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Democrats Move to Cut Iowa's Honored First-in-the-Nation Election Status, State Simply Not Diverse Enough

  On the grounds that Iowa has too few non-white residents, the Democratic Party took steps Friday that could lead it to push Iowa aside as ...

 On the grounds that Iowa has too few non-white residents, the Democratic Party took steps Friday that could lead it to push Iowa aside as it sets the rules for the 2024 presidential nominating cycle.

Although no final decision was taken on Friday by the Democratic National Committee’s Rules and Bylaws Committee, the tide appeared to be running against Iowa continuing its role as the first state to hold a contest in the presidential nominating process, according to The Washington Post.

“Now is not a time for us as a party to stand on tradition,” said Mo Elleithee, a member of the committee. “Now is not a time for us as a party to stand on status quo.” 

A draft of the resolution being considered sets criteria for states that want to apply to hold contests before the first Tuesday in March, according to the Des Moines Register.

That would cover Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina. 

The rules would grade applicant states on their “ethnic, geographic (and) union representation,” as well as general election competitiveness.

A state’s “ability to run (a) fair, transparent and inclusive primary” would also be considered, according to the Register. 

Iowa, under terms of state law, must hold caucuses for both parties.

Elleithee noted by implication that Iowa would not make the cut.

“Three of the four current early window states satisfy at least two of those criteria,” he said. “One does not satisfy any of them, at least in recent years.”

Ninety percent of Iowa’s population is white, and its population is only made up of 6.5 percent union members, the Register reported. Further, in the 2020 elections, President Donald Trump won the state by eight percentage points.

Iowa DNC member Scott Brennan was angered at the draft rules, the Post reported. 

“I feel like I got whipsawed today, and it is not fair. And it is not fair to the people of Iowa,” Brennan said. “I believe that process came about backward.”

Iowa Democratic Party chair Ross Wilburn seemed not to take the draft rules as the end of Iowa’s role as the first state in the nation to vote. 

“As this process plays out, just as it does every four years, we look forward to working with the DNC and the Rules and Bylaws Committee to explore substantive changes to the caucuses that would make them more straightforward and accessible, ensuring the future success of this proud Iowa tradition,” he said.

The state has been warned it could be bypassed as Democrats have focused on the core issues of urban and minority voters.

“We have to be honest with ourselves, and Iowa is not representative of America,” said former DNC chairman Tom Perez after the 2020 election cycle, according to the Post.

If Democrats decide to shunt Iowa to the back of the line, that could end the tradition of both parties having the caucuses on the same day because so far Republicans have shown no interest in changing their lineup or schedule for the presidential nomination process.

The 2020 Iowa caucuses were beset with technology issues that meant the results took several days to process. National and state-level Democrats traded blame over which was responsible for the problems.

In 2020, former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg received the most state delegate equivalents while Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont won the popular vote.

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