California voted to change its 2020 primary date to early March in 2017 — now, as Democrats rev up their campaigns, observers will likely see the new ways that change will force them to mold their campaigns.
According to a Monday Wall Street Journal report, a much earlier primary date will make candidates spend time on “West Coast issues” like the environment and immigration and to ramp up the advertising spending, as California is just too huge for grassroots campaigns to take hold.
The move also gives more power to minorities, especially Hispanics, while the first two primaries (Iowa and New Hampshire) have always given white people the loudest megaphone.
Many applaud the new primary date, which has also been adopted by Texas. In 2008, California held its primary in February and saw increased turnout as a result. However, some worry that it’ll throw the edge to candidates who are independently wealthy or primarily good fundraisers.
With grassroots campaigning largely impossible, candidates have to rely on advertising in an intensely expensive ad market. Per the WSJ, just one week of statewide ad buys in California can total $6 million.