Castro: Iowa, New Hampshire should be replaced by more diverse states in nomination race

Castro: Iowa, New Hampshire should be replaced by more diverse states in nomination race
© Greg Nash

Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro, a 2020 Democratic presidential contender, is arguing that Iowa and New Hampshire should lose their status as the respective first-in-the-nation caucus and primary states because their populations don’t reflect the diversity of the Democratic primary. 

Speaking over the weekend to MSNBC, Castro said the racial makeup of the Democratic Party and the U.S. has changed substantially in the nearly 50 years since Iowa was tapped to be the first in line to vote back in 1972.

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“Demographically, it’s not reflective of the U.S. as a whole, certainly not reflective of the Democratic Party, and I believe other states should have their chance,” Castro said.

“So yes, of course we need to find other states. That doesn’t mean that Iowa and New Hampshire can’t still play an important role. But I don’t believe that forever we should be married to Iowa and New Hampshire going first.”

Democrats are wrestling with the fact that their top four contenders in the presidential field — former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenTrump denies telling Bolton Ukraine aid was tied to investigations Former senior Senate GOP aide says Republicans should call witnesses Title, release date revealed for Bolton memoir MORE, South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegPoll: Sanders leads Biden by 9 points in Iowa Buttigieg on polarization: 'We don't have to choose between being bold and being unified' Buttigieg: America 'united in mourning' Kobe Bryant's death MORE, Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersPoll: Sanders leads Biden by 9 points in Iowa Poll: Biden leads in Iowa ahead of caucuses The Memo: Impeachment dominates final Iowa sprint MORE (I-Vt.) and Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenPoll: Sanders leads Biden by 9 points in Iowa Poll: Biden leads in Iowa ahead of caucuses The Memo: Impeachment dominates final Iowa sprint MORE (D-Mass.) — are all white, despite the racially diverse field of candidates and the party’s commitment to elevating racial minorities.

Some have pointed to the demographic makeup in Iowa and New Hampshire — the primary electorate was more than 90 percent white in both states in 2016 — as evidence that the deck is stacked against racial minorities seeking the party’s nomination.

Nevada and South Carolina, the third and fourth states to vote, are considerably more diverse. Black voters make up about two-thirds of the Democratic primary electorate in South Carolina.

And when the calendar turns to March 3 for Super Tuesday, Democratic voters will cast ballots in a slate of diverse states, including Texas, California, North Carolina, Virginia and Alabama.

Still, Castro has struggled to gain traction in the race and is barely registering in polls of Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada or South Carolina. In his home state of Texas, Castro is only polling at 3 percent in the RealClearPolitics average.

Politico reported last week that Castro laid off staff last week in New Hampshire and South Carolina.

Warren, who appears to be the front-runner in the Iowa caucuses at the moment, was asked at an event in South Carolina over the weekend whether Iowa and New Hampshire should maintain their first-in-the-nation statuses.

“Are you actually going go to ask me to sit here and criticize Iowa and New Hampshire?” Warren responded.

“I’m just a player in the game on this one,” she added.