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that they might have some record of your service later, i would encourage all veterans that have participated in combat experiences to write about the warriors that could not tell their story and in honor of them, know what they accomplished. >> welcome to concorde new hampshire on book tv. located 70 miles north of boston, and has a population of 32,000. settled in 1725, this capital city is home to the oldest steakhouse in the country and has the oldest state legislature in the country with 400 members. it was on the franklin peers, the 14 president of the united states and christa mcauliffe, the teacher who died in the space shuttle challenger disaster. the help of our comcast cable, we will feature the areas literary community beginning with dante scala on new hampshire's role during the presidential election.
>> new hampshire's role is to be the primary, that is first of all the primaries in the nomination process and that's a spot on the calendar that we held now for about a century and it's grown in importance over time as the presidential nomination process became more democratic with a small d. new hampshire and iowa work together to basically narrow the field for the rest of the country. new hampshire primary has been the first in the nation for a century and it actually happened by accident. two accidents. the fortunate one is for us. one is that new hampshire decides to hold its primary in conjunction with town meetings which occurred in the springtime and that wasn't to be first, that was
essentially to save money, to have multiple elections on the same day. but when we started the presidential primary, we were not first. there were a couple other states ahead of us but remember the time, it wasn't the case that primaries decided who the nominee was going to be. even though some states held primaries in the early 20th century, it wasn't the case that the candidate who won the most primaries became the nominee. that was still in the hands of party bosses. in other words, being first didn't matter all that much. a couple other states decided not to do the primary when they were doing it, so new hampshire by default up in line and became first. they were first for decades and no one thought much about it until the middle to late 20th century when there were reforms to the nomination process that made primaries much more democratic, again
with a small d . and made that first in the nation slot so important because of all the media publicity that the winner of that first primary received. we've been first for a century, but only important perhaps for half a century, give or take. a primary is a type of election that's been around now for more than a century in the united states and dates back to the progressive era of american politics. it was an attempt by reformers to take party nominations for president, for us senator, any kind of party nomination for office out of the hands of party bosses. who were seen to be corrupt and to put it in the hands of the people so essentially, the primary was seen as a vehicle of reform because reformers thought that it would make politicians accountable to the ordinary
rank-and-file members of their political parties and not elites. so new hampshire took up the primary during the progressive era and has kept it ever since. the amount of attention that such a small state that is huge and it's the envy of the other 49 states. well, 48 because iowa certainly gets its share of attention as well but we get a huge amount of attention relative to our small size and the small number of delegates that we have to give out to the candidates. for example, in the 2016 nomination process, we were seeing candidates left and right, week in, week out for more than a year prior towhen the actual nomination primary was held .
so to be in new hampshire during a presidential election season, if you are a political junkie or activist, it's a wonderful place to be because you can see any candidate that you would like , they are going to be coming to town sooner or later. the first thing we traditionally do is they go to someone's living room. they began with a so-called house party. it might be a local activist, either democratic or republican who holds a party in their house, maybe their living room or their backyard if it's summertime and the candidate comes and what the host does is brings together as many people as she can and typically when it's months earlier, they are part of the activist class of new hampshire voters, not so much the ordinary voters but the activists who breathe and eat politics and would come out to see a candidate on a july night in the backyard the mosquitoes, just to get a glimpse of the up-and-coming candidate.
