DES MOINES — Three Iowa Democrats will be making a pitch to national party leaders today, arguing the Iowa Democratic Party’s Caucuses should be first in 2024.
National Democrats are hearing applications from 16 and Puerto Rico states seeking to be among the five “early” voting states in the presidential campaign. Members of the party’s Rules and Bylaws Committee have made it clear they’re looking for states with diverse populations. State Representative Ras Smith of Waterloo, a member of the Black Caucus in the Iowa House, discussed the future of the Caucuses during a recent episode of Iowa Press on Iowa PBS.
“Tell Waterloo that we’re not diverse,” Smith said.
While Iowa’s overall population is nearly 91% white, Iowa is diverse in other ways. according to Smith. “I think we need to branch or expand our definition of diversity as well. It doesn’t just mean people who are black or white,” Smith said.”(It’s) folks with disabilities, folks whose first spoken language is not English.”
The chairmen of the Iowa Democratic Party and the Iowa GOP have both been arguing that Iowa inserts geographic diversity in the presidential selection process. Smith said national party leaders also need to consider what will be lost if Iowa’s Caucuses aren’t an early providing ground for those who aspire to be president.
“How do we ensure that folks on every level don’t allow the retail politics that Iowa holds so dear to become extinct? Because I’m concerned about that…I’m concerned that politics is already elitist,” Smith said. “If all the exposure you get is on TV, it becomes even more elitist.”
Iowa Democratic Party chairman Ross Wilburn, Democratic National Committee member Scott Brennan of Des Moines and House Democratic Leader Jennifer Konfrst are making Iowa’s pitch to the Rules and Bylaws Committee of the Democratic National Committee early this morning. They will be discussing a big change in the voting process — mail-in balloting rather than a Caucus Night scramble in precinct meetings using complicated math that ultimately decides who won the Democratic Party’s Caucuses.
The Republican National Committee has already set its calendar of 2024 presidential contests. The Iowa GOP’s Caucuses — which essentially conduct a statewide straw poll to determine the winner — are first.