DEMOCRATS REARRANGE PRIMARY SCHEDULE TO PROMOTE DIVERSITY
The Democratic National Committee today voted to rearrange the early primary/caucus schedule to add two states in an effort to provide a larger voice to minorities.
For the 2008 presidential season, Iowa will hold it's caucuses first on January 14, with Nevada holding it's own five days later. New Hampshire will retain it's first-in-the-nation primary on January 22, followed one week later by South Carolina's primary.
Nevada has a sizable Hispanic population, while South Carolina has a high concentration of black voters. The idea is to allow more diversity in the early presidential preference contests toward deciding the party's nominee, potentially giving two important constituenties more weight in the process.
There were some voices against the move, though, noting that "front loading" primaries and caucuses would likely result in a candidate having the nomination in hand much earlier, thus denying those states which hold their contests later any say.
The rules also include consequences for states who may want to consider jumping ahead on the schedule:
"Eager to keep states from jumping in line, the DNC also passed enforcement rules that would punish candidates who campaign in states that ignore the party and set their own schedule. Some party members worry that would create an unseemly intraparty fight when Democrats can least afford it.
"Under that plan, candidates who venture into states that ignore party rules would not get any delegates from those contests. But some DNC members were unsure how effective such a sanction would be, particularly if the states doing the leapfrogging are small and have few delegates to offer."