President Biden’s team is indicating that he won’t be on the ballot if the first two contests of the primary season take place in traditional first–to–vote states Iowa and New Hampshire, setting up a scenario where Democrats from those states could defy Biden and move ahead with their contests — even as the party warns it will strip them of their national convention delegates if they jump the gun.
The new calendar puts New Hampshire and Nevada voting second — a few days after South Carolina — but New Hampshire Democrats note that their state law requires them to have the nation‘s first primary and many vow to keep it that way, putting the president‘s team at odds with state law.
Lastly, Iowa Democrats have quietly moved to hold their contest the same day as Iowa Republicans — in January, but with a mail–in option for ballots, which could put them first on the Democrats‘ calendar — but New Hampshire lawmakers and party officials have signaled they may attempt to move ahead of Iowa.
The move has infuriated top Democrats from the states as they feel the Democratic National Committee’s lengthy process for determining the primary calendar was theatre for a predetermined outcome. Senator Jeanne Shaheen, the senior senator from New Hampshire, said: “I believe the DNC‘s process was flawed and that top party officials had their own agenda from the start.”
In response to top Democrats’ grievances, Mo Elleithee, a member of the party‘s Rules and Bylaws Committee and a longtime Democratic Strategist said: “We’re seeing a trend in politics where some people just claim the whole system is rigged when they don’t get their way,” Elleithee said. “That’s not the case here.”
It’s been suggested that if Biden isn‘t on the ballot, some Democrats have floated a write–in campaign in Iowa and New Hampshire. But Biden‘s campaign declined to say whether it would support such an effort.
The DNC’s Rules and Bylaws Committee will review the party’s primary plan on Friday in Minneapolis; the early state calendar has not been set due to a complicated mix of state laws, DNC rules, and state party proposals.
President Biden’s team may have their own agenda and may be in for a surprise if Iowa and New Hampshire defy the President and move forward with their contests. It remains to be seen what the party will do if the two states are adamant in their resistance and if the President is not on the ballot in the two states.