Will Iowa, N.H. always be first?

Harry Reid is lucky he is retiring rather than running for president. Shortly before the first Democratic debate, the Senate minority leader challenged the sacrosanct first-in-the-nation status of the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary.

Reid complained that these states don't deserve their disproportionate influence over the presidential selection process because they don't reflect the demographic diversity of the country. "You go to New Hampshire. There are not any minorities there. Nobody lives there," he groused. "You go to Iowa. There are a few people there, but again it's a place that does not demonstrate what America is all about, for a lot of different reasons."

New Hampshire Democrats pushed back and Reid issued a sarcastic apology. Neither state has seen a serious challenge to its place in the 2016 primary calendar. And Reid has an ulterior motive, since the Nevadan has been trying to make his state's caucuses, 20 days after Iowa, a more important part of the process.

But New Hampshire and Iowa guard their first-in-the-nation status so jealously because Reid's objection is widely shared. Scott Walker had to fire consultant Liz Mair because she said some impolitic, Reid-like things about the Iowa caucuses. Even Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Preibus has said, "I don't think there should ever be any sacred cows as to the primary process or the order."

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