Monday, February 1, 2021

Iowa Will Not Go Gentle into That Good Night for 2024

Another Monday and another Iowa and 2024 story that lingered over the weekend. This time, John McCormick at the Wall Street Journal has more from on the ground in the Hawkeye state about the efforts to save the caucuses one more time.

One thing that FHQ touched on last week was that if a change was to be made to the early part of the presidential primary calendar in 2024, then it would be in the national parties' interests to come to some formal or informal agreement about what that might look like. Things are much more likely to stick long term that way. And that stability -- certainty, as FHQ tends to call it -- is something that not only both major parties typically like in these nominations processes, but those playing the game -- the candidates and their campaigns -- do too. 

Lack of agreement at the national party level is something that could be potentially exploited by state political parties, especially those attempting to protect the status quo. If national Democrats opt to drop the Iowa caucuses and the Republican National Committee decides to stick it out one more cycle (or even indefinitely), then the two state parties in the Hawkeye state can use that "disagreement" to their advantage by sticking together. 

And that is exactly what the two Iowa parties are going to do. It is what McCormick describes in his reporting and what Iowa state parties have done with consistency in the efforts to save their position when threatened throughout the post-reform era. 

What is more, that sort of cohesion exists not only in Iowa but across the four carve-out states. As Republican Party of Iowa chair, Jeff Kaufmann said to McCormick:

"...the four early states -- sometimes referred to as carve-out states because of their special status on the party calendars -- are unified in their commitment to maintaining the status quo, at least on the Republican side."

Whether that extends to the Democratic deliberations for 2024 remains to be seen. But newly elected DNC  chair, Jaime Harrison does hail from South Carolina. That could mean an effort to strip out contests that were not representative to the broader party (like the three states that preceded South Carolina on the 2020 Democratic primary calendar). But it could also translate to a maintenance of the status quo if the delegations from each carve-out state's party to the DNC sees benefit in coalescing. 

That the state parties are on the same page in Iowa is typical. That the four carve-out states have begun to seek some strength in numbers is a more recent development. But both are meaningful to the discussions that will decide what the 2024 presidential primary calendar ultimately looks like. 

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1 comment:

John Bragg said...

There's a parallel order-of-battle in both parties for the 2024 primaries. In both cases, you have a nationally dominant frontrunner, who is not as dominant in the early states, especially Iowa and New Hampshire.

Bluntly, both Trump and either Biden or Harris (assuming no Biden vs HArris) would benefit from a more nationalized race structure, and less emphasis on IA/NH where a non-frontrunner can emerge as a credible challenger. If you had any kind of national contest, the frontrunners would quickly steamroll the one-percenter longshots.

The only real path anyone but Trump, Biden or Harris has to a nomination in 2024 is the Jimmy Carter/Hamilton Jordan path, hoping to turn Iowa/NH shoe leather into an upset win and ride a wave of momentum to the nomination.

(Notice that this hasn't really happened since 1976).