New Hampshire's loyal Democrats face an unexpected hurdle in the primary race.
Joe Biden's absence on the New Hampshire ballot signals an unusual twist in this year's primary schedule.
The state of New Hampshire is holding its primary earlier than the Democratic National Committee allows. This defiance comes with consequences: candidates on the ballot will not collect delegates. At the heart of the dispute is a change initiated by the DNC and supported by President Biden, placing South Carolina as the inaugural primary state for 2024, unseating Iowa and, by extension, New Hampshire.
New Hampshire's steadfast law mandates that it host the nation's first primary. The state's refusal to adhere to the DNC's calendar has led to sharp criticism and claims of voter suppression. The New Hampshire Attorney General has taken a firm stance, threatening legal action against the DNC.
Cabinet members have maintained a presence in New Hampshire, indirectly keeping the Biden administration in the public eye. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg have all held official events in the state. Meanwhile, U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai also stopped in New Hampshire last December.
A grassroots effort is underway to support President Biden in New Hampshire. Volunteers unconnected to his campaign are spearheading a write-in initiative. However, the challenges are significant, and the group coordinating this effort is tempering expectations on the outcome.
The group organizing the write-in effort provided insight into the difficulties of their task:
Write-in campaigns are very difficult and Joe Biden’s vote total on January 23 will understate his actual support among New Hampshire Democrats and Independents.
Biden's unsanctioned New Hampshire primary competition includes Marianne Williamson and Rep. Dean Phillips. The primary dynamics are further complicated by the fact that Biden's support in the state shows a stark age divide, with voters over 50 showing the strongest allegiance and those under 30 the weakest.
The New Hampshire primary is not only a Democratic event. Independent voters, a crucial demographic, also participate and may sway the outcome. This year, Nikki Haley and Ron DeSantis are vying for these independents in the Republican primary, which could influence both parties' results.
The state’s traditional role in the primary season is a significant aspect of American politics. The current conflict is, therefore, more than a scheduling issue; it's about tradition versus strategy. The engagement of independents is particularly noteworthy as their choices could significantly impact the political landscape.
The New Hampshire primary of 2024 has deviated from tradition, leaving President Joe Biden off the ballot and sparking a dispute between the state and national Democrats. The DNC's decision to move South Carolina to the first primary position has resulted in New Hampshire's noncompliance with the schedule and allegations of voter suppression.
A grassroots write-in campaign for Biden faces challenges, particularly given the expected lower support due to the unconventional method. The involvement of independents in the primary and the visits by cabinet members to New Hampshire underscores the state's ongoing importance in the electoral process.