The Democratic National Committee has approved plans to begin formalizing the 2016 primary schedule in line with a plan supported by the Republican National Committee as well. The goal of both parties is to move the primary start away from early January until at least the first of February.
Report from CBS News:
Democratic Party leaders adopted their 2016 presidential nominating calendar on Saturday, setting the stage for a successor to President Barack Obama.
The Democratic National Committee, or DNC, approved rules for its 2016 convention along with a primary schedule that will begin with the Iowa caucuses on Feb. 1, 2016, followed by voting later that month in New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina. The 2016 framework is in line with plans pushed by Republicans and gives states incentives to hold their primary contests between March and June, aiming to avoid a front-loaded calendar that encroaches on the Christmas holidays. [Emphasis added]
So this would setup something like this if the entire plan is adopted by both parties:
Feb 1: Iowa Caucuses
Feb 9: New Hampshire primary
Feb 20: Nevada caucuses
Feb 27: South Carolina primary
March 1 through Jun 14, 2016: Everyone else
This would setup a Super Tuesday in early to mid March and we could have a general idea of the nominees before we even hit April. Note the cut-off of mid-June to prevent anything dragging on any further. Any state wishing to have a say in the process will jump on mid-March with the stragglers hitting in early May.
Note the addition of Nevada in between New Hampshire and South Carolina. This is the first big change in recent years to the long-accepted selection process of the Midwest, the Northeast, and the South. Wedging the West in between the Northeast and the South helps to round out the process giving a voice to each region of the country.
Few things both major parties agree on but one of them is trying to control the primary calendar so it doesn’t end up like the past two cycles.