Democrats say unity in 2020 is critical to oust Trump: ‘We’re in a battle for the soul of this nation’

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Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig, left, flanked by fellow Democratic mayors from around the state, welcomes attendees to the NH Democratic Convention. Photo/Stacy Harrison

MANCHESTER, NH — A rally cry from the stage by U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen for unity drew conventioneers into the epicenter of the NH Democratic Convention from the SNHU Arena’s promenade. Those watching the clock knew her comments were the prelude to the first candidate of the day, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, who was about to address NH’s party delegates as well as those who came for a glimpse of their favorite of the 19 candidates scheduled to speak.

“Listen to all the candidates, listen to their plans, pick your favorite then get to work,” Shaheen said. “Remember no matter who you support in the primary when the nominee is chosen we have all got to come back together and support that nominee.”  

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Photo/Stacy Harrison

There were 9,000 tickets sold, according to organizers, and the size of the crowd inside the arena fluctuated wildly during the event, as conventioneers took advantage of strolling the promenade to purchase T-shirts and other swag or learn more about various candidates as things got rolling.

About midway through the event the arena was well filled, the crowd crescendoing by the time Elizabeth Warren spoke, which was early afternoon. Although the candidates took the stage in alphabetical order, for the most part, Mayor Pete’s faithful evacuated around 2 p.m. to join their candidate for a picnic in the park, and after Warren, the arena crowd shrunk considerably. Yet, there were still seven candidates left to speak whose names ranged from Bennet to Yang (with Steve Bulock, Bill de Blasio, Tulsi Gabbard, Joe Sestak and Marianne Williamson in between).

And it’s unfortunate that the crowd sharply declined after Warren, in that Andrew Yang, the final speaker of the convention, was perhaps the most interesting of the bunch. His delivery was more like a TED Talk than a political pageant, and he was able to describe in 10 minutes his one and only plan for correcting the economy and stabilizing the lives of American citizens who face a future of employment insecurity due to automatons: The “tech check” (scroll way down to learn more.) He says it’s the solution to just about everything.

After eight hours of speeches to a sold-out event, the last of the attendees filtered out of the arena. Among them, first-term state representative Donna Mombourquette of New Boston, who said it is going to be tough picking the candidate to be the Democratic Party’s nominee for President because they are all so impressive.

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NH State Rep. Donna Mombourquette of New Boston left with two favorites, Warren and Buttigieg. Photo/Pat Grossmith

“We have a deep bench of candidates,” she said after sticking around to hear from all 19 candidates who spoke Saturday. “It’s going to be a tough decision.”

The two candidates who impressed her most were U.S. Senator  Elizabeth Warren and Mayor Pete Buttigieg of West Bend, Ind.

Warren by far had the greatest reception from the crowd with the longest standing ovation.  When her speech was done, the vast majority of the crowd left the area.

“Somebody told me she had 2,000 people here,” Mombourquette said.  “She’s a very well organized and financed campaign and it’s funded by the people. She’s very impressive. She has plans and they make fun of that but they’re very thought out.”

Mombourquette said Buttigieg received a rousing reception.  “He’s very, very impressive.”

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Sean Lewis of the Salem Democratic Town Committee. Photo/Pat Grossmith

Sean Lewis of the Salem Democratic Town Committee said the convention was a “phenomenal experience  It’s not a bad way to spend a Saturday because at the end of the day I believe one of the people who spoke  is going to be the President of the United States of America.”

He, too, was impressed with Warren.  “She definitely had a really great staging,” he said.

Warren’s message, he said, from the very beginning has been inspirational.

He said It’s one thing to point out our system is broken and corrupt and another to break it down and come up with a solution like Warren has done, he said 

Below, excerpts and highlights from each of the candidate’s remarks in alphabetical order. You can also review the entire convention via Manchester Public TV, which filmed the event and will begin broadcasting the week of Sept. 9 at 7 p.m. on public access Channel 16.

