Sunday, January 24, 2016

A Saturday in Manchester New Hampshire

An ambitious friend drove up to Manchester NH to do a little publicity for his latest book, I tagged along to tour the various presidential campaign headquarters and see whats cookin'.
Y'know A LOT of effort and manpower seems widely and ineffectively dispersed among some seriously marginal campaigns.
Jeb Bush's headquarters was staffed by a couple of disinterested blank rather antiseptic young men in gaudy sweaters the same exact sort who have been staffing the various Bush campaigns since 1980.
They were by and large a glum and terse lot...much like their candidate.
Marco Rubio's Campaign Headquarters was a cramped rental in an office building and looked like it was down to its very last volunteer. This turned out to be a chatty soul who freely admitted that the Senator from Florida was staking everything on Iowa at the moment.
But this was an immense Campaign Juggernaut compared to Rand Paul who campaign office on Bridge Street was completely invisible and surmised to be naught but a cubicle rented from a sympathetic local business.
Now Bernie Sanders...HE is doing some business with a admin headquarters and a separate rendezvous for volunteers clearly they are worming a large workforce on a door to door model of voter ID. Voter ID is generally "The Politics of Ones and Twos" and is favored by campaigns that can field the troops in a situation where a thin plurality is in play. Sanders' admin headquarters even has an intern from Australia who is looking to import the Sanders outreach model Downunder.  Its a familiar young cohort that is calling the shots over there, academic based independent leftists of a kind that were once drawn to Eugene McCarthy, Jesse Jackson or Dennis Kucinich.
Donald Trump has a similar level of activity with a phone bank going when when we dropped by, I was struck by the younger skewage among his volunteers I was expecting an older cohort. interesting.
Ben Carson's headquarters is an immense tomb stuffed with lawn signs and banners that the campaign cannot apparently give away to save their very lives. The place was staffed by two yappy old ladies who had no idea when Dr. Carson would be back in the state if indeed he ever returns at all. They were both very nice and offered us snacks and gave off the air of two women who have missed an important bus connection and are making the best of it under trying circumstances.
Kasich campaign headquarters has got some energetic old ladies hard at work, but then their candidate is currently polling second in NH and is clearly staking everything on the Granite State.

Carly Fiorina's headquarters is up six flights of stairs in an obscure and cheap looking office block with a broken elevator.  It is otherwise a veritable tomb presided over by two sad looking staffers who are clearly updating their resumes and just waiting for the concession speech. The joint is stuffed with immense signage that they can't seem to place anywhere and huge mass mailings await pickup by the Post Office. Those mass mailings are  dead tip off that Fiorina doesn't have the volunteers to do any kind of real outreach its a sure sign of a campaign that is in a slow death spiral.
Still it was all better than Ted Cruz's headquarters which was locked up and unmanned when we pulled up at noon on Saturday.
Clearly Cruz, Carson and Rubio are all looking to get their tickets punched in Iowa and somehow use that to leverage NH however thats a plan that doesn't always work (ask President Santorum and President Gephardt for the details) and seems driven by the plurality politics of candidates who striving to run second to Trump (even if it's by twenty points) and thus make an argument that they somehow are the answer to The Donald's Dread Menace.
If there is one unifying theme here is the universal air of bafflement that clings to all these campaign headquarters (save Trump, Sanders and perhaps Clinton)....none of these people seem to have Clue One as to why their Candidate just isn't clicking with the voters or why they are getting schooled by a clownish TV Personality with a penchant for Spiro Agnewish vulgarity.
And that bafflement will likely run straight thru primary night with catastrophic consequences for the GOP.

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