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Early Primary State Issues Threat to Biden as Fight With DNC Escalates

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


An early primary state that has been fighting a decision made by the Democratic National Committee has now threatened to “publicly embarrass” President Joe Biden.

Officials in New Hampshire are saying they may hold the state’s Democratic primary without Biden’s name on the ballot, The New York Times is reporting.

In a lengthy NY Times Magazine article headlined, “The D.N.C. HAS A PRIMARY PROBLEM,” contributing writer Ross Barkan noted that while Iowa has historically gone first with its caucus, New Hampshire has followed and has “zealously guarded its status as the first-in-the-nation actual primary.”

Biden’s initial pursuit of the Democratic nomination in 2020 faced significant setbacks with disappointing performances in Iowa and New Hampshire. However, his campaign gained momentum when he secured a decisive victory in the South Carolina primary, where the presence of a substantial black voter base played a crucial role. Building on that success, Biden experienced a surge on Super Tuesday and ultimately secured the party’s nomination.

As such, Biden wants to change the process and allow “voters of color… a voice in choosing our nominee” by moving the first-ever primary to South Carolina.

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Fox News reports:

The plan, proposed in December, aims to increase levels of diversity in the early primaries by making South Carolina the first primary state, giving it top billing over Iowa and New Hampshire, which traditionally have held the first caucus and primary in the country’s nominating system, respectively.

Biden’s dramatic plan to reshape the Democratic primary is endorsed by the Democratic National Committee but has landed with a thud otherwise so far, and has been rejected in states across the country by both Republican and Democratic state leaders.

“New Hampshire, the state that prides itself on its Live Free or Die motto, has declared that it will vote first anyway, setting up a clash with the D.N.C. that could widen to publicly embarrass Biden — who, assuming he coordinates with the D.N.C. on its new calendar, would not be on the New Hampshire ballot in this scenario — handing the incumbent president a shocking statewide defeat,” Barkan wrote.

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Even with Biden’s presence on the ballot, the small state, renowned for its independent tendencies, might still provide a surprising number of votes, or even a stunning victory, to 2024 Democratic challenger Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

Although currently trailing behind Biden in polls, Kennedy has garnered significant media attention due to his unconventional views in recent weeks. He could potentially secure the state’s delegates, surpassing fellow longshot challenger Marianne Williamson. However, it remains to be seen if any other Democratic candidates emerge in the race.

This year, over 20 New Hampshire Democrat leaders urged Biden to reconsider his plan, cautioning that it could adversely impact their party’s prospects in the 2024 elections, as it would entail relinquishing their state’s status as the first primary state. Also, New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu, a Republican, has staunchly pledged to block any potential attempt to relocate his state’s primary.

“The reality is that New Hampshire is going to keep the first-in-the-nation primary… and the question only is whether or not the president is going to put his name on the ballot,” New Hampshire Democratic Party chairman Ray Buckley told the Times.

Former Democratic state representative D. Arnie Arnesen, now a talk show host, agreed that Biden has made a mistake.

“They knew the Republicans were going to Iowa and New Hampshire anyway. Why change now? There’s no upside,” Arnesen told the Times. “Not one iota of benefit for Joe Biden. Nothing. No benefit to Joe, no benefit to the Democrats. They shot themselves in the foot.”

“Iowa’s lawmakers have also attempted to undermine the president’s plan to delay their caucus,” Fox News noted. “Democrats in the state proposed a compromise that would let the state hold its caucus first as usual, but then delay announcing vote results until May, but there is no final decision.”

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