Democrats have won South Carolina once in 60 years, the state is getting older and whiter, and plenty of battleground states would be a better fit. So why do Democrats want to put the state’s primary first? Because it helps Joe Biden and hurts the Left.

by Branko Marcetic, Jacobin

Wait ― South Carolina?

That’s the plan, as personally requested by President Joe Biden and approved near-unanimously by the Democratic Party Rules and Bylaws Committee this past Friday. If approved by the full Democratic National Committee (DNC), the new schedule would have the Palmetto State vote first on February 3, then New Hampshire, and now, Nevada three days later, Georgia a week after that, and Michigan after two more weeks. In effect, the plan pushes up the diverse, regionally significant states that have become pivotal to Democratic success in elections, while giving South Carolina the pivotal position currently claimed, in different ways, by both Iowa and New Hampshire.

Joe Biden speaks with the South Carolina flag behind him

To be blunt, this doesn’t make much sense. South Carolina hasn’t voted Democratic in a presidential election since Jimmy Carter ran in 1976, a blip in an otherwise unbroken red streak dating back to the passage of the Civil Rights Act. It hasn’t had a Democratic senator since 2005. Six of its last eight governors were Republican, and it’s had twenty straight years of a GOP trifecta at the state level, something the Democrats haven’t achieved even once in the last three decades. Biden lost the state by twelve points in 2020, an election that also saw the Democratic senate candidate (and current DNC chair) thumped by ten points despite raising more money than any Senate candidate in history.

Simply put, as the current trend lines go, South Carolina isn’t a battleground state, and Democratic chances of winning it anytime soon are minimal. So why is it being given the king-making power to set the front-runner and hand them potentially insurmountable momentum?

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