Written by Devon Mitchell
The New Hampshire primaries are on Feb. 11, meaning that being in the granite state is the perfect place to be — if you’re interested in seeing candidates speak on their campaign trail. I was lucky enough to attend three separate town halls: Bernie Sanders, Pete Buttigieg, and Andrew Yang. Being to three separate events, I noticed distinct differences in the crowds and the vibes.
The Bernie Sanders town hall was the first one I attended. The crowd was composed of mostly older folks. I was surprised when a reporter asked to take a picture of me, a thirty year old man, a middle aged woman, and an old man — for our “diversity.” Though we were all white, I guess that’s as diverse as you’ll get at a Bernie event in New Hampshire.
I found Bernie’s event to be formal. People didn’t seem excited to see Bernie, besides perhaps the old man sitting next to me who exclaimed “Amen!” and “Right on!” with every comment Bernie made on taxes and health care. The vibe of the event was worn out honestly. Not saying this was on Bernie’s part, but more so on his supporters’. Perhaps this is just in NH, but it seemed most of his supporters were above the age of fifty; in fact, I think I may have been one of the only people there under the age of thirty. But Bernie is a very passionate speaker and seeing him in person was a pretty cool experience, one I’m thankful to have gotten.
Next town hall was Buttigieg. This was the event I was most excited for, as I’ve been on Team Pete since April. To start, walking into the venue was interesting due to the crowd of Trump supporters urging people to reconsider the President’s recent impeachment. Although there were protesters, there were more supporters. Of the three events I went to over break, I felt the most energy there.
The crowd was upbeat and cheered loudly when they saw Mayor Pete walk on stage. The vibe I felt here was hopeful. The best part of this event was when an eight-year-old girl asked Pete why he thought he should be president. As a response he got off the stage and spoke directly to her explaining he was doing this for the future generation of leaders like herself. My favorite part however was meeting Pete. Needless to say, I left this event grinning ear to ear.
The third politician I saw was Andrew Yang. He happened to be at my former high school. To be completely honest, I wasn’t sure if I was at town hall or an Andrew Yang comedy show. He cracked jokes the entire time. He made the crowd laugh about himself, the state of the country and the current federal government. It seemed like he did this to come off as more relatable. Besides the jokes, he did talk about some of the more important and even controversial agenda he’s been running on.
I will admit, going in, I wasn’t a huge fan. I felt that his proposals were unlikely to succeed. And yet, after hearing him explain the freedom dividend, it makes more sense and is something I’d possibly get behind. Overall, I’d say the vibe from the Yang Gang and Yang himself was relaxed and laid back.
Attending these events reminded me how soon the Primaries are coming up. Only a few more weeks until I cast my vote in the New Hampshire primaries. Don’t forget to look into an absentee ballot and vote in your State’s primaries!