Vote Your Heart and Mind in NH Primary

So, what is your plan for the New Hampshire primary this Tuesday? Are you thinking strategic or tactical? Or are the “bilities” swirling around in your head: winnability, viability, likeability or liability? Is the “Ghost of Iowa” weighing heavy on your mind or serving as a reminder why many of us say “Iowa picks corn, New Hampshire picks presidents”?

Maybe you are just uncertain, more confused today than you were on July 28, 2017. You are not alone.

On July 28, 2017, Congressman John Delaney announced he was running for president. A lot of people laughed, complained that presidential campaigns seem to be starting earlier every cycle. Yet, here we are 2½ years later, Delaney is out, and many of you are still undecided.

A recent University of New Hampshire poll found nearly half of the electorate is undecided. Half, with only two days before the primary. This same poll found only 31% of likely voters were firmly committed to a candidate and 20% of were open to switching.

Delaney visited the state more than 100 times. Sens. Warren and Sanders serve neighboring states. Former Vice President Joe Biden has made numerous trips to the Granite State over the past 30 years. Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard has surfed, completed a pushup challenge, and probably had her picture taken with more Republicans than Democrats. Andrew Yang crowd-surfed at a few of his gatherings, and Sen. Amy Klobuchar received the endorsement of two major New Hampshire publications. Even I got to debate “Mayor Pete (Buttigieg)” on the radio.

So, what’s up New Hampshire? Are we overthinking this?

I have no pony in this race. I thought it made sense when both Seacoast Media Group and the Union Leader endorsed Klobuchar for the Democratic nomination. I have been impressed with Klobuchar’s campaign and her performance in some of the debates. Klobuchar has a calming mannerism and has been pretty steady throughout this pageant.

For me, Andrew Yang has not only been the most impressive candidate this cycle, but the most honest we have seen in a long time. I do not say that lightly and when I say honest, I mean Yang on all accounts appears to be a person with exceptional integrity. In our current national condition, that is extremely appealing, at least for me anyway.

Yang is sharp and well versed on the issues and connects very well for those who show up to meet him. Yang is good at linking a solution to the problem in a straightforward fashion. He doesn’t try to mince words, to give the “political” answer. Is he quirky, did he possibly stumble regarding interpersonal relationship as a corporate leader? Maybe, but overwhelmingly all indications are he has the capacity to grow, to learn from those around him. In other words, Yang is what my father would call a “straight shooter.”

Yang has demonstrated the capacity to listen to those who disagree with some of his positions. He does not come off as a politician, just a sincere person with the capacity to solve problems placed before him. It is easy to appreciate Yang’s virtues; it’s also refreshing to see such honesty enter the arena of our current political state.

Now, before people start screaming Jeff Chidester just endorsed Andrew Yang, calm down. To be clear, I disagree with some of Yang’s policies, especially regarding healthcare (Medicare for All). I am, however, intrigued by his approach to workforce modernization (what he calls human-centered capitalism) and a guaranteed basic income (similar, but not the same as Yang’s Freedom Dividend). But at least I know I could have an honest, intelligent discussion with Mr. Yang without us screaming at each other. That is pretty awesome.

So, my advice for you is simple. Ask yourself, “Who do I trust?” Throw out all of the “bilities” I used at the beginning of this piece and remember the advice from my great-grandfather, who once told my father at the end of the day the only thing we can truly call our own is our name and our vote, and we should hold dear to both. My great-grandfather said we must lead a life that brings honor to our family name and to cast your vote with integrity. It is that simple.

On Tuesday, forget the endorsements, the commercials, the slogans, and all the political mind games, and vote for the person you trust the most. Connect your heart with your brain, and vote for the person with the capacity to do the job, the ability to unite our nation, and the integrity worthy of your vote.

You will sleep better at the end of the day.

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