Rep. Clyburn admits DNC changed primary schedule to bolster Biden and avoid 'embarrassment'

May 20, 2023
Ben Marquis

The Democratic National Committee made some alterations to its 2024 primary election schedule earlier this year and bumped the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary from their traditional first-in-the-nation spot in favor of South Carolina.

Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC), a top ally of President Joe Biden, just confirmed what many had suspected -- that the scheduling change was made explicitly in order to boost Biden and avoid potential "embarrassment," the Daily Caller reported.

During the 2020 primary cycle, Biden performed rather poorly in Iowa and New Hampshire but his struggling presidential campaign was rescued in South Carolina thanks to a timely endorsement from Clyburn and the state's substantial population of black Democratic voters.

"Avoiding embarrassment"

Politico's Playbook reported that Rep. Clyburn appeared to be "saying the quiet part out loud" about the DNC's decision to alter the party's primary contest schedule by admitting that the changes had been made to be more favorable to President Biden.

It was during an interview with CNN host Chris Wallace that Clyburn acknowledged that Biden had previously fared better in South Carolina than in Iowa and New Hampshire and that was expected to be the case once again in 2024.

"I don’t think you’re stacking the deck. I think you’re avoiding embarrassment," the prominent South Carolina congressman said. "And that is what he is attempting to avoid here. And I would expect anybody to do the same."

Playing the racial demographics card

According to CNN, when the DNC first announced the changes to its primary schedule in February, President Biden had said that the reason for the change was to give minority voters an earlier opportunity to vote and to better reflect the "diversity" of the Democratic voting base.

Notably, states with substantial minority populations like South Carolina, Nevada, Georgia, and Michigan were moved up in the order while states with predominately white populations like Iowa and New Hampshire were bumped lower in the order.

After Clyburn admitted to Wallace that the scheduling changes were made to avoid "embarrassment" for Biden, he further acknowledged that the racial demographics of the various states were a chief consideration in that decision.

"You do not have the demographics as required for Democrats in the general election, and neither one of those states (Iowa and New Hampshire) have the demographics that are favorable to Democrats in the general, I think we know that," the congressman explained.

Clyburn further recalled the 1968 Democratic primary cycle in which then-President Lyndon Johnson had performed poorly in New Hampshire in comparison to Sen. Eugene McCarthy (D-MN), which prompted Sen. Robert F. Kennedy (D-NY) to enter the race and Johnson to drop out and not seek re-election.

"Why should President Biden sit back and allow a state that he finished fifth in be first up?" Clyburn said in reference to New Hampshire, and added, "(Johnson) goes up to New Hampshire and gets embarrassed and drops out of the race. So why should (Biden) expose himself to that?"

Possible legal snag

The Daily Caller noted a rather significant potential snag in the DNC's plan to aid President Biden, namely that both Iowa and New Hampshire have statutes on the books that require them to hold the primary elections before any other state.

If those two states defy the DNC and insist on holding their elections earlier than the other states, however, the DNC has threatened to strip both of them of their delegates and deny them a voice at the party's nominating convention.

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