MANCHESTER, NEW HAMPSHIRE--New Hampshire! Land of granite, and heroin, and many white people unironically enjoying Republican political events.
Upon arriving in downtown Manchester last night, I stumbled directly into a debate watching party hosted by National Review, held in a vast and undecorated conference room at the main hotel. There was something satisfying about knowing I was, at least for a moment, in the least cool place in the United States. Inside the hotel’s conference space every news organization has a loud presence, like a mini-convention. MSNBC and Bloomberg have elaborate state sets; the AP and CBS had desks for dozens of reporters, which, to be honest, seems a little overboard, okay?
I’m traveling here with a friend who is traveling with a bunch of his friends, all of whom were massed in the back of the National Review party, scoffing. One friend, who is large and very liberal and very voluble, kept bellowing out angry phrases during the debate at top volume.
“YEAH, CARPET BOMB EM!” he screamed in response to a Ted Cruz line.
“YEAH, WE CAN DO WHATEVER WE WANT!” People sitting in the back rows were actively moving away from him at that point.
John Kasich told viewers to hang onto their seatbelts when he’s elected president.
“SEATBELTS!!!” yelled our friend. Eventually we had our own space back there.
The room was full of whites. Young whites, old whites, angry whites, whites with elaborate old-timey facial hair. Who are these whites, and what exactly do they want? That is the question that every political expert is searching for, here in New Hampshire.
Later, at a gas station, we saw an Airstream trailer that was entirely fitted out with John Kasich signs. John Kasich, surprisingly, was not living inside of it.
I can also report that all of the political ads that you hear about in the abstract but never see on TV are, in fact, on TV here in New Hampshire, and it is an effective way of dissuading Americans not to watch so much TV.
I am typing this in an Econo Lodge with weak wi-fi, drinking horrible hotel coffee, and today we will try to go to a Donald Trump rally. This is an extremely accurate picture of the thrilling life of a professional campaign trail reporter.