Sorry New Hampshire voters, but your political identity crisis continues.
For 100 years this state was a solid Republican state. Then in the 1990s it became a swing state, up for grabs every election by Republicans and Democrats. In the last decade the state experienced the biggest Democratic election year in nearly 150 years, which was soon followed by the biggest Republican year ever.
Yes, it is true that New Hampshire Democrats have won five out of the last six presidential election here. And, yes, Democrats have won eight out of the last nine contests for governor. And, yes, New Hampshire did seem to be one of the few places in the entire country this past week that didn't get wrapped up in the big Republican wave that gave Republicans the majority in the U.S. Senate, more seats in the U.S. House and more Republican governors in state capitals, including in neighboring Maine and Massachusetts and almost even in Vermont.
There are people who look at the election results in New Hampshire this past week and see it continuing the trend line that New Hampshire is on a path to becoming a pure Democratic state. These people might be right in 20 years, but it is too early to say for sure just yet.
The truth is the 2014 midterm elections told us basically nothing about New Hampshire's political environment. Democrats did win three out of the four major races on Tuesday, but Republicans took over the majority in the state House of Representatives and the state's Executive Council and expanded their majority in the state Senate.
And in the Congressional races, consider that for the first time since 1992 voters here elected a Democrat in one district and a Republican in the other. What message did that send?
New Hampshire political identity crisis is rooted more fundamental changes that just who wins on Election Day anyway. There are three larger dynamics going on.
First, there are the demographic changes. The population is becoming less rural and more clustered in Southern New Hampshire, where now 50 percent of the population live in just two counties. Attracted by the Live Free or Die mindset, the lifestyle and cheaper housing within commuting distance of Boston, the state saw a population surge in the last 40 years, which has only now begun to drop-off. Nearly 70 percent of state residents are from somewhere else. It is not the same state it was before.
Second, there is political realignment keeping the state a swing state. While the percentage of Democrats has gone up over the last 25 years, the real momentum is with independent, or undeclared, voters. This group now makes up 43 percent of all state voters. Because they are unaffiliated they tend to be more open minded about voting for either party and going with the national political mood. (Though in midterm elections like last week, they tend to just not vote.)
Third, there are changes inside the once dominant Republican Party in New Hampshire. As the national Republican Party moved to represent the values of the country's growing South and West, moderate "New England Republicans", like former Congressman Charlie Bass, have become fewer and far between. They have been replaced by a new faction in the local GOP coming from "liberty" or more libertarian minded Republicans.
But the biggest reason why the midterm elections didn't really tell us anything about the state politically is that the difference between who won and who lost had really nothing to do with how New Hampshire voters really think.
Every win could be explained by some structural advantage. Due to redistricting if Republicans win Republican seats and Democrats win Democratic seats we would see same Republican majorities that won on Tuesday. (Republicans did write the current redistricting law, after all.)
Democrat Maggie Hassan won a second term as governor because historically most win a second term. Republican Frank Guinta won the 1st Congressional District seat because that district does have slighty more Republican voters. Democrat Annie Kuster won her 2nd Congressional District seat because there are slightly more Democrats there.
If you want broad political conclusions about New Hampshire you might have to wait until 2016.
(James Pindell covers politics for WMUR. You can see his breaking news and analysis at WMUR.com/political scoop and on WMUR-TV)
Last Updated on Tuesday, 11 November 2014 08:29
To The Daily Sun,
Thomas Lemay tells us pagans were better than Christians, so I must ask, by what measure does he decide this? Was it the frequent custom of pagans to indulge in human sacrifice he ascribes as superior? Perhaps he resents our Constitution and laws which are based on Christian values? Slavery was abolished in the Western world due to Christians and their teachings? Was all perfect, no, but worse then pagans?
I've observed over the years that Democrats and progressive's are likely to take these kinds of potshots at Christians and have decided their resentment is due to politics rather then any moral resentments. Christians tend to be conservatives and do not vote for progressive Democrats and therein lies the rub. Evidence that we never read or hear a Democrat critical of the Jewish religion, unless it's regarding Israel (again political) and never ever do they take issue with Islam, a religion that violates every publicized progressive value. Why, because they "vote right," or actually for the left. Case closed.
Last Updated on Monday, 10 November 2014 10:31
To The Daily Sun,
Like the proverbial monsters who haunted our childhood by hiding under our beds or in our closets at night, making the nightlight a required childhood accessory, recent writers to this paper have tried through their hyperbolic rantings to scare us about Ebola. While no one is downplaying the seriousness of Ebola it really needs to be viewed rationally, based on the known medical facts.
Russ Wlies never fails to amaze me with the amount of hyperbole he can get into his letters. In his most recent letter he states, "our 'mad scientist' president actually decrees that we must bring in hordes of Ebola patients to our shores." He references Judicial Watch as the source of his information.
First we need to backtrack a bit. In September of this year the head of Medicine Sans Frontiers (MSF), spoke in front of the United Nations Security Council. Who are MSF? They have been at the forefront of all the Ebola outbreaks. They are the acknowledged experts when it comes to combating this disease. The doctors, nurses and support staff are the real heroes in this story. The Security Council from that meeting agreed to label Ebola a threat to international peace and security. The head of MSF asked for all countries to engage in the fight against Ebola. One of her requests was to send military personnel to help with the building of centers where patients can be treated and quarantined. For those who mocked president for leading from behind, I would think you would be happy that he took the initiative and lead from the front. This is exactly what President Obama did.
