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Replace New Hampshire-Iowa with primaries in diverse Great Lakes states

Robert Alexander and David B. Cohen

The time has come to end the prized status for Iowa and New Hampshire as the first contests to kick off the presidential race. These states have held this status for nearly 50 years and have left a trail of winnowed candidates in their wake. Both states are less diverse than the rest of the country, and Iowa’s caucus process specifically is complicated, time consuming and unrepresentative of the American electorate. 

NPR recently tried to classify how representative each state is by comparing their demographics to U.S. demographics overall. The categories included race, age, education, income and religiosity. While Iowa comes in at a respectable 16, New Hampshire ranks 49th. 

The disparities on race are stark. Across the United States, 60% identify as “white alone,” 13% as African American and 18% as Latino. But in Iowa, the tally is 85% white alone, 4% African American and 6% Latino. New Hampshire’s population is even more disproportionate with 90% identifying as white alone, 2% as African American, and 4% as Latino. 

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