BRIGHT and early Monday morning we left the hotel at 6:15 a.m. to attend a Donald Trump rally! The event started at 11:00, and the doors were set to open at 9:00 so we aimed to arrive at 7:00. After waiting in our warm cars until the very last second possible, we bundled up and got in line outside the venue to wait for 45 minutes in the 25 degree weather along with windchill. We finally got inside, and waited another two hours for Trump to arrive. He walked out to “Eye of the Tiger,” and jumped into explaining why he is winning in all the polls. Cha and Brie both got to ask him questions, neither of which he answered thoroughly or on topic. A few agitators (deemed by us as “trolls”) interrupted Trump by shouting “This is boring! Make some jokes!” until Trump himself asked his secret service to escort them out.
At the end of the event, most of us attempted to get a selfie with Donald but to no avail. Connor did get a handshake though.
Our afternoon was packed with three separate meetings with local political activists. First, we met with Jamie Burnett, Romney’s Deputy Campaign Manager in 2008, who gave us insight into campaign structure as well as the overall feeling of the Romney campaign. We learned that national campaigns are much more complex than state-level campaigns largely because national campaigns involve coordination between state and local level workers as well as other large-scale management. After a quick meal of bagels and cream cheese we piled into our trusty SUVs and made our way to downtown Concord to meet with Tom Rath at his law firm. Mr. Rath has been a campaign advisor to several GOP candidates and mentioned that he knew political icons such as former President George W. Bush and Karl Rove. Mr. Rath said that he wished polls weren’t as influential but still checked them almost daily to make sure the candidate he’s supporting is doing well. Finally, we made our way across the street to meet with Jim Demers, the New Hampshire Clinton campaign chair. Mr. Demers told us that he was the first person to support Barack Obama’s presidential run after he witnessed his magnetism during a routine visit to New Hampshire. Thanks to all three of these very knowledgeable and kind individuals, we finished the afternoon armed with lots of new info we can use to analyze presidential elections.
Our eventful day ended on an extremely high note when we traveled to Brie Burns’ family’s house in North Sutton, New Hampshire. Her family was so kind to open up their house for all of us. We were greatly appreciative of our time with them. A wonderful, home-cooked meal was prepared that everyone found delicious, and funny retrospective stories about the last week and a half were shared at the table. Playing table games, like ping pong and foosball, were a necessity after dinner, where some of the students let out their competitive sides against one another. Dessert time was just as enjoyable as dinner, and the night harmoniously wrapped up with great casual discussion about any topic that came up. It was the perfect end to an extensive 3rd day in New Hampshire.