New Hampshire Primary and the Presidential Election: HHS Students’ Takes

New Hampshire tends to get a lot of publicity during its first-in-the-nation primary which takes place every four years when New Hampshirites play a big role in choosing both the Democratic and Republican nominees. At Hanover High, there are many students who are particularly passionate about the current presidential race and the issues (and plans to dealing with them) that are being debated.

In a survey that was conducted by the Broadside in which 75 random students were asked about which issue that they felt was most important in the coming election, the United States’ foreign policy plans emerged as the most talked-about issue; 15 students said that it was the most important issue to them. Some students cited the presence of terrorist groups like ISIS in the Middle East as the reason behind their statement. However, issues like immigration reform (9 votes), dealing with climate change and protecting the environment (7 votes), and income equality (7 votes) were also high on the list of concerns. Other issues like gender equality, candidate competency, and the handling of guns (which each received 5 votes) also received attention. There were many other issues that were (and weren’t) touched on too, but did not receive as much attention. However, this shouldn’t suggest that nobody cares about these issues; as one student put it, “The president should be able to address multiple issues, not just one.”

Interviews with the heads of some of the school’s political clubs showed a slightly different focus. Currently, the school’s Libertarian Club (which does not officially sponsor any candidate as a whole) places an emphasis on gender equality, environmental protection, and the improvement of the education system (with a focus on non-collegiate education). In the words of Tom Judd, the club’s head, the club feels that “while the environment may be able to withstand a few more years of our current practices, it will not be able to withstand our practices for the long term” and that long term solutions must be created. On education, Judd said, “I think a note needs to be taken into the fact that some schools (not really in Vermont/New Hampshire, but in big cities such as New York, and Detroit) are failing. I do have to commend some of the candidates such as Bernie [Sanders] for discussing education issues, but they have been focused on colleges.” In regards to gender equality, Judd stated that he liked that some candidates were addressing the issue of equal pay among different sexes but felt that other issues that involved gender equality (such as the role of women in the armed forces) weren’t receiving enough attention.

Daniel Osofsky, one of the heads of the school’s Bernie Sanders club (which, evidently, endorses Sanders) had both similar and different concerns. He agreed that protecting the environment was important to him. However, he also highlighted issues like raising the minimum wage to a living wage, making college more affordable, and making reforms in the campaign finance system. He went on to say that he supports the Vermont senator because he agrees with Sanders on the majority of issues and because he feels that Sanders is passionate and has strong ideas that he has consistently stood by. In a separate case, another high school student that supports Sanders said, “The President should represent everybody, not just the one percent!”

The New Hampshire primary will play a big role in the way that all of these issues that Hanover High School students care so much about are resolved, as it will likely affect what kind of person will become the next president of the United States in 2017 and in turn affect the approaches that the federal government (under the next president’s administration) takes to the issues. For Hanover residents, voting took place from 7am to 7pm in the HHS gym on Tuesday, February 9th.

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