Clyburn: Biden 'avoiding embarrassment' with Dem primary state lineup

 May 20, 2023

U.S. Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC) says that President Joe Biden made South Carolina the first state of the 2024 Democratic primaries for the purpose of "avoiding embarrassment." 

Clyburn said as much during a recent interview with CNN's Chris Wallace on Who's Talking to Christ Wallace.

Before we get to that, let's look at what is going on.


Back in early December, the New York Times published a piece indicating that Biden and the Democrats want to rearrange the Democratic primaries.

Per the Times: 

President Biden and the Democratic National Committee [DNC] are moving to radically reorder the party’s presidential process by making South Carolina the first primary state in 2024, followed in order by Nevada and New Hampshire, Georgia and then Michigan.

The change, in February, was approved by the DNC. Now, South Carolina will be first, rather than Iowa - assuming that the change holds.

The "why?"

Back in early December, Biden sent the DNC a letter arguing for the change. Race appears to have been a key factor.

Biden wrote:

Black voters in particular have been the backbone of the Democratic Party but have been pushed to the back of the early primary process. We rely on these voters in elections but have not recognized their importance in our nominating calendar. It is time to stop taking these voters for granted, and time to give them a louder and earlier voice in the process.

There is something, however, that Biden leaves out, namely that, in 2020, he came in fourth place in the Iowa caucus, whereas he won South Carolina's primary by double digits.

"Avoiding embarrassment"

Wallace recently asked Clyburn for his opinion about the move to make South Carolina the Democrats' first stop in 2024. "Why should President Biden sit back and allow a state that he finished fifth in be first up?" Clyburn replied.

Clyburn went on to reject the idea that Biden, by putting South Carolina first is looking to "stack the deck," even though that's what Clyburn's initial response seemed to imply.

Clyburn said:

I don’t think you’re stacking the deck. I think you’re avoiding embarrassment. And that is what he is attempting to avoid here. And I would expect anybody to do the same.

When asked whether putting Iowa or New Hampshire first would lead to embarrassment for Biden, Clyburn replied:

Well, if you do not have the demographics as required for Democrats in the general election, and neither one of those states have the Democrat or the demographics that are favorable to Democrats in the general, I think we know that.

So, it appears that Biden put South Carolina first in an attempt to get off to a good start over his rivals. Now, the ultimate embarrassment would be if he loses South Carolina.

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