posted by Ciara Ciez on February 11, 2016 at 9:50 P.M. EST
How many times did I sing, “Empire State of Mind,” while in the big city? Too many to count (#shameless). New York City just throws off such a positive, inspiring vibe that I couldn’t help but revel in our short amount of time there. Being on MHP was SO cool. All my family sent me mega pics of everyone on TV. But, also, it was such an awesome experience to be behind the scenes and see how a TV show really works (it’s so much more complex than I ever could have imagined). We did a small tour of the NBC studios and saw SNL and other neat stuff. Later, we did a tour of CNN which was crazy! I feel so lucky to have experienced all this surreal stuff. Wake the Vote did some paling around in NYC to end the day before heading to New Hampshire.
“Live Free or Die” seems like an unfit motto for a state as peaceful and beautiful as New Hampshire. Yet, the motto encapsulates the spirit of the first primaries in the United States. The primaries exist so that the American public may exert an influence on the presidential process and insure that the U.S. remains the land of the free. I saw, firsthand, how interested people are in politics in the great state of New Hampshire through fun little events called town halls. Basically, a town hall is a gathering of people who can interact directly with the particular presidential candidate through asking questions in an informal setting.
As a group, Wake the Vote attended a John Kasich Town Hall. He gave a brief speech about the values of America and then took some questions from the audience members. I was surprised to see how conservative some of Kasich’s views were when I always saw him in a more moderate light. Kasich took an aggressive approach to many issues/questions that were raised, in addition to referencing Ronald Reagan (why do conservatives LOVE him so much?!?) at least eight times. In contrast, I was thoroughly shocked by Chris Christie’s town hall. Christie spoke so eloquently, and honestly. I was enamored with his answers and he had really compelling viewpoints. Also, Buddy the Cake Boss endorsed him!! I was sad to see Christie drop out of the race after such an impressive showing at the town hall I attended. I saw lots of celebs out and about in NH, too. Chris Matthews was there (not the nicest guy) and so were Ted Danson and Mary Steenburgen (FRIENDLY, power couple, see my selfie with the duo).
Working for Ted Cruz was an adventure. We showed up at his New Hampshire HQ only to be redirected to Concord, where we met up with a Wake Forest alum who was helping with the Cruz campaign. A few people went out to canvass and I stayed behind to phone bank. I dialed many a courageous conservative before I finally got some answers. Most people who answered were pretty receptive, but generally people didn’t want to share who they voted for/ who they were going to vote for unless it was Ted. Some people very enthusiastically shared that they liked/voted for Ted. One notable woman heard ‘Ted Cruz’ and abruptly hung up on me by yelling, “Oh yeah! Definitely not interested.” I got quite a few hang-ups but only the one rude experience. The most intriguing part of doing campaign work is meeting the supporters of the candidate. The crowd at Ted Cruz was a stark contrast to the crowd at Bernie last week. Ted had an older, less diverse crowd who didn’t have a lot of nice things to say about other candidates. Working for Cruz was refreshing in that I was able to work for a candidate who shared some of my political ideas. However, as I’ve experienced the campaigns of both parties I’ve realized that I don’t really belong in a distinct political party- I have values that overlap with both parties and different ideals. Wake the Vote has allowed me to realize that politics is very nuanced and specific to each person. My political beliefs are different from everyone else’s but that doesn’t make my views or their views invalid. Overall, working for Ted was fun but the campaign lacked the energy of Bernie’s campaign which was driven by enthusiastic, young people. It felt like any average campaign for any average president.
After finishing up with the Cruz campaign, we went back to watch returns and attend rallies. I tried to attend the Rubio (ILY) rally but it was past my bedtime (not really). We saw Vermin Supreme, though, so that was a plus. All in all, New Hampshire was another amazing experience. I loved the uniqueness of the caucuses in Iowa but the town halls of New Hampshire were such an interactive way to understand the complexities of a candidate.
Goodbye for now, blog friends!
Ciara Ciez, New Hampshire enthusiast