Changing the Democratic presidential primary calendar is the right move

Let’s enact this fairer primary calendar and move on to other business: defending workers, strengthening democracy — and making sure the 2024 Democratic National Convention is in Chicago.

SHARE Changing the Democratic presidential primary calendar is the right move
President Joe Biden has proposed a new presidential primary calendar that would move up the Nevada primary alongside New Hampshire’s primary.

President Joe Biden has proposed a new presidential primary calendar. Democrats should support it, a union leader writes.

Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

The Democratic National Committee met last week in Philadelphia and debated long-overdue changes to the Democratic presidential primary calendar. President Joe Biden has proposed a new early schedule ending the Iowa caucus, moving South Carolina to the front of the pack, keeping New Hampshire second alongside Nevada and adding the diverse states of Georgia and Michigan to the lineup.

As a DNC member and general president of an over 125,000 member-strong construction labor union, I was proud to support the change.

Union workers are an important pillar of the Democratic tent, and the new calendar strengthens their voices. Moving the union stronghold of Nevada to an earlier spot and adding Michigan to the mix means there will be greater union representation.

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Some New Hampshire Democrats argue their state should keep its spot at the top of the primary calendar. They say they are in an unfair position because New Hampshire state law essentially requires them to hold their primary first and the Republican-controlled state government won’t help them change it.

I don’t sympathize too much with that argument. Yes, New Hampshire Dems are in a tight spot with their first-in-the-nation law, and the DNC may penalize their convention delegates if they can’t work out a deal with Republicans to change it. But this is a situation of their own making — New Hampshire passed the law in the first place.

My departed friend, former AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, put it best when he led the United Mine Workers during the Peabody strike: “If you strike a match and you put your finger on it, you’re likely to get burned.” He was talking about the mine owners’ confrontational tactics during the strike, but the warning goes for any hardball negotiating tactic.

New Hampshire political insiders have used their first-in-the-nation law as leverage to stop every attempt at primary reform. They passed it into law decades ago, then passed up every opportunity since to repeal it. They can’t play the victims if they get burned.

The meeting in Philadelphia gave everyone a chance to have their case heard. I hope we enact this fair primary calendar and move onto other important business of the Democratic Party: defending workers, strengthening democracy — and making sure the 2024 Democratic National Convention is in Chicago.

Eric Dean, president, Ironworkers General

Make restitution to business owners hurt by 2020 civil unrest

In the debate about reparations and restitution, some mayoral candidates have made vague statements about providing funds to descendants of slaves. This is a valuable goal because history has cheated the descendants of all the blessings of prosperity. The issues are who receives compensation, how much, what is the historical starting date and what is the budgetary impact?

Here’s another proposal: Restitution should be given to business owners in disinvested communities who were victims of the 2020 civil unrest in Chicago. We all remember the horrifying images of small businesses being destroyed in communities that have suffered from years of official neglect. The entrepreneurs who opened businesses defied conventional wisdom by bringing much needed services to disinvested communities.

Yet when civil unrest unfolded, the city stood back and did not protect disinvested communities from the destructive forces that had been unleashed, leaving many businesses in ruin.

Let’s give restitution to those entrepreneurs if they commit to using the money to reopen or restore businesses in disinvested communities. The amount of restitution offered by the city should cover losses not covered by insurance.

James D’Archangelis, Buena Park

No need for new Police District Councils

I take exception to the Feb. 1 letter about Police District Councils.

We already have CAPS, where citizens in a beat area can meet with police officers and the staff of aldermen, if not the aldermen themselves. Beat facilitators are chosen from the beats, so meeting attendees know them. The beat facilitators and committee chairs meet with district commanders and their staff in their District Advisory Council meetings, and the chairman of the DACs meet with the superintendent.

In most districts, voters are being asked to vote for people they do not know, some of whom are anti-police. There would have been more beat facilitators running for these offices, but the word never came down through CAPS.

It this time of rampant crime, we can not afford to defund the police, although that seems to be the goal of many of these candidates.

Larry E. Nazimek, Logan Square

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