A little known fact about covering New Hampshire as a journalist: it can be hard to find actual people from New Hampshire to talk to.
Outside of Manchester polling location, popular for rallies and press ops I spoke to one of the two Biden supporters holding a sign. Both were from New York City.
David, from Queens told me that he was supporting the former Vice President Joe Biden because, “I lived through 1972, and I don’t want to repeat it.” He was referring to the contentious 1972 Democratic Primary where progressive candidate George McGovern won the nomination and went on to lose to Richard Nixon in a nearly complete national trouncing.
Anyone on the left that’s actively on the internet discussing politics will likely be asked at one point or another, “…but will you support the Democratic nominee, no matter who it is?” It’s an annoying question that is usually used to stop criticism of a person’s preferred candidate but I asked it anyway…. waiting until the last question of my interview.
David, to my surprise, said no. He wouldn’t vote for Bernie Sanders or Mike Bloomberg, saying that he would write in a candidate. Most of the other volunteers I spoke to begrudgingly said that, yes, they would ‘vote blue, no matter what.
Milo, a physician also from New York was there for Elizabeth Warren. He was holding a large sign that Dream Big, Fight Hard, Live Proud in rainbow colors. I asked him what attracted him to the Warren campaign, “She’s a teacher, I think she’s reminding that civic engagement is a human thing, it’s not this thing that takes place on social media.” This was of course immediately after Warren had worked up and down the line of supporters taking dozens of selfies as she was mobbed by the press. She briefly answered questions but then sprinted off to the net event on her schedule.
As former Vice President Biden claims that the Republican Party will suddenly snap back into reality once Donald Trump leaves office, Milo says that Senator Warren has a different, more realistic view, “This is a crisis in our democracy, she’s the only candidate that speaks specifically to that. This is a democracy problem. Yes, Donald Trump is a great threat to our way of life… but the reality is that he is a symptom of a larger disease.”
Earlier this year the Libertarian Party held its Presidential primary and a less than mainstream candidate won. He has a policy of free ponies and wears a boot on his head. His name is Vermin Supreme.
This isn’t Vermin Supreme’s first rodeo, he’s run for president before but this time he says he’s taking it seriously. He’s working to win the Libertarian Party nomination and has already won more states than Joe Biden has. Supreme’s plan is to get 5% of the national vote using his celebrity to get the Libertarian Party great ballot access. He is easily recognizable, of course, and while we were doing our interview on the streets of Manchester, NH many people called out his name and lined up for selfies.
One of the biggest discussions on panel-based news shows for the last year has been which candidate can bring not only the party regulars out to vote, but some of the disaffected Republicans to the polls in November.
Sherry was a Republican in 2016 and says that Donald Trump was the reason she’s at the Bernie Sanders rally, and voted for the Senator from Vermont in the primary that day. “His ideas of ‘Us’ not ‘Me’ are what we need today. I don’t think we can keep going the way we are. Everybody needs to start looking out for each other and trying to help each other.”
Several hours later the primary vote was called for Bernie – closer than many in the crowd would have liked – but still Bernie’s first clear victory of the primary. Almost more importantly though was that Bernie’s main rival up until then, Joe Biden left the state early to go to South Carolina where, if the former Vice President loses would almost certainly be the end to his campaign.