Chicago Sun-Times

Change to Democrats’ 2024 presidenti­al primary schedule benefits Biden, not voters

- Stephen C. Compton, Glenview Send letters to

By demoting the state that crushed his presidenti­al ambitions in 2008 and nearly did so again in 2020, President Joe Biden has abused a position of power to skew the 2024 Democratic primaries in his favor.

In the 2008 Iowa caucuses, Biden came in fifth, with less than 1% of the vote, and was forced to drop out. In 2020, despite campaignin­g heavily in the state, he came in fourth. In 2024, Iowa would have been the 80-year-old incumbent’s biggest challenge, since they tend to choose and elevate fresh young faces. At Biden’s request, the Democratic National Committee has now removed that threat and smoothed his path to reelection.

It is true that Iowa’s demographi­cs do not represent America’s diversity. However, it is unethical for election changes to be designed by a candidate who stands to benefit from them. South Carolina is equally insufficie­nt from a demographi­c standpoint. Hispanics and Asians make up even smaller percentage­s of South Carolina’s population than they do of Iowa. The real reason for the selection of South Carolina is as a reward for saving Biden’s political career in 2020 and because they are the safest bet for him in 2024. This is not an impartial decision about what is best for American democracy, but political cronyism and an attempt to rig the next election in the incumbent’s favor.

An NPR analysis in 2016 of which state best represents America found that both from a racial perspectiv­e and with regard to demographi­cs overall, Illinois is the clear winner. Illinois also presents a less drastic geographic shift from Iowa, keeping the opening of the election at the center of the country. And it offers a broad cultural and geographic balance of rural, small-town, suburban and urban America.

From an objective standpoint, the best state to replace Iowa and open the presidenti­al election season is its neighbor, Illinois.

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