Thursday, January 09, 2020

NH Primary

I should have thoughts.  I should have observations not known to the rest of you, because here I am, on the scene.  Everyone wants to know "What is happening there?"

I haven't gone to see anyone, and I know only two people who have. When our sons were young we took them to campaign events, and they got to shake hands with them.  My oldest interviewed a Senator for his school newspaper, who was running in 1996.  (Indiana, I think.  Began with an L.  Richard Lugar.)  The next son covered a Bush event in 2000 that was three blocks from the school. Al Gore bought us dinner at the Alpine Club in 1988 (or 1992?) and cleverly mentioned on the West Side of Manchester that his mother was French. We saw Bob Kerrey at a house party, and I was part of an NPR focus group somewhere along the line.  Everyone wanted to talk to my wife wherever we went once they found out she was undeclared in party.

The rest of the country resented us, but I had a decent intellectual defense for hosting the first primary.  But events themselves have made us less of an influence.  It still matters what happens here, but it is much more a reflection of what has happened nationally than how a candidate has impressed NH voters.  I think.  Maybe it's just that I don't bother to go to these things, so they seem less important.   NH voters are still going to be somewhat different, and there will be some data that can be sifted to reveal how candidates are doing with various demographic groups.  But the trend over the last few primaries has been that NH will illustrate, rather than influence how the rest of the country feels.  Yes, a good showing here creates momentum, but that is a function of it being first, not a measurement of NH voters as opposed to any other states. 

Even the Democrats used to have a libertarian streak in NH up until around 2000, but I think that is long gone now.


james said...

Do they seem more statesmanlike from a distance? I suppose all the campaign appearances are scripted, so even those are at a distance...

Michael said...

Don't know if Tim and Hannah are included in your "2 people" but they have seen several candidates from their new perch in Manch.

I remember seeing John McCain at Bethany Covenant in 2000. Dale Kuehne of St. Anselm had invited all candidates to speak at the church that cycle. McCain was the only major candidate to appear. Not sure if my memory is correct, but Herman Cain may have come, also.

I met Fritz Hollings of SC in 1984. I was fascinated by his southern accent.