Tell President Biden and the DNC: Don’t make South Carolina the first state to vote. Prioritize battleground states instead.

President Biden recently released a three-part plan to reform the Democratic presidential primary calendar and, frankly, it was almost a home run. However, one flaw dooms it entirely.

The first part of the plan is brilliant. It provides the critically important reform of elevating general election battleground states. Nevada, New Hampshire, Georgia and then Michigan would all hold early February elections to help narrow and winnow the Democratic field. All four of these states have the distinction of being among the 10 closest states in the 2020 presidential election.

The problem is that they chose South Carolina to go first and ahead of all those battleground states. Biden’s proposal to elevate South Carolina to the front gives it incredible power to shape the race. Here’s the problem with that.

South Carolina is not a battleground state: Donald Trump carried it by double digits in 2020. It is way more ideologically and culturally conservative than the Democratic Party and the rest of the nation. It’s also one of the fiercest anti-union, anti-labor states in the country. In fact, South Carolina is already first in the nation with the terrible distinction of being the lowest-density union state in America.

If Democrats are serious about winning the working class vote, South Carolina isn’t the state to get it done.

As one of the strongest voting blocks in the Democratic coalition, it is essential Black voters get their say early and often throughout the nominating process. Yet Georgia has significantly more Black voters than South Carolina. So do Florida and North Carolina, two more battleground states.[1] In fact, 14 states have larger Black populations then South Carolina.[2]

Our first priority must be to select states early in the process that help produce the strongest Democratic nominee consistent with our working class values and agenda.

South Carolina isn’t even trending in any way toward the Democratic Party. Just two years ago, Jaime Harrison -- now the chair of the Democratic National Committee -- spent the eye-popping sum of $130 million to try to defeat Senator Lindsey Graham. After out-raising and outspending Mr. Graham, Mr. Harrison still lost the 2020 Senate race decisively.

Let’s not compel all other Democratic campaigns to waste more money that could be better spent building coalitions in states Democrats need to win.

Please take a moment to sign our petition to President Biden and the Democratic National Committee: Don’t make South Carolina the first state to vote in the 2024 Democratic primary. Make diverse, battleground states that Democrats need to win in the general election, like Georgia, Nevada, and Michigan, first instead.

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