Sunday, January 06, 2008

Behind the curtain in New Hampshire

New Hampshire is different from Iowa. Clue. The biggest difference may be that the election is a vote and not a caucus. A vote is a private matter, pull the lever and you're on your own. A caucus is an event with friends, neighbors, fellow church members, and maybe even your banker or boss.

An individual can have biases related to gender, race, or religion that would not necessarily be expressed in a caucus setting. Could a person be pro or anti Iraq war and live in a circle of friends where their real thoughts are out of step? If taken to an Iowa caucus by a neighbor who sends her teenager over to babysit the kids, then goes early for the free pizza, does the beneficiary then have a tendency to go with her neighbor's flow. In the same circumstance in New Hampshire, well, it's live free or die behind that curtain.

What impact will this have? It's, by definition, impossible to know. One could speculate that the possible beneficiaries would be the two candidates viewed by many as having the most unattractive and polarizing personalities, Clinton and Romney, or is that too counterintuitive. Behind that curtain, no one gets to know.

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