This January I began a class studying the New Hampshire primary. As part of the class each student chose a campaign to intern for, being a Democrat, I chose to work on Hillary Clinton’s campaign. However, I was curious about the other side of politics. Because I knew I wanted to work for a democrat I had limited the majority of my research to Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. Consequently I made the time during the first few days of my class, to attend rallies and events hosted by the Republican Party.
A small town hall meeting in Goffstown, New Hampshire ended up surprising me. Governor Chris Christie was speaking there, and I found myself surprised by and even agreeing with some of his policies. His response to a question about his faith and the role of God in government was eloquent and extremely tolerant, much more tolerant than I had been led to believe was possible from the Republican Party. He stated his personal faith, Catholicism, while being respectful and tolerant of other religions. He called out Donald Trump’s plan for giving IDs to all Muslims as distinctly un-American, and stressed the point of religious freedom.
Christie later gave a very interesting plan for dealing with drug addiction, which made me want to take a closer look at his campaign and platform. He proposed more rehabilitation and less jail time for first time convicts. And as a college student, I was pleased to hear that he had a comprehensive plan for lowering the costs of college tuition. This is not to say that this single town hall meeting made me change my mind or change my vote. I am still staunchly in support of Hillary Clinton. However, it did cause me to reexamine some of my biases towards the Republican Party something I never thought would be possible during this election cycle.
~Eleanor Anderson is a senior at St. Olaf from Libertyville, Illinois majoring in Political Science and English. She is in New Hampshire as part of a St. Olaf political science class studying the presidential election.