Advance Notice: Briefs

Nessel: Michigan should vote first, not Iowa or N.H.

By: - February 11, 2020 7:16 pm

Attorney General Dana Nessel at “Solidarity Sunday” at the General Motors Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant, Sept. 22, 2019 | Andrew Roth

In a Twitter exchange with former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm on Tuesday, Attorney General Dana Nessel slyly suggested that Michigan would be a better choice to vote first in presidential elections than Iowa or New Hampshire.

Granholm tweeted Monday night that she is “frustrated at the disproportionate impact of two white states affecting candidate momentum,” referring to the early voting states of Iowa and New Hampshire.

Iowa has been the first state in the country to vote since 1972, and is notable for its complex caucusing process. Final results from the Feb.  3 caucuses weren’t released for days, with former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg eking out a win over U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). The state is also significantly less diverse than many states; a little over 90% of Iowans are white.

New Hampshire is the second to vote, and the first state in the election cycle to hold a primary. The election is Tuesday. Even less diverse than Iowa, New Hampshire’s population is around 93% white.

Historically, many candidates who don’t do well in the first two states drop out shortly after.

In her tweet, Granholm goes on to surmise that if states with more people of color went first and second in the voting process, “the narrative might be totally different.” She adds that either way, “the state lineup is an example of [intentional] racial bias” that Democrats “must fix.”

Quote-tweeting Granholm, Nessel said: “Like maybe a state with a more sizable population of POC, that also had a mixture of big cities, rural areas and suburbs, that was also more reflective of the Dems union culture, and maybe even had an upper peninsula.  If only such a place existed…”

Michigan has a white population of about 78%, according to the most recent data.

Other Michiganders who recently have suggested changing the Democratic presidential process include U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Dearborn) and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

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Laina G. Stebbins
Laina G. Stebbins

Laina G. Stebbins is a former Michigan Advance reporter. A lifelong Michigander, she is a graduate of Michigan State University’s School of Journalism, where she served as Founding Editor of The Tab Michigan State and as a reporter for the Capital News Service.