Monday, January 7, 2008

The Day Before the Primary

Right now, Dartmouth is abuzz about tomorrow's New Hampshire primary. Candidates are making last minute visits to Dartmouth. Obama is coming to Alumni Gym at 7:45 am, Bill Clinton will be at the Hop at 4:45 pm tonight, McCain was at the Hop today at noon, and Richardson was at Hanover High School on Sunday. Larry David is even stopping by my dorm tonight in support of Barack Obama.

Campaigns are doing all they can to get out the vote. A little while ago while I was sleeping, Obama volunteers, trailed by a BBC radio crew, came to my dorm suite and tried to get my roommate to vote for Obama. My room is like a little microcosm of political debate. I'm voting for Obama, while my other roommates are voting for Richardson, Clinton, Huckabee, with a fifth roommate still deciding between Clinton and Obama. The Huckabee supporter and I start talking about politics and the possible outcomes for the primaries until we suddenly realize that we disagree about every single possible issue. Despite the straw poll of my room, I think that the campus is overwhelming for Obama. Given that Dartmouth students make up about half the population of Hanover, it will be interesting to see how the town votes.

I decided to support Obama from his initial candidacy exploration. It's not that I do not like Hillary Clinton - she is my senator and I think she does an excellent job - but as the pundits have been suggesting, I was struck by the message of change that he brought. Like it or not, Clinton would represent a continuation of her husband's presidency. Obama, on the other hand, would represent a new era of the Democratic Party. His ability to inspire makes him the next Kennedy of this election, not unlike Bill Clinton back in 1992.


A Citizen said...

If Hillary is your senator, you should be voting in NY, not NH. This is not about student voter disenfranchisement... all states have absentee balloting systems.

If you change your state residence to NH, as living in a college dorm qualifies you to do, you then are a citizen with a right to vote here... along with all the other duties of citizenship... changing your driver's license registration, reporting dividend income to the state, etc.

Get-out-the-vote student initiatives and student voter rights are fine, but only if combined with an understanding of the duties that go with these rights.

Can anyone ethically argue for a right to vote that does not encompass meeting the responsibilities of citizenship?

David Nachman said...

In their voter registration materials for college students, New Hampshire used to warn students to change their licenses within 60 days. But now they don't. As far as I understand it, the law does not mandate that it's necessary.

College students fulfill far more of the ethical responsibilities of citizenship than many old-time New Hampshire residents - because we care about our country and are willing to do the work to make the necessary changes. We're the ones standing on the street corners and volunteering for the campaign, and all that. If I were alive then, I hope I would have volunteered for Freedom Summer. And I might not have been welcome by people like you, "a citizen", but I would have been doing the right, ethical, moral thing, and that means much more than changing my driver's license.

Anonymous said...

David: Caring about your country and volunteering on national campaigns is related to your US citizenship. What about your obligations at the state level. The ethical thing includes following the laws of the state where you reside... including following license rules, paying local taxes, etc. NH does have an income tax, on unearned income (and I would not be surprised if many Dartmouth students have received some minor amounts of mutual fund gifts from grandparents, etc.)

Even in primaries, you are not working for a national candidate, but to obtain supporters for the state's representatives at nominating conventions. We do not have a system that let's one participate in national politics separate from participating and voting on state issues (maybe we should).

Nathan Empsall said...

Two straw polls have shown Obama leading Dartmouth. BTW, I've covered the election at, the liberal blog.