Feel the Bern! Bernie Sanders wins big in New Hampshire!

By Chris Horton

Bernie 60% Hillary 38% in New Hampshire: how did THAT happen?

Bernie scored a huge win in NH, beating all expectations. It was the result of hard work, but it was something more.  Something is shifting in American politics, and everyone who’s paid attention can feel it. 

The NY Times reports that under 30 voters, the “social media generation”, went for Bernie by more than 80% – many voting for the first time!  We saw them at Worcester’s North High School, 4000 wildly enthusiastic young adults turning out on 2 days notice, but Tony from Marlborough says that at the rally at Concord (NH) high school Tuesday night the enthusiasm and energy that filled the room went far beyond that! Dating himself, he said it was “more exciting than a Rod Stewart concert.  Bernie has attained Rock Star status!”

The NY Times observed that Sanders had “only” won half the Democratic voters in NH, and his victory margin was almost entirely from independents.  Seriously?  “Only?”  With practically the entire Democratic establishment coast to coast endorsing Hillary, with thousands of Democratic officeholders and operatives – hundreds from Massachusetts including Jim McGovern – commuting to New Hampshire to campaign for her every weekend, pulling even was huge! 

Half the Democratic base walked away from their leaders!

Bernie won the bigger cities, but won by huge margins in a lot of small cities and towns, especially the old mill towns along the rivers. Some produced lopsided margins, up to 80% for Bernie (and twice the number of Trump votes.)   Stone from Dudley described his old hippie friends living in one of those towns whose politics “had gone underground because “they believed they were surrounded by ignorant fascists,” who “woke up to discover that most of their neighbors feel the same way they do!”

Jack told of a meeting of his gun club this week outside Worcester. About 100 members showed up and everyone was taking about New Hampshire.  He estimated the house was evenly split between Sanders and Trump supporters, with the “gun nuts” and “survivalists” lining up with Trump and the “sportsmen” nearly unanimous for Sanders.  The two camps had in common being totally fed up and done with politics as usual and the “political establishment”, as personified by Hillary.  

To his surprise, he thinks that if Trump dropped out, many of his supporters would come over to Bernie!

Putting this all together, I think what we’re seeing is bigger than the sum of a lot of individual choices.  Whole communities seem to have decided “Bernie’s our guy, and we’re all going out to vote for him!” 

This might seem like a miracle, but it was already there. Bernie’s not telling us anything we didn’t know – he’s showing us each other!  Like Stone’s old hippies, most of us felt alone with what we knew and believed. We believed that what we wanted was impossible and hopeless, could never happen in America. It’s an Emperor’s New Clothes moment.  

Everyone already knew the emperor was naked, but they dared not say so because everyone else said they could see his clothes.

There’s a broad consensus starting to form that it’s time for Bernie – and for us.  In a way, Bernie IS us!  The pundits and odds-makers betting on Hillary will be confounded because they have nothing to compare this to!
But before we get all Kum-by-ya about Bernie’s campaign, I’ll let Bill, who spend many weekends campaigning in New Hampshire, have the last word.  

Bernie won not just because the moment, the message and the messenger were right but “because a whole boatload of people put their butts out on the streets, day after day, week after week, talking to the people who thought they might vote for Bernie and getting their commitment to actually do it.”  He figured that knocking on 20 doors in an hour was getting Bernie 1 vote.  

Many thousands of volunteers putting in dozens or hundreds of hours each added up to hundreds of thousands of votes!

I asked Bill: can we repeat that here in Massachusetts on March 1?  “That depends on how fast we hit the road and how many people we can put on it!  The work is not hard and you can learn how in 20 minutes. I could tell you what to say but it’s your own authentic conversation that really wins people’s votes.”