Democrats have been pushing for Nevada to hold the first Presidential Primary since 2020, claiming that Iowa and New Hampshire don’t accurately reflect demographic diversity in the United States. Now, Democrat Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak has signed a law that would change the current caucus system into a primary, and set the date for the first state primary ahead of both New Hampshire and Iowa.
The move could have a huge impact on the selection of a presidential candidate for either party, but only if it succeeds. As it stands, the odds of Nevada actually being the first state in the nation to hold the Presidential primary are slim to none.
Both parties have to agree with the change for the rule to take effect. The DNC has yet to decide on the rule change, but top Republicans from four early presidential nominating states have come out against the new schedule. There is also the fact that Iowa can also change the date for its caucus, and New Hampshire can do the same to bump it ahead of Nevada’s proposed date. Indeed, Republican NH Governor Chris Sununu has made it clear that New Hampshire will continue to hold the nation’s first presidential primary election, and “what happens in Nevada, stays in Nevada”.
Even so, the move to shift the first primary to a “diverse” state will likely continue. While President Biden hasn’t commented on Nevada’s attempt to jump to the front of the line, Democrat House Majority Whip Rep. Jim Clyburn has spoken in favor of Nevada’s move, stating that “it’s not a good thing” to have Iowa and New Hampshire create “candidate momentum.”
He has good reason to be concerned, as history shows that six out of seven U.S. Presidents elected from 1976 to 2000 either won the Iowa caucus or New Hampshire primary, with the latter being the clearer indicator of the most popular candidate. President Joe Biden was one of the few exceptions, but only because the DNC threw its full weight and support behind his candidacy in order to ensure the party nomination didn’t go to Sen. Bernie Sanders.
States with early presidential primaries and caucuses tend to get more attention from candidates than other states. Given this fact, it’s not surprising that Nevada Democrats would want to get ahead of Republican states. It’s also not surprising that Democrats who are likely still irate over the fact that they can’t ditch the Electoral College would be eager to at least tamper with the order of state primaries.