The debate over Biden's primary shakeup plan

The sharpest opinions on the debate from around the web

President Biden.
(Image credit: Illustrated | Getty Images)

The Democratic National Committee's Rules and Bylaws Committee last week approved a shakeup of the party's 2024 primary calendar, bumping Iowa's caucuses and New Hampshire's primary out of their traditional lead-off spots and putting South Carolina's primary first. New Hampshire and Nevada, then Georgia and Michigan are scheduled to go next. The Democrats have been discussing changing the primary schedule for months, but President Biden shocked party and state leaders last week by proposing the lineup with South Carolina (a state that gave his faltering campaign a boost in 2020) getting the voting started.

The plan ignited infighting, with Biden and the rules committee members who backed up his plan arguing that South Carolina should go first because it better reflects the racial diversity of the party and the nation. It's 68 percent white, 27 percent Black, 6 percent Latino or Hispanic, and 2 percent Asian. While roughly 40 percent of Democrats are non-white, Iowa and New Hampshire are 90 percent and nearly 93 percent white, respectively. But Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and some of his allies say it makes no sense to give South Carolina the power to decide what candidate starts the primaries with the early momentum, because it is a solidly red state with Democrats who are more conservative than most of the party. Is the shakeup good for the party, or just for Biden?

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Harold Maass, The Week US

Harold Maass is a contributing editor at The Week. He has been writing for The Week since the 2001 debut of the U.S. print edition and served as editor of when it launched in 2008. Harold started his career as a newspaper reporter in South Florida and Haiti. He has previously worked for a variety of news outlets, including The Miami Herald, ABC News and Fox News, and for several years wrote a daily roundup of financial news for The Week and Yahoo Finance.