President Joe Biden’s proposed changes to the Democratic primary schedule have been approved by the DNC. The new order of primary states will see South Carolina take the place of Iowa and New Hampshire, marking a significant shift in the power dynamics of the Democratic Party.
The decision to move South Carolina up in the primary schedule is not only important for the power it will give to the state’s more racially diverse population, but also for its significance to Biden’s own 2020 presidential primary campaign. South Carolina was the state that Biden won that helped him to defeat his main opponent at the time, Bernie Sanders.
The move has been controversial, however, as it threatens the pride of New Hampshire, who has traditionally gone first in the primary election. Others, such as Sanders’ former campaign manager Faiz Shakir, argue that South Carolina is a solidly Republican state and that Democrats should give Democratic voters in competitive swing states a shot.
In order for the new schedule to be ratified, several key states must still approve the changes. Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer approved the new primary date for Michigan this week, signing the bill that moves it up to February 27.
The decision has also been seen as a signal that Biden intends to run for re-election in 2024. Close Biden ally Rep. James Clyburn said that when talking to the president, he “made it very clear to him that I’m very hopeful that he will run for re-election.” Biden smiled back, according to Clyburn’s account.
While Biden has yet to officially declare his intention to run again in 2024, the DNC’s approval of the new primary schedule indicates that he is likely to do so. This will be a major shift in the power dynamics of the Democratic Party, as the states that go earlier in primary elections hold more power in selecting a party’s presidential nominee.
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