Dems Ponder Changing Iowa for New Hampshire As First Presidential Primary State

Iowa’s place as the first caucus state in the presidential nominating contests for the Democratic Party may soon come to an end — but many have pointed out that New Hampshire, the state first in line to replace it, doesn’t reflect the diversity of the country as a whole.

According to reporting from Politico, which cites conversations with Democratic National Committee (DNC) members and state party chairs, New Hampshire is the top contender to succeed the Iowa caucuses as the first nomination contest in presidential politics; traditionally, the state’s primaries have been second, after Iowa’s caucuses.

New Hampshire appears to be supported by neighboring states in the New England region. But there’s been pushback against the idea elsewhere, including in Nevada, which has a more diverse electorate and which is traditionally the fourth state in the nation to hold a primary.

New Hampshire and Iowa do not reflect the demographic characteristics in the country. While 60.1 percent of the U.S. is white, Iowa’s population is 85 percent white and New Hampshire’s population is 93.1 percent white.

According to an analysis from the financial site WalletHub, many states represent the country’s population better than Iowa or New Hampshire; taking into account factors like race, age and income, the website’s study named Illinois and Florida as the top two states, with Michigan, Arizona and Ohio rounding out the top five.

The top five states with the most racial demographics reflect the country overall are Illinois, New York, Connecticut, Connecticut, and Virginia.

However, none are on either list of the four states (Iowa New Hampshire South Carolina and Nevada) that currently comprise the first nominating contests to the DNC.

If current President Joe Biden decides to run again and doesn’t face a significant challenge, any changes to the Democratic Party’s primary schedule may have little effect in 2024. If Biden does not bow out and the Democratic nomination depends on a primaries process, it could be significant that which states go first. It could also have an impact on who ultimately wins the nomination.

In an op ed TruthoutIn 2019, Iziah Thompson, then a Nneka Fritz scholar at New York University’s Wagner School of Public Service, said that the primary process as it stands right now is inherently racist — by prioritizing states that don’t accurately reflect the country’s diversity, he wrote, issues important to voters of color are rendered little more than an afterthought.

Thompson wrote that allowing a different state to take the lead may not be the right solution. Instead, it’s worth considering getting rid of the state-by-state process altogether.

“Even if we can’t agree on another more diverse primary state, there are a bevy of other options, such as running our primary like we run our general election,” Thompson stated at the time. “No offense to Iowans, but the entire country deserves a say in who runs on the biggest of tickets.”