Joe Biden Pushes for South Carolina to Displace Iowa as First State in Presidential Nomination Primary

Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden addresses a crowd during a campaign event at Wofford University February 28, 2020 in Spartanburg, South Carolina. South Carolinians will vote in the Democratic presidential primary tomorrow. (Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images)
Sean Rayford/Getty Images

President Joe Biden asked Democrats on Friday to make South Carolina the first primary state for the Democrat presidential nomination, displacing Iowa.

The president sent a letter to party leaders detailing his preference for South Carolina to be first, citing the racial diversity of the state.

“As I said in February 2020, you cannot be the Democratic nominee and win a general election unless you have overwhelming support from voters of color — and that includes Black, Brown and Asian American & Pacific Islander voters,” Biden’s letter to Democrats read, insisting that “voters of color have a voice” earlier in the primary process.

Under Biden’s proposed schedule, South Carolina would be first, followed by New Hampshire, Nevada, Georgia, and then Michigan.

Democrats have complained that Iowa and New Hampshire are mostly white and do not properly represent the party.

If Democrats adopt Biden’s recommendation, it would upend decades of the traditional Iowa caucuses making a heavy impact on the ultimate choice for president.

Former President Barack Obama famously won Iowa in 2007 over Hillary Clinton, catapulting him to political stardom.

In the 2020 cycle, Biden lost big in Iowa, New Hampshire, and Nevada before surging back in the South Carolina primary, propelled by black voters and an endorsement from Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC).

The altered primary calendar could also have a heavy impact on future candidates.

If Vice President Kamala Harris ran for president, she would have a stronger showing in South Carolina with the support of black Democrats.

Rising Democrat stars like Pete Buttigieg, who narrowly won the Iowa caucuses in 2020, would face a tougher primary fight if South Carolina was first.

The primary calendar shuffle would also hurt the rise of a more leftist candidate such as Sen. Bernie Sanders, who did well in Iowa and won New Hampshire and Nevada, prompting the Democrat establishment to panic when it looked like he could win.

Biden has never been accepted by Iowa Democrats, despite his effort to portray himself as a candidate of the working class.

EMMETSBURG, IOWA - DECEMBER 02: Democratic presidential candidate, former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at a campaign stop on December 2, 2019 in Emmetsburg, Iowa. The stop was part of his 650-mile "No Malarkey" campaign bus trip through rural Iowa. The 2020 Iowa Democratic caucuses will take place on February 3, 2020, making it the first nominating contest for the Democratic Party in choosing their presidential candidate to face Donald Trump in the 2020 election. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Democratic presidential candidate, former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at a campaign stop on December 2, 2019, in Emmetsburg, Iowa (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images).

In 1987, Biden dropped out in September before the Iowa caucuses, as he failed to gain traction. In 2008, Biden dropped out after finishing in fifth place in Iowa, losing to Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Bill Richardson.

Biden asserted in his letter to Democrats that it is time to modernize the process.

“For fifty years, the first month of our presidential nominating process has been a treasured part of our democratic process, but it is time to update the process for the 21st century,” he wrote.

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