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Moving SC up from fourth in Democrats' presidential primary calendar coming up again

Election 2020 Joe Biden (copy) (copy)

Democrat Joe Biden won the S.C. presidential primary and it turned around his campaign. An effort is once again brewing to move South Carolina up in the nominating calendar.  File/Gerald Herbert/AP

It will be months before Democrats begin discussing their next presidential primary schedule — publicly, at least.

But when they do, expect a push for South Carolina to take on an even more prominent role than it already does in selecting presidents.

And expect some pushback, too.

In 2020, the Democrats' process was widely derided for Iowa's counting meltdown and New Hampshire's continued small-state, oversized-influence.

When the crowd came to South Carolina, Democrats ignored all previous results and came out strongly for Joe Biden, saving his chances.

That's got some stalwarts calling for change, again, by moving Nevada and South Carolina ahead of Iowa or New Hampshire in the process.

To many, placing South Carolina forward, instead of fourth, makes sense since its large bloc of African Americans (27 percent) more accurately reflects the party's makeup.

Iowa has the lead-off caucus, but it's population is only 8.5 percent Black.

New Hampshire, by its state law, holds the nation's first's primary, but it's only 2 percent Black. 

Nevada is being included as a move-up possibility because of its large labor pool and Hispanic population.

Whether there's serious chance for a timing shift is the unknown, since it would mean a radical departure in the presidential norm. What is known is that the Democratic National Committee's Rule and Bylaws Committee this summer will do a post-mortem on the 2020 nominating process before looking forward to how to approach 2024.

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So far, South Carolina leaders are being mum about the next steps.

U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn's office said he wouldn't be commenting, but Politico recently reported that both he and former Nevada Sen. Harry Reid favor a shakeup, though Clyburn was said to be leaving the decision up to new DNC Chairman Jaime Harrison.

S.C. party Chairman Trav Robertson also said it's too early to broach what's next.

But Robertson did say that whenever the Republican-led S.C. Legislature looks at tweaking South Carolina election laws it hurts the state's economics to the potential tune of hundreds of millions of dollars that could be spent here during a presidential runup.

"Any restrictive measure as it relates to individuals voting absentee and any attempt to polarize the Election Commission could have an adverse affect on South Carolina's role in the early presidential primary nomination process," he said.

Democrats in other states know there's grumbling.

"New Hampshire takes seriously every suggestion that we should not retain our First-in-the-Nation status, and we believe that we have a strong argument for the Granite State to retain its place," New Hampshire party Chairman Raymond Buckley told Palmetto Politics.

"The level of engagement involved in the electorate here is significantly different than anywhere else, and I think that is one of the arguments why New Hampshire should remain first. We will continue to work hard to ensure New Hampshire retains its First-in-the-Nation status, and we’re confident we will succeed."

The Iowa Democratic Party did not return multiple contacts seeking comment. 

All of this will eventually land on the desk of Harrison, who is a South Carolinian but has to juggle the interests of 50 state Democratic parties.

He was diplomatic on the course ahead.

"We are going to continue to let the process play out, as it does every four years, and look forward to hearing the insight and recommendations from all interested parties on the 2020 reforms, and on the 2024 calendar at the appropriate time in the process," he said in a statement.

One influential Republican did have a definitive statement about the calendar this week: U.S. Sen. Tim Scott, who spoke at a GOP party function in Davenport, Iowa, on April 15.

According to the Quad-City Times, Scott was asked whether Iowa should continue to lead the pack and if the status quo should stay.

"We better protect and preserve the current system," he said, followed by, "And by the time you get to South Cackalacky, we can clear it all up for the rest of the nation."

He finished: "It just makes sense, right? Who would want to change that system?"

Reach Schuyler Kropf at 843-937-5551. Follow him on Twitter at @skropf47.

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