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Outside Looking In: How Shutting Washington, D.C. Out of the Presidential Primary Process Hurts Black and Urban America

by Ryan Griffin // Published May 1, 2006

Presidential elections are the only national elections in the United States; unfortunately, only a small number of Americans are able to play a meaningful part in either the general election or the primaries. The Democratic National Committee is taking a first step in addressing this problem by adding two states to the first weeks of its 2008 nomination schedule. Although more comprehensive reform is still needed from the Democrats and their Republican counterparts, the 2008 early schedule additions have the potential to bring much needed diversity to the process.

This report makes clear the extent to which the preferences of black and urban voters are under-represented in the nomination process. It then argues that an early primary in Washington, D.C. is the only way to give these loyal Democratic constituencies an effective voice in the 2008 nomination.