Changing the presidential election cycle

Jim Geraghty of National Review Online wonders whether the outcome of this year’s Democratic presidential selection process might prompt long-term changes.

There’s a good chance that two months from now, every delegate in the first four contests will have gone to one of four white candidates: Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, or Pete Buttigieg. …

… This might just be enough to spur some serious talk of changing the order of primary states — if not for insufficient ethnic diversity in those first four states, then out of the general sense that 46 other states would like a turn going earlier. But as far as it goes, those first four are lacking some features found in many other parts of the country. …

… According to the U.S. census, Iowa’s population is 90.7 percent white and New Hampshire’s is 93 percent. According to the U.S. Census, 74 percent of Nevadans identify as white and 29 percent of Nevada residents identify as Latino or Hispanic — obviously, there’s some overlap. South Carolina is 68 percent white and 27 percent identify as African American. …

… Also note that these first four states also don’t have any big cities besides Las Vegas, which is a pretty unique city by any measure. …

… No state is going to be a perfect microcosm of the country, and obviously there are some places in the United States that are fine with these four states always going first. (Those places are called, “Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina.”) Voters in 46 states have complained about this for decades, but the coming “whiteout” in the 2020 primaries might spur the Democratic party to seriously consider a plan to shake up the traditional schedule — and who knows: If the Democrats can do it, maybe the Republican party will change its schedule in 2024 as well.

Mitch Kokai / Senior Political Analyst

Mitch Kokai is senior political analyst for the John Locke Foundation. He joined JLF in December 2005 as director of communications. That followed more than four years as chie...

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