There was a State Department memo around that time, in which countries that agreed to send medical professionals to the affected countries wanted an assurance if their personnel became infected and the country did not have the resources to medivac and or treat their people other countries would help out. The memo stated that we would help out if needed. No, it did not state that they thought that hordes of infected Ebola patients would be coming to our shores. Germany, and Norway did also agree to take in affected medical personnel if needed.
Recent letters have continued to fan the flames of fear when it comes to Ebola, usually with the intent of attacking our president. Charlie Gallagher a few weeks back, wanted the president to assure us that Ebola could not be transmitted through the respiratory track. If Charlie would listen to the experts in the field he would know that it cannot be transmitted this way. Turn off Fox News, Charlie and listen to the experts. Donald Trump, Ann Coulter and Michael Savage hardly qualify.
Tony Boutin in his most recent letter talks about a pandemic coming to our shores, and the cost involved with treating Ebola. First no scientific model predicts anything near a pandemic coming to our shores. Secondly , the experts form MSF have been able to reduce the mortality in infected patients in hospital to below 30 percent with just Tylenol, antibiotics, clean water, food and vitamins. Very simple treatments. Secondly, if you have insurance, and are sick, the insurance companies have to cover proven therapies for a medical condition. And with Obamacare more people have insurance today than in recent years. Recent reports out of Liberia show a decrease in new cases, by the way.
In Dallas recently all patients in contact with Thomas Duncan have — 177 of them — have been cleared. If this was airborne don't you think many patients in close contact would be infected? The nurse in Maine has been cleared, and at this time no other Ebola cases have been diagnosed in New York. Contrast this to the speed that the flu and measles spread in communities, both of these of course being spread through the respiratory system. Any way you measure it the flu kills thousands if not tens of thousands more people each year than Ebola. Maybe we should quarantine for 21 days anyone who does not get the flu vaccine, when the flu is documented in an area. This may save more people than all the deaths from Ebola this year.
I would encourage these three writers, to put on their big boy pants, turn off their nightlights and let the adults in the room take care of the Ebola monster.
Mirno Pasquali, PA C
Last Updated on Monday, 10 November 2014 10:28
To The Daily Sun,
In the year 2012 the state Legislature passed legislation allowing veterans to have their status indicated on their drivers license, thus providing us with a photo I.D. proving our service to our country. A veteran's photo I.D. is something that major stores always require before they will provide a veterans' discount.
Unfortunately Home Depot and Lowe's will not accept the new license with honorable veterans status noted on the card for an everyday veteran's discount at their stores. They only accept active, retired, reserve IDs and cards issued to veterans who have filed a medical claim against the V.A.
So what about all the other veterans who served but do not meet the stores' criteria? The answer is, sorry no discount without the required documentation! Our New Hampshire drivers license is not acceptable.
We and the state of New Hampshire should boycott both of these stores until they change their discriminatory policy.
What do you think?
Last Updated on Monday, 10 November 2014 10:24
To The Daily Sun,
We knew her as Aunt Abbie.
Growing up on Dewey Street in the 1940s, the Jewett Homestead was part of our neighborhood and the home was always open and welcoming to children. Perhaps Aunt Abbie's training as an art teacher led to that. We were treated to "tea" and allowed to play (inspect) antique dolls with fragile clothing and porcelain faces and received personal attention as visitors.
Mr. Austin, Abbie's husband , occupied an office off the main entry kitchen where he kept a large desk and a very visible "spitoon" which was well used. He also ran a storage business in the large attached barn. We were allowed to play there. The stalls were being used for storage but there were still buggies and remnants of what had once been a stable. My brothers and I were allowed to climb ladders in the three story barn and even climbed to the cupola at the very top for a marvelous view of the area where we lived.
The house occupied a corner lot partly fronting on Dewey Street where a back lawn led to a magnificent garden tended by Mr. Austin in his straw hat. He always made me think of Mr. McGregor of "Peter Rabbit" fame. The garden would today be the envy of any gardener, filled with as many flowers as produce.
Sadly the property was divided, and an apartment building allowed to occupy the space which was adjacent to the home. Later the barn was removed but thankfully has been restored and kept. I have always imagined what the property must have been like at the turn of the 19th century with land leading down to the Jewett Brook and in another direction to encompass all the land which is now occupied by the Laconia High School.
Is it any wonder that I found your article by Mike Mortensen (Nov. 8) regarding the current restoration of the home so nostalgic? I recognize the room where Josh Youssef is standing. He and his family are to be commended for recognizing the historical significance of this property and I hope the city does as well. With the recent loss of a property we all admired it is a pleasure to read something so positive. I thank Mr. Youssef for his time and investment and I hope to drive by the house for a few more years with renewed enjoyment of its current ownership.
Carolyn Sanborn (nee Clark)
Last Updated on Monday, 10 November 2014 10:21