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When I opened The Crimson upon returning from New Hampshire the morning after the Republican primary, I couldn't help but wonder what happened to nearly one-third of the voters. I agree that the "NH Voters Turn[ed] Out in Droves to Cast Ballots" (Feb. 21, 1996), but contrary to Don Frary's prediction that "the only ones who won't vote are the Democrats," the Democratic voters of New Hampshire turned out in great numbers to enthusiastically endorse President Clinton. Receiving over 95 percent of the unofficial vote count, President Clinton topped the New Hampshire primary showings of all unopposed incumbent presidents by much more than anyone expected. Even Ronald Reagan, who went on to win 49 states in the 1984 general election, received only 84 percent of the primary vote in New Hampshire.
By receiving 20,000 more votes than any Republican candidate, President Clinton's primary victory demonstrated the solidarity and strength of the Democratic Party and the people's belief that we must come together to confront America's challenges. Although Clinton faced no major opposition from within his own party, President Clinton and the Democrats did face an opponent in Tuesday's election, but we conquered it. In a campaign speech last weekend, the president said, "You say, you don't have an opponent, Mr. President. Oh, yes, I do, and so do you. Our opponent is cynicism. It is negativism. It is apathy. It is division. It is the short-term gain instead of the long-term interest of the country. These are our opponents. Remember, when we are united we never lose; when we're divided, we defeat ourselves." On the day of the primary, the Democrats of New Hampshire and everyone involved with Clinton-Gore '96 helped Bill Clinton confront this opponent, and we triumphed.
While the Republican candidates spent the last months fighting amongst one another--promoting cynicism, negativism, apathy and division--the Clinton-Gore campaign focused its eyes on bringing the country together to confront the challenges of tomorrow. Organizing the largest field operation in the history of the New Hampshire primary, the Clinton-Gore campaign concentrated on grassroots instead of paid media, the positive instead of the negative and the challenges of tomorrow instead of the failures of yesterday. On the cold weekends and late nights when the Republican headquarters were closed, the Democratic volunteers and staffers worked energetically to reach the people.
Over the last month, members of the Harvard-Radcliffe College Democrats and hundreds of volunteers from colleges throughout the country converged upon New Hampshire to engage in a war against negativism, apathy and division. We distributed literature in rain and snow, marched through the streets chanting "Four More to Clinton-Gore" in 10-degree weather, called all Democratic voters about five times on election day and attended President Clinton rallies, which were attended by more people than all Republican campaign events combined. The other volunteers and I worked hard, but we didn't do it just for Bill Clinton. We did it because we are sick of negativism and division; we did it because we believe in the future and have faith that, together, we can confront any challenge. On Tuesday, the people of New Hampshire joined us in our work. They enthusiastically voiced their belief that, together, we can make the future better than the past.
At the Democratic victory party on Tuesday night, President Clinton told us in a telephone call, "I'm more grateful tonight than I've ever been. I'm more determined than I've ever been to keep this country on a positive course." After the New Hampshire primary, I, too, am more grateful than I have ever been; I am grateful that President Clinton is committed to my generation's future, and I am grateful that the American people have the courage to say no to cynicism, negativism, division and apathy, and say yes to tomorrow. --J. Caroline Self'99
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