Even South Carolina and Nevada, following Iowa and New Hampshire and rounding out the historic first four, are relatively smaller, with fewer media markets than behemoths like Texas, New York or California.
The argument for moving California up includes the idea that it gives a better sense of how candidates play in more diverse states much sooner in the game.
Theoretically, any state could move up its primary if it wanted. But moving up your primary can sometimes have disastrous results due to blowback from the national parties over what can be seen as a power grab.
Just ask voters in Michigan and Florida.
In 2008, both states moved their primaries up to January ahead of Iowa, New Hampshire and the rest. In return, both the DNC and RNC cut the size of each state’s delegations in half. The states subsequently fell back in line — and farther back on the calendar.
Early-voting states will go to extreme lengths to protect their voting status. New Hampshire’s legislature even enshrined this into law
“Iowa vigorously protects its first-in-the-nation status,” said Iowa secretary of state Paul Pate.
“Being first is good for the state and we believe it’s good for the country,” Pate added. “It’s hard to buy results in Iowa through slick Madison Avenue advertising. Here, the successful candidates visit all 99 counties and interact with voters on a personal level.”
Both national parties — arguably stuck between a rock and a hard place — have sought to strike a middle ground in appeasing all 50 states.
“Our party values the role the early states play in the presidential primary process, as their role is critical to setting our nominee on the path towards victory,” said Sabrina Singh, deputy communications director at the DNC.
With all of the first four states, Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada, the four quadrants of the country are represented as best they can be, Democrats say.
California’s moved-up primary manages to thread the difficult needle of raising its level of importance by joining the Super Tuesday cluster — but not taking all of the shine from the historic first four voting states.
“The final date that was selected respects the role that the early states have historically played,” California’s Padilla explained.
So we’re now left with a super-charged Super Tuesday on March 3, including California, vote-rich Texas, Virginia and North Carolina.