President Joe Biden’s attempt to one-up his competition by overhauling the nominating calendar is causing New Hampshire a procedural headache. Biden strategically initiated an overhaul to place South Carolina in the number one spot on the nomination calendar because its diverse demographics played a pivotal role in Biden’s 2020 nomination. New Hampshire was moved to the second position, sharing the date with Nevada.
The move cost New Hampshire its status as the first-in-the-nation primary and elevated South Carolina to the coveted top position. To comply, New Hampshire needs to remove its state laws that protect its “first-in-the-nation” primary position.
Many Democrats view the move to displace New Hampshire from its traditional leadoff position on the primary calendar as “sour grapes” from President Biden. In the 2020 Iowa caucuses, Biden ended in a disappointing fourth place, and he secured a fifth-place finish in the New Hampshire primary. In contrast, Biden had a second-place finish in Nevada and a resounding victory in South Carolina, which ultimately led him to secure the party’s nomination.
The disruption is widely viewed as retaliation against the state for its failure to propel him to victory.
The DNC had initially set a deadline of June 3 for New Hampshire to conform to the calendar requirements but later extended it to September 1, then September 14. The DNC is expected to extend the deadline yet again to give New Hampshire time to comply.
But it seems that New Hampshire may refuse to play nice, choosing instead to move up the date of its contest to remain ahead of South Carolina. If that happens, it will be an unsanctioned event.
Should the state eventually conduct an unsanctioned Democratic primary, New Hampshire Democrats risk losing half of their delegates for the 2024 national party’s nominating convention in accordance with rules established last year.
But Biden refuses to put his name on an unsanctioned primary, meaning that the top contender for the nomination will be absent. If that happens, the president will be perceived to have snubbed the state’s Democratic party’s primary.
Democratic voters never let a little thing like procedure stop them before, and they aren’t planning on letting it stop them now. Voters plan to support Biden by writing his name on the ballot.
Even though New Hampshire voters are deeply unhappy with being knocked to second place on the calendar, some Democrats have shifted their focus to encouraging Democrats to vote for Biden, even if his name is not on the ballot.
The “write-in campaign” has been motivated, in part, by concerns that the primary, even if officially sanctioned by the DNC, could be viewed as a damaging setback for the incumbent president, especially if he were to lose to an unlikely contender like Robert Kennedy Jr., the son of former Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, has been actively campaigning in the state and has managed to raise significant funds for his campaign. However, his candidacy has generated controversy due to his well-established vaccine skepticism and positions that diverge from mainstream Democratic stances.
A potential loss to an underdog candidate such as Kennedy, or even a narrow victory, has raised fears among New Hampshire Democrats that it might indicate a lack of unified support for President Biden within the Democratic Party as he seeks reelection. It’s a legitimate concern, even if the challenger’s chances of securing the party’s nomination are minimal.
The unconventional strategy, which would only come into play if, as anticipated, New Hampshire’s Democratic leadership continues to defy the DNC, remains in its early and informal stages, according to Democrats familiar with the situation. However, many of them hold firm in their belief that this approach can achieve success, even in the face of perceptions that the president has disregarded their state.
Raymond Buckley, who serves as the chairman of the New Hampshire Democratic Party, clarified that the state party, as an official entity, would not take an active role in the write-in initiative. However, he emphasized that the grassroots network would likely be heavily involved. Buckley revealed that they have been receiving requests for yard signs and expressions of support for the president, indicating strong interest from local Democrats.
But despite optimism among New Hampshire voters that the “write-in campaign” will be successful, it’s probable that many potential Biden voters, angered over his decision to remove them as the “first-in-nation” primary state, will choose to sit this one out. After all, revenge works both ways.