On Dec. 2, 2022, President Joe Biden proposed that South Carolina should be moved to the start of the Democrat’s presidential primary calendar for 2024.
The Democratic National Committee (DNC) will have to approve these changes before the end of February 2024, but it is unclear when these changes might be approved, according to NHPR.
Previously, Iowa has started off the calendar with the first caucus, followed by New Hampshire holding the nation's first primary. If the committee sides with Biden, it will overturn the tradition of having Iowa being the start of the presidential election calendar since 1972, according to NPR.
For Eric Center, vice president of USC’s College Democrats club, the move for South Carolina to be first in the calendar provides "a better reflection" of the Democrat Party than Iowa or New Hampshire.
“Down here in South Carolina, there is a heavy African American presence and Black voters do make up a consistent voting bloc in the party, so moving us first would get candidates to look at issues that affect Black voters,” Center said.
According to Todd Shaw, an associate professor in political science and African American studies, Biden's proposal could also serve as a political advantage for the president himself.
“African American voters were key to his (electoral) coalition back in 2020 and will be key, and Black turnout will be key if he runs again as he’s expected to do in 2024,” Shaw said.
However, Tom Sinclair, the president of the College Democrats said the opposition from other states could lead to discord in the Democratic party's voting population when it comes to the general election. States that have previously tried to violate DNC rules have been threatened with not having their delegates count.
“(South Carolina voters) will influence the candidates, what candidate wins," Sinclair said. "Thinking about your politics, or maybe you’re not into politics, but (South Carolina being first) does affect your life in one way or another and it is important."
Shaw said another reason South Carolina can be favorable to Democrats is becuase a candidate can meet more voters than they could in larger states.
"The size of South Carolina benefits us in some regards," Shaw said. "Folks can come here, get the three or four major regions of the state and have covered a pretty good amount of ground and media coverage."
If South Carolina is ratified by the DNC to start the Democrat Presidential Primary calendar, Shaw said candidates could benefit from a "springboard" effect where if you do well is one state, it could help your performance in another.
"Both Obama and Biden have all benefited from aspects of spring boarding," Shaw said. "You do well in South Carolina, that's a signal to doing well elsewhere — or at least that notion of momentum is the perception within the media and other circles."
The DNC has extended the deadline for New Hampshire to repeal its state law of being the first primary in the nation to June 3, according to the WMU9 website. If states, like New Hampshire, don't comply with the DNC, then that state would automatically lose half its delegates, according to NPR.