Democrats Call for 2024 Party Reforms After Iowa Caucus Mess

A group of Democrats want the party to make changes that could lead to a new presidential primary calendar and the elimination of caucuses after the messy Iowa caucus earlier this year.

They’re proposing the creation of a “Build the Party” commission that would study what went wrong in Iowa and elsewhere in the 2020 primaries. The panel would likely examine the early nominating calendar, potentially pushing Iowa and New Hampshire out of their first-in-the-nation spots. It would ultimately propose new rules to avert this year’s problems and make the primaries more inclusive.

Glitches with a new messaging system for reporting results in the Iowa caucuses led to a days-long delay in announcing the results, embarrassed the state and the party and led to the state party chairman’s resignation.

“The Democratic Party must continue to push forward structural reforms that engage more and new participants in the Democratic Party, inspire confidence with voters, and continue to build a strong and inclusive party ready to win elections up and down the ballot,” reads the resolution the group submitted to the Democratic National Committee on Tuesday.

But New Hampshire Democratic Party Chair Ray Buckley, whose state’s position in the nominating calendar could be up for review, said planning for 2024 before this year’s election takes place was “an unnecessary distraction from the presidential campaign.”

Still, he said he wasn’t concerned about his state holding on to its first-in-the-nation primary. “Ultimately I believe that New Hampshire has a very strong argument for its status,” he said.

The party’s rules committee meets July 30 as part of the Democrats’ virtual convention, which will be held the week of Aug. 17.

The resolution would also extend changes already made after the messy 2016 primaries to 2024. That includes eliminating so-called superdelegates -- members of Congress and party leaders -- from the first round of voting in the case of a contested convention, and a recommendation that states move away from caucuses, which Iowa and Nevada, among others, did not adopt this year.

“Democrats need to be for democracy inside the party and out. That’s been more than a 150-year-battle for the party and it’s not over. Amazing progress was made after 2016 and we have to continue on that path,” said Larry Cohen, the co-chair of the post-2016 Unity Reform Commission, who submitted the resolution, with co-authors and state party chairs Ken Martin of Minnesota, Jane Kleeb of Nebraska, Tina Podlodowski of Washington State and Trav Robertson of South Carolina.

”It should be noncontroversial is my hope,” Podlodowski said. “What we’re doing is putting together some kind of structure to continue to enact the reforms that we’ve already made and then have structured conversations about how to move forward.”

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

BQ Install

Bloomberg Quint

Add BloombergQuint App to Home screen.