DES MOINES, Iowa — Last week, a draft proposal obtained by the Des Moines Register revealed members of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) were working to change the presidential nominating process, potentially stripping Iowa of its first-in-the-nation caucus status. In response, the only Iowan on the DNC's Rules and Bylaws Committee explained where the draft proposal came from and what's next for the committee.
Scott Brennan said a small group of committee members, including at least one co-chair, had worked on the leaked proposal. The committee as a whole had not authorized it, and other members were upset that this group jumped the gun. This draft, however, "was not favorable to Iowa."
"I think there are people at the DNC who are trying to fix a problem that doesn’t exist," Brennan said.
Now, the committee is starting fresh and will meet once a month for the next five months to put together a full proposal.
After the 2020 caucuses, Brennan said Iowa's position remains in jeopardy.
"Iowa must now prove that they can put on a caucus that is accessible, inclusive, reliable and fair," he said. "There’s a target on Iowa and there’s a target on New Hampshire, and maybe South Carolina and Nevada, although they are in a better position because of other political considerations."
Brennan said the DNC prefers primaries over caucuses because primaries are more inclusive by nature. Caucuses require voters to commit hours of their time to make their voices heard, which many people are not able to do.
The committee is focused on including a more diverse group of voters in primaries and caucuses, which is among the reasons Iowa's status is being scrutinized. However, critics worry that if Iowa loses its position, presidential candidates will no longer be forced to appeal to voters in rural America.
In the Rules and Bylaws Committee's April meeting, Brennan said they plan to discuss a set of parameters for what it will look like for states to apply for the early caucus and primary positions.
With most states holding primaries in June, they'll face the added burden of needing to think ahead to the 2024 election despite the looming 2022 elections.
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