Here is the open letter I sent today to the members of the Democratic National Committee:
An Open Letter to Members of the Democratic National Committee (substack.com)
January 31, 2023
An Open Letter to Members of the Democratic National Committee
I am a lifelong Democrat whose family has served our country in many capacities, from local elected offices to the White House, from the battlefields of World War II to the battlegrounds of the Civil Rights Movement.
During that time, my family has developed a special bond with the people of New Hampshire. My father decided to run for president in 1968 after Eugene McCarthy’s strong showing there. My uncle won the 1960 New Hampshire primary, the first step on the road to the New Frontier.
I’m writing to urge you not to interfere in New Hampshire’s plan to hold the nation’s first primary.
Those who seek to push New Hampshire back in the process contend that it is not diverse enough to hold the Democratic Party’s first primary. I disagree. New Hampshire reflects the fabric of America as well as any state. It is a swing state; its four electoral votes could decide the 2024 election. It has two Democrats serving in the United States Senate. It has a high percentage of independent voters, who will play a critical role in the next campaign. It helped launch the campaigns of Bill Clinton, John Kerry, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. It is where Bernie Sanders took off in 2015, the beginning of a movement that would inject new enthusiasm into our politics.
Most importantly, New Hampshire runs the most secure and transparent election in America. It should be a model for our country at a time when we need it most.
My Uncle Jack spoke to voters in Dover on the eve of the 1960 New Hampshire primary. He said that “we Democrats realize that the days when Presidential candidates can be nominated in smoke-filled rooms, by political leaders and party bosses, have forever passed from the scene.” He said “that no man has won a national election who was unwilling to test his candidacy with the people.”
I echo those thoughts.
My uncle believed that New Hampshire earned the right to host the nation’s first primary because it played such an important role in giving the American people the right to nominate their candidates in the first place. Indeed, in 1832, the New Hampshire legislature became the first state legislature to call for a national convention to select the presidential nominee of a major political party.
Like many people, I have spent the past few years thinking deeply about the issues facing America. Our nation is at a crossroads. Next year’s election will be the most important of our lifetimes. For more than a century, New Hampshire has been fertile ground for the strongest Democratic candidates. Now, more than ever, it is important that the Democratic Party have a primary campaign that produces our party’s most competitive candidate.
I urge you to reconsider the president’s recommendation and honor New Hampshire’s well-earned tradition of hosting the first primary in the Democratic Party’s 2024 presidential campaign.
Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.