that's where they start and they start small and they say can we fill a living room with people who want to see this candidate and traditionally they build outward from that so they will try to fill say a school auditorium with perhaps 100 or 200 people. what they're hoping is that by the end, say a week before the primary that they've got several hundred people coming to each of their events that they are holding a week before the primary with people spilling out the door so the object is to build slowly and to be late. new hampshire demographically is noteworthy for a couple things. one is that it's a very white state. there are very few minorities in new hampshire so and second, we are not a very religious state compared to other states inthe union. new hampshire voters tend to
go to church less and to say i'm a member of a particular religion , left, and we can to be more highly educated than the nation at large so those are a few things that stand us apart on the rest of the country. new hampshire voters have a weakness, have an attraction to candidates whose intent is to upset the apple cart. and not to perform politics as usual. we saw a good example of that in 2016 where bernie sanders on the democratic side, donald trump on the republican side very much different on a number of policy issues but both with the same attitude of elites don't know what they are doing. then send me to the white house and i will change b& as we know it. time and again, in new hampshire primary history, you see candidates have a certain attraction to voters whether it's jean mccarthy or george mcgovern back during
the vietnam war era, whether it's ronald reagan on the republican side, gary hart in the 1980s, going forward to the present day, barack obama even. we've seen examples where new hampshire voters are attracted to these candidates who are reform minded candidates who are policy as usual candidates. success for a lot of candidates means absolutely everything. that a new hampshire primary could be there window to essentially competing for the rest of the nomination season, we saw that with bernie sanders. he lost in iowa but one in new hampshire and given the momentum and publicity that he gained from that victory, he was able to compete with hillary clinton basically
through the rest of the nomination season. he didn't win but new hampshire gave him that momentum, that publicity that enabled him to continue and certainly for donald trump on the republican side. he also lost iowa but new hampshire basically set him on the right path for the nomination. so new hampshire does a couple things. one is it gives candidates if they succeed here enormous amounts of free publicity, enormous amounts of media attention and that's only become more intense as say, cable television networks have become increasingly enamored with the nomination process and with every event every week, it's like the super bowl every week so that's one thing and second, new hampshire gives candidates barometer of how they are going to appeal to different segments of the national electorate. not every segments because as i mentioned earlier, we don't have many minority voters so we are not a good judge or barometer of that but other types of voters, we are a good barometer so donald trump for example, what was
striking to me when the results were coming in that evening were not only his margin of victory but that he was appealing to a very broad cross-section of republicans so not just working-class white voters but just basic ordinary republicans. one of the chief criticisms is that new hampshire is not representative of the american electorate as a whole. that we are not a true microcosm in the sense that we don't reflect thediverse city , racially, ethnically of the nation as a whole, that's number one. number two is basically the argument, why not give someone else a chance. there are lots of other allstate out there for example. that could host a primary, why should new hampshire always get the lion's share of attention every four years. i'm three is that the new hampshire primary is past its prime. because it becomes more of a
national contest and so why give new hampshire as much exposure as it's getting when really it should be a national electorate deciding the contest though those are some of the chief criticisms. new hampshire sees itself as the guardian of a more personal type of politics. >> that's been lost in the era of cable news networks and national political advertising and super pacs. that we still see ourselves as a place where a candidate can rise up from being a virtual national unknown to becoming a contender for the nomination. >> and you can go back to say jimmycarter , the one term governor of georgia who came to new hampshire not on paper at least and especially
friendly place for a southerner and yet he was able i virtue of his hard work to campaign, win the primary and use that to vault himself to national prominence. we can point more, more recently to say john casey, the governor of ohio basically lost in the crowd for months and months during the nomination process while donald trump, jeb bush, marco rubio got more attention but john basically said i'm going to make my stand in new hampshire. he did a lot of very small events, i remember seeing him two or three months before the primary at a local social club in manchester. he was speaking to maybe 100 people, 100 people, one evening and i looked and i said okay, here he is. we will see what he does and a couple months later he wound up surprising everyone by finishing second place.
in new hampshire, i had a candidates like jeb bush who had a lot more money to spend. by virtue of working hard, having a positive message that appealed to voters. he didn't win the nomination but he did why not sending until the end which was more than candidates with more money, more exposure got to do. so even nowadays, new hampshire likes to pride itself on putting forth before the national public a candidate for whom we say hey, take a look at this guy. we like him. he what you think. i think new hampshire will always try and as long as there's a nomination process, that allows the primary tuesday first, as long as both political parties and all the candidates don't gang up on new hampshire, i think
it will be our intent to always stay first. i think that first in the nation primary is an integral part of new hampshire's political culture which i would define as first and foremost participatory. >> and after an activist told me one time when i was working on my book that the thing about new hampshire is anybody can play here and that can be candidate but also activist who can get involved in the campaign. >> and have a role that might be well out of proportion to their actual political experience. are there professional campaign here, no question about it but it's still a place where a citizen can take apart and we take pride in that. >> tv is in concord new hampshire. up next we speak with author howard mansfield about his book "turn and jump" which explains how the concept of time zones came about . >> time first meant when the