South Carolina replaces New Hampshire as “first in the nation primary”

Biden resurrected his 2020 campaign after a strong primary performance in South Carolina

Courtesy / Wikimedia Commons

Biden resurrected his 2020 campaign after a strong primary performance in South Carolina

Patrick McGann, News Editor

The Democratic Party approved a proposal to replace the state of New Hampshire as the first presidential primary. The DNC has endorsed a plan to replace the Granite State with South Carolina, a plan supported by President Joe Biden who did exceedingly well in the mostly-red state in 2020. 

Despite this move from the DNC, New Hampshire officials are committed to ensuring that New Hampshire remains the first primary, per state law. ““Despite today’s vote, the fight is not over. As we have repeatedly pointed out, New Hampshire law requires us to hold the first-in-the-nation primary, and state Republican leaders have made clear that will not change,” said New Hampshire Democratic Party chair Ray Buckley. Several NH GOP members also support the efforts to ensure that New Hampshire remains the first state to conduct a presidential primary. 

The proposed plan by the DNC has the South Carolina primary to take place on February 3rd. Nevada and New Hampshire would follow three days later. Nevada is switching their previous caucus system with a primary. Georgia and Michigan would then follow on February 13th, with a majority of the remaining states conducting their primaries on Super Tuesday. 

Early primaries are crucial for candidates looking to gain traction into Super Tuesday. Starting off strong in the early states creates stronger name recognition and funding. On the other side, less known candidates who do not exceed expectations in the early primaries often drop out due to lack of funding. This opens up a large pool of voters who the remaining candidates fight for endorsements of. 

Some members of the Democratic party question the choice of opening their voting with such a red state. Donald Trump won the state handedly in 2016 and 2020. The state hasn’t voted for a Republican president since 1976. However, South Carolina has a high black population at 27%. States like New Hampshire and Iowa have white populations north of 90%. The black vote makes up a high anc consistent percentage of the Democratic vote, which would give candidates a good understanding of where they stand with a targeted constituent group. “The Democratic Party looks like America and so does this proposal,” the party chairman, Jaime Harrison.

Joe Biden, the current face of the Democratic party, is an advocate of this proposal. President Biden performed poorly in Iowa and New Hampshire in the 2020 primary, but was able to resurrect his campaign with a strong showing in South Carolina, largely due to his popularity with black voters. In 2020, Biden received only 8% of the vote in New Hampshire, trailing Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg, and Amy Klobuchar. However, in South Carolina, Biden ran away with almost 49% of the total vote, with Bernie Sanders coming in second with less than 20%. This success in South Carolina catapulted Biden to winning the Democratic nomination, and eventually the presidency later that year. 

Looking towards 2024, there is much uncertainty with the Democratic party. President Biden has yet to make a formal announcement on his future. He would begin his next term at the age of 82 and would serve until 86. He is already the first president to serve into his 80’s. If he were to run, he would likely run with little opposition and easily win the nomination. If he were not to, the common sense candidate would be his current Vice President, Kamala Harris. However, Harris is very unpopular and has received criticism for her work at VP. Many think if she were to be the nominee, she would struggle to beat her Republican opponent. Harris sought the nomination in 2020, but dropped out after several poor performances.