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Hofstra Goes to New Hampshire

This piece was originally printed in the Hofstra Chronicle


As a political science major and committed Democrat, I have been closely following the race between the wide range of Democratic presidential candidates attempting to clinch the party’s nomination for the general election. While taking an introductory political science course in the fall semester, I was introduced to the Hofstra Goes to New Hampshire trip, an opportunity to observe one of the most consequential moments in American politics up close. I immediately jumped at the opportunity to attend the sixth iteration of the trip.

Hofstra Goes to New Hampshire 2020

Our first stop was Keene, New Hampshire, where we attended a town hall event held by William Weld, a former governor of Massachusetts and the only Republican candidate challenging President Donald Trump for the party’s nomination. In a fairly intimate setting, Weld discussed his legislative and business accomplishments and answered questions from members of the audience. Though I did not agree with Weld on many of his policy proposals, it was admirable to see a qualified, informed, more moderate Republican candidate challenging the grip that Trump seems to have on the party.

With little time to spare, we hopped back on the buses and set off for Manchester, for the 61st annual McIntyre-Shaheen 100 Club Event, where we got a taste of the political circus that descends upon the state every four years. Outside of the Southern New Hampshire University Arena, throngs of people gathered in sub-zero temperatures to show support for their favorite candidates. Once inside, we walked past dozens of booths set up for each Democratic candidate, offering pins, stickers and T-shirts to potential voters.

This event gives Democratic candidates one final opportunity to address the people of New Hampshire en masse before the primary elections. Each candidate paraded onto the stage to pre-selected, energetic music, cheered on by their supporters in the crowd. Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Sen. Bernie Sanders, among others, emphasized the need for the Democratic party to unite in the general election against President Trump. Each displayed intense fervor and enthusiasm in anticipation for the first primary election in the nation, reflecting the general feeling within the Democratic party.

Hofstra Goes to New Hampshire 2020

Our second day in the Granite State began with hotel breakfast before we rushed to the buses for our trek north to see Andrew Yang in Hopkinton. When we arrived at the Hopkinton Town Hall, we were greeted by a meeting room packed with people wearing T-shirts and hats with Yang’s slogan, “Make America Think Harder (MATH)”. Yang discussed his signature promises, including the provision of $1,000-a-month stipend for all adults in the country, and his promotion of human-centered capitalism. He offered a hopeful future in which Americans are recognized for their intrinsic value, and not for what they can contribute to the economy.

After a quick stop for lunch, we were welcomed to the University of New Hampshire by Andrew Smith, a political science professor. Smith provided us with a presentation explaining the historic and modern-day significance of the New Hampshire primary. He also discussed his research regarding political engagement in the state. Then, we got back on the road and attended a rally for Mayor Buttigieg at a local high school. Buttigieg reiterated many of his popular policy talking points, and offered a hopeful, inclusive vision for the future.

After listening to Buttigieg, we drove down the road to hear Sen. Amy Klobuchar speak. Klobuchar, selling her middle America roots, moderate positions and extensive government experience, expressed outrage at the current state of the nation with sincerity. Afterward, she spent time speaking and taking pictures with a large group of individual constituents.

Embarking on this political pilgrimage allowed me to experience one of the most important primary elections in the nation up close, and I’m thankful that I was able to experience the message of every Democratic candidate in the 2020 race. It made me a more informed citizen and voter.

On the bus to New Hampshire