Perhaps most important, he said he believes it is essential to ensure that voters of color “have a voice” earlier in the process and especially noted that Black voters, “the backbone of the Democratic Party,” have previously been “pushed to the back of the early primary process.”

“It is time to stop taking these voters for granted, and time to give them a louder and earlier voice in the process,” Biden said. He also believes there should no longer be caucuses, which have fallen into disfavor because they generally require participants to show up at specified times and as a result are seen as undemocratic.

What Biden didn’t mention is that caucuses demonstrate superior organizational skills and the power of persuasion. And is he really making the argument that black people are incapable of showing up at a “specified time” to participate in a caucus?

In truth, caucuses are indeed elitist and undemocratic — a sad holdover from a time of bosses and smoke-filled rooms. But Biden is managing to put his thumb on the 2024 scale anyway by scheduling contests that guarantee he will win.

Related: The Rise of the Democrat Vote Machine (and How to Beat It)

And if Biden still wants an out, the schedule also favors Vice President Kamala Harris, Biden’s logical successor if he were not to run.


Harris is the first Black woman ever elected on a national ticket, and Black voters often make up a majority of the Democratic primary electorate in South Carolina — with Black women voting in higher numbers than Black men. Even as her favorability numbers have languished far below the break-even point in national polls, her standing has remained strong with Black voters — at 67.4 percent in the latest YouGov survey of registered voters.

“It sets her up,” said Pete D’Alessandro, an Iowa-based Democratic strategist who served as a senior adviser on Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ 2020 bid. “I’m thinking Pete Buttigieg is not really happy with this one.”

The new calendar doesn’t guarantee a Biden run in 2024. But as any good politician knows, it’s always best to keep your options open.