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President Biden at odds with Iowa Democrats over changing nomination process

Joe Biden
Posted at 6:58 AM, Dec 02, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-02 07:58:42-05

For numerous election cycles, presidential hopefuls flocked to Iowa and New Hampshire to gain an early advantage in the presidential nomination process.

But if President Joe Biden has his way, the process would undergo a massive overhaul.

In a letter addressed to the Democratic National Committee on Thursday, Biden said the party should move away from holding closed caucuses and that states early in the nomination process should be diverse.

Iowa is generally the first state to hold a closed caucus, which largely involves voters gathering in person to announce their vote. Then the first primary is held in New Hampshire.

“Too often over the past fifty years, candidates have dropped out or had their candidacies marginalized by the press and pundits because of poor performances in small states early in the process before voters of color cast a vote,” Biden said. “As I said then, 99.9% of Black voters had not had the chance to vote at that point, and 99.8% of Latino voters had not had the opportunity. That is unacceptable in 2024 and it must change.”

Biden’s comments drew ire from Iowa Democratic Party Chair Ross Wilburn.

“Small rural states like lowa must have a voice in our Presidential nominating process. Democrats cannot forget about entire groups of voters in the heart of the midwest without doing significant damage to the party for a generation. I'm proud of the commitment lowa Democrats have made to advancing diverse Presidential candidates over the years,” Wilburn said.

Wilburn said the state democratic party has proposed changes to the caucus process to allow voters to caucus by mail. He also noted that state law does not allow for primaries and that voting must be conducted by the end of February.

Biden struggled in Iowa and New Hampshire in the 2020 nomination process. He finished fourth in the Iowa caucuses, well behind Pete Buttigieg, and Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.

The Iowa caucuses were fraught with difficulties as the state could not release numbers until the next day due to glitches.

Biden then finished fifth in the New Hampshire primary, which Sanders and Buttigieg led.

After Sanders won in Nevada, the race started to shift in South Carolina, with many Black voters supporting Biden, giving him a commanding victory in the state. It was at that point that several candidates exited the race and gave their support to Biden.