There were more than 700 people seated at tables laid out with breakfast settings in the old armory building attached to the hotel. “It is a courtship,” Professor Andrew Smith of the University of New Hampshire told me. Institutions — Congress, the media, the , nebulous forces beyond control — were cast as enemies, like some shadowy organization in a thriller that secretly works to control the levers of power and screw over the little guy. In Kingston, Robin Dudley stood with her husband and three of her sons as the VFW hall that hosted Ted Cruz on Veterans’ Day slowly emptied.
And then get swept up in the fever and fall in love, like everyone else. You get sucked into a vortex where everything is political and everyone is interested.He wades in and we’re shooting the breeze, and we’re talking about Notre Dame football. That’s the genuineness that you can understand.”As I attended more and more events, I saw members of the audience seeming to find that sort of genuineness with various politicians.Politically, I have real problems with him, but as just a person — a good guy. I was drawn to the people who managed to ask questions and speak directly to the candidates.My 2016 primary campaign began in Manchester on November 10, the night of the fourth Republican debate.On the five-hour drive up from New York City, I imagined main streets lined by brick buildings, campaign signs posted on front lawns, people talking politics with strangers in diners and bars — a sort of New England carnival for democracy.