a disproportionate amount of campaign money and advertising as candidates strive for a strong first step in the process.

Nevada’s state Democratic party has been campaigning to get into the first-in-the-nation primary position. The Democratic legislature there passed a law last year to move its primary to an earlier date. The party has published campaign-type documents touting the state’s racial, ethnic, and economic diversity. It also points to the recent success the party has had there and the state’s high rate of labor union membership.

Republicans might consider Democrats moving their first primary to Nevada a strategic success. The state chair is an avowed socialist who supports Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), the rest of “the Squad,” and socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT).

Untied from the restraints imposed by being forced to appeal to Iowa’s more moderate and traditional electorate, the socialist Democrats that are powerful in Nevada will not leave much doubt nationally about the policies they support.