Always before, when California was let down in presidential primary season, there was no one to blame but anonymous committees in both the Democratic and Republican parties.
No more. The 2024 California primary is currently scheduled for March 5, most likely much later. most major decisions have been made in smaller states. If this goes as planned now, it will be another in a long series of letting the tail wag the dog, and there will be one man to blame: President Biden.
There was little doubt that Biden’s choice of South Carolina to replace New Hampshire and Iowa as the top presidential preference voters was revenge.
Anyone who remembers the 2020 primary season will recall that the Democratic race began as a hodgepodge with no particular frontrunner, except that Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders continued to win pluralities in early states, though never by definitive margins.
Then came South Carolina, which voted on February 29 with a preponderance of African-Americans on the Democratic side. After the dean of that state’s congressional delegation, black Democrat James Clyburn, strongly endorsed Biden, he woHe won the state by a wide margin and other candidates including Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and former South Bend, Indiana, mayor Pete Buttegieg were quick to endorse him. Essentially, that ended the first season. At that time, then-California Senator Kamala Harris had long since retired.
Biden, who says he intends to run for re-election next year, would love to see an even quicker end to meaningful primaries in his party next year.
That, of course, would leave California essentially without a say in the choice of the Democratic candidate, and perhaps the Republican one as well. That’s not fair to California voters.
This state consistently provides Democratic presidential candidates with their national popular vote margin. It also provides two Democratic senators, without whom Democrats would be a minority in the Senate.
There are 40 Democratic members in the California House this year compared to just 12 Republicans. That was a net gain of one seat for the GOP, but without the Californians, the Democrats would be a hopeless minority in Congress, rather than nearly even as they are today.
Thus, California makes a more significant contribution to Democrats than any other state, including 54 Electoral College votes, without which Republicans would have won every election since 1996.
But Biden, who owes his November 2020 victory and his current job to California voters, gave tiny South Carolina and its nine electoral votes his full preference.
Democrats have long excused their contempt for California on the grounds that the state’s campaign costs are too high for many early candidates. Yes, it costs more to campaign in California than it does in Iowa, New Hampshire or South Carolina.
But you can also win a lot more national convention delegates here. With a big win here, California could allow one candidate to virtually clinch the nomination every time.
Why shouldn’t the largest state have the biggest say in choosing the nominees? It is best to choose them later.
Biden completely ignored this in his December letter to the Democrats’ Rules and Bylaws committee, which then decided to let South Carolina vote first.
“We must make sure that voters of color have a say in choosing our candidate…” Biden said. “For decades, black voters have been the backbone of the party, but they have been relegated to the bottom of the early primary process.” So let South Carolina go first, he said.
But an early vote in California would involve more black voters than South Carolina and exponentially more Latinos. So why push this state back, as both sides regularly do?
Biden added: “There should…be strong representation from urban, suburban and rural America and from all regions of the country.” He used that reasoning to pressure South Carolina, but left out California, even though it’s as big as entire other regions.
This is nonsense and California legislators should not accept it passively. There is no solid reason for them to stick with the current date of March 5th which puts California at the back of the bus.
The bottom line: California has long deserved a much bigger voice in the presidency.initial selection, but again probably won’t make it.
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