DNC Tells New Hampshire Voters Their Primary Is "Meaningless"
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The Democratic Party is facing criticism over recent decisions that diminish the role of voters in the democratic process. The cancellation of the presidential primary in Florida and the exclusion of challengers to incumbent President Joe Biden from primary ballots in various states were just the start.
Now, the DNC has directly told New Hampshire Democrats and the entire state electorate that their primary slated for January 23 is "meaningless." The results will not determine delegate selection -- all because the party didn't get its way with election scheduling.
The "Meaningless" New Hampshire Primary
The New Hampshire primary, traditionally considered an important early contest, has been labeled as “detrimental” and "meaningless" by the DNC. This assertion has not only raised eyebrows but also prompted legal action.
New Hampshire Assistant Attorney General Brendan O’Donnell has filed a cease-and-desist order against Democratic leaders, arguing that they violated the state's voter suppression laws by telling voters their preferences don't matter and thus are discouraging voter participation.
The controversy stems from a letter the DNC sent to New Hampshire Democratic Party Chair Ray Buckley. The irony is that the DNC accused state Democratic leaders of disenfranchising voters for promoting a primary contest the national party determined was non-compliant in December.
Put simply, because the party did not get its way with regards to the timing of the New Hampshire primary -- which by state law must always be the first primary in the US -- it decided that the results would not factor into delegate selection for the state.
Yet party leaders argue that still allowing people to express their preference at the ballot box is "disenfranchisement."
Voters Are Confronted with the Truth About Presidential Primaries
The parties have long asserted their right to take these types of actions in presidential primaries. They are part of their nomination proceedings, which ultimately fall under the jurisdiction of the party and only the party.
The reality is all presidential primary elections are "preference" elections. Primary results do not necessarily set anything in stone and often times the race is effectively over before millions of voters have a chance to cast a ballot.
The parties can change the delegate selection rules at any time. For instance, in 2024, the California Republican Party changed the delegate selection rules to state that if a candidate gets over 51% of the vote, they will get all 169 delegates for the state at the Republican National Convention.
The parties determine what votes will count in their nomination process, but it wasn't until recent election cycles that party leaders started to say the quiet part out loud -- specifically that their interests supersede the votes and preferences of voters (even their own members).
The DNC is allowed to treat the New Hampshire primary as "meaningless." It is allowed to cancel primaries in critical battleground states and deny contenders to its preferred nominee. It is allowed to do these things because the system in place was manufactured to allow the major parties to disenfranchise as many voters as they want.