As a South Carolina Democrat, I've watched closely the process that has played out over the past six years or so that the Democratic National Committee has undergone to expand the early primary/ caucus field to include more minorities. It was a very long process and meticulously handled by the rules and by-laws committee of the DNC. Many hearings and meetings were held to get input from countless numbers of people.
In the end, Nevada was chosen for an early caucus and South Carolina was chosen for an early primary. The "window" was set to "open" a matter of days after the SC primary, giving all other states the opportunity to jockey, as has been the tradition in the past, for position after a date certain.
Unfortunately, after not being chosen for the early primary period, Democratic leaders in Michigan and Florida are ignoring the rules that were passed by the rules and by-laws committee and full DNC by an overwhelming margin. In doing so, they're denying minorities a much-sought after voice in the early nominating process.
Nevada was chosen as an early Caucus State because of its' growing labor population, it's Native American population, and its Hispanic/Latino population. South Carolina was chosen because African Americans are expected to represent at least 40 percent of Democratic primary voters. These ethnic minorities have NO SIGNIFICANT representation in the other early States.
The primary and caucus calendar is a delicate thing. We've all seen the magic of Iowa and New Hampshire and the power they have in dictating the direction of the nomination. Understandably, we are all envious of that magic and would love to have a piece of it.
There was a vigorous competition to win the two coveted spots that the DNC opened to the pre-window period. In the end, Nevada and South Carolina were chosen.
Accordingly, we now have the most diverse early-nominating process we have ever had. We, as Democrats should be incredibly proud of that. By having these contests in four "small" states, it also allows more candidates the ability to compete, giving a wider array of options to primary voters.
Michigan and Florida have broken the rules and should be penalized for it. They are rogue state parties that have chosen to ignore the rules and the spirit in which those rules came to exist. It's offensive to those who worked so have to increase diversity in the process.
The Democratic National Committee should realize that they are on the verge of becoming irrelevant. If their party rules can be ignored without significant penalty, then their existence may be pointless. The most coveted thing the party controls in our nominating process is the calendar. The DNC MUST stand up and make it clear that any state party that violates the pre-window period will be severely punished.
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