There is one presidential candidate whose New Hampshire appearances we bet you didn’t get to see. Any guesses? His birthday is tomorrow, Feb. 12.
Abraham Lincoln, on the way to visit his son at Phillips Exeter Academy in 1860, gave speeches in Concord, Dover, and Manchester. Followups to his Cooper Union speech in New York, the New Hampshire speeches galvanized support, prompted N.H. delegates to vote for Lincoln at the Chicago convention, and that November “flipped” New Hampshire from Democratic to Republican.
Apparently no one told Lincoln or the nation that New Hampshire was “too white” for his anti-slavery, pro-union platform.
Today, New Hampshire voters have another chance to affect political history. On the Republican side, voters can either show the nation they are energized for Donald Trump or they can vote for Bill Weld (or write in Mitt Romney) to show their displeasure.
On the Democratic side, voters have many reasons to be motivated, chief among them the opportunity to show by turning out that elections matter here. A strong turnout is the best answer we can give to those who claim New Hampshire ought not go first.
And who knows? Perhaps 160 years after A. Lincoln, voters here may set the presidential path for another quiet and thoughtful Midwesterner, this time a woman whose name also starts with an A.