On Tuesday we were able to meet the esteemed faculty of the Kennedy school, The Harvard Graduate School of Politics. We were given lectures from professors from everything from the history of the primary elections all the way to religions involvement in politics.
One thing that particularly stood out to me was a quote that David King said while talking about the primary elections, “We are subcontracting democracy to Iowa and New Hampshire”. This is because we expect them to pay attention throughout all four years of the election, carefully watching politics and the candidates while the rest of the world happily ignores it till about a month before the Primary. They then follow suit to whatever way the first two states vote, therefore the importance of Iowa and New Hampshire.
But is it enough to have only two of the fifty states partake in this democracy? Talking to voters on the phone I would have to say that it is not. Although some voters are interested and up to date in the happenings of politics, most rely on national media. Therefore their votes become highly influenced by the way the media spins stories, polls and individuals start favoring candidates that are given the most coverage.
When I phone bank and introduce myself, many say “Martin who?” or my favorite “Sorry I’m voting for a democrat”. Governor O’Malley is not in many national headlines but if you pay attention to town halls, the newspaper and not just national headlines you would be aware of his existence. This is just another example of the lack of attention New Hampshire voters and possibly American voters pay to politics.
New Hampshire seems to have succumbed, for the most part, to receiving political news just like everyone else in the country. If this is correct, how can we subcontract democracy any longer?
-- Rhea Rajan is a Sophomore at St. Olaf College from Mumbai, India. She is a Psychology major with a concentration in Neuroscience. She is in New Hampshire as part of a St. Olaf political science class studying the presidential election.