I am lucky enough to live in New Hampshire. Which means Inot only have the opportunity to see every candidate but often to ask them questions.
Some pictures (all my own are at the bottom). There are designed to give people who do not live here a sense of the campaign. Harris took questions for at least 45 minutes. The only one who did not was Sanders: his was not just a stump speech but rather a NH announcement so this was understandable.
The first picture below is Warren from her event in Salem on Friday. This is very much how of the NH campaign happens. There were maybe 75 people in the House. I have been to similar events for Bennet, Klobuchar, Gillibrand and Hickenlooper. At this point the only major announced candidates I have not seen are Booker and Beto. I have heard VERY good things about those who have seen Booker by the way.
I have now seen enough events to get a sense of the questions that are coming from NH voters.
At every event I have been to one question has been asked: “how can you bring us together.” I guess I should not be surprised at this: but I was. It didn’t matter if the candidate was on the left or candidates from the right. They all were asked it, and often in very similar words.
There are three basic answers:
1. “I know how to work with Republicans”
Klobuchar talks about the bills she has worked with Republicans on. Hickenlooper talks about working with Republicans as governor in Colorado (Hickenlooper was more effective I thought). Maybe it isn’t surprising that these candidates are from the centrist wing of the Party.
Personally, I find these answers incredibly naive. Working with Republicans on a project to increase the number of schools that specialize in STEM training (A bill Klobuchar sponsored) is NOT going to possible if you want to get anything done on health care for example.
2. “Most people support progressive ideas”
Warren’s answer on this good: she walked through polls that show majorities support for breaking up big tech companies (a significant part of her agenda) and on Healthcare.
Warren’s core message is that she is a fighter. This is also Harris’ and Bernie’s and Gillibrand’s. The larger message is hard to reconcile with the question though and I wonder how it will play out in the next 11 months.
3. “We do things that address the problems we all have”
This was Harris’ answer and it was the best I have heard. She talked about how when people have trouble going to sleep because a medical problem or a money problem, they don’t think about which party they belong to. If you help people address the problems they have will respond positively.
It was the best answer I have heard to date. Harris in person is INCREDIBLE, particularly at answering questions. She reminds a bit of Bill Clinton in her ability to relate to the person asking the questions.
The Sanders event in Concord (my phone died before he took the stage). It was a big crowd on the morning of a snowstorm. And the youngest of the events I have been too.
The Harris event in Portsmouth. Nearly 400 did not get into a church that sat 900.