Sen. Michael Bennet: Build the party base for the future of the country

Sen. Michael Bennet at the microphone. Photo/Allegra Boverman

Sen. Michael Bennet spoke about the importance of building the Democratic party base for the future.

“We face a choice between galvanizing Twitter in the short-term or serving our real base,” Bennet said, citing the working-class Americans who are teachers, nurses, students, and fire fighters. “We need to do more than beat Donald Trump.”

The Senator from Colorado said he is running because it’s the best way for Democrats to take hold of the future, and by coming together as “a new American majority to overpower the greedy politics of obstruction,” he said. “Everyone knows America can’t afford 10 years of do-nothingism.”  

Bennet is running on a platform of a 21st-century economy that works for everyone, which pulls back Trump’s tax cuts for the rich, and an education agenda that focuses on what counts. “Take it from someone who was a superintendent,” Bennet said, who favors free preschool for all children and a high school program that prepares all students, including those who aren’t heading to college, the ability to earn a living wage.

“That would transform the lives of millions of Americans, Bennet said.

He said there are no short cuts to the White House. Democrats must build a broad coalition of Americans to secure the future and “save our democracy.” To that end, New Hampshire has a special role to play, and that’s why I’m asking for your support,” he said, referring to its the first-in-the-nation vetting system.

“We can demand a new American Dream that’s worthy of our children. Everything is in our hands.”

— By Carol Robidoux

Vice President Joe Biden: ‘Time to take back our country’

Former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden addresses his fellow Democrats at the Sept. 7 state convention in Manchester. Photo/Stacy Harrison

Former vice president Joe Biden took the stage to loud applause as the first presidential candidate to address the crowd and he told them the greatest crisis facing the country is climate change.  He plans to call for $400 billion in funding for alternative energies and will bring emissions down to net-zero by 2050.

He followed through with what has become the theme of the convention, beat Donald Trump.

“We know this president isn’t up to the moment,” he said.    He said Trump lacks moral judgment. “He has more in common with George Wallace than George Washington,” Biden said.

He said Wall Street didn’t build this country.  “You built this country. The middle class built this country and unions built the middle class,” he said.  Why he asked, is the middle class paying the highest tax rate over someone earning tens of millions? 

“It’s wrong,” he said.

Biden said now is the time to take back our country.  “We choose hope over fear.  We choose truth over lies,” he said.

— by Pat Grossmith

Sen. Cory Booker: ‘We will rise’ 

Supporters cheer for Cory Booker. Photo/Stacy Harrison

The New Jersey Senator opened with a personal anecdote about how his parents struggled against racial discrimination 50 years ago as they tried in vain to buy a home in the Jersey suburbs.

In the end, with the help of a white couple who put in a bid on a home that his parents were told was already sold,  they were able to buy the house, rising up against racism and buoyed by the community.

“But what my parents really encountered, though, wasn’t just hate and bigotry, they encountered love. People that understood that patriotism is love of country, but you can’t love your country. Unless you love your fellow countrymen and women.”

Booker said this election will “define the soul of our nation,” calling it a “moral moment in America.” He urged democrats not to turn against other democrats, but rather to turn to each other.  When he said it will take more than electing someone based on their ability to beat President Trump, the room erupted in cheers that drowned out his words.

“We gotta beat Donald Trump, but beating Donald Trump is the floor it is not the ceiling,” Booker said, the volume of cheers cranking up a notch. “Beating Donald Trump gets us out of the valley, but it does not get us to the mountaintop. I want to go to the mountain top. We are in a moral moment, and we cannot let someone who preaches hate twist our soul.”

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Cory Booker prepares to field questions from the press following his remarks. Photo/Pat Grossmith

He said if elected he will require more of Americans than any previous president.

“A lot of candidates will say what they do for you by putting out a plan,” Booker said, saying the next president must lead with heart.

“If I’m your nominee I will ask more from you than any candidate in our lifetime. I will ask you to work more and volunteer more and engage more, ” Booker said, paraphrasing the words of Dr. Martin Luther King who said it’s not just the vitriolic words of bad people that hurts us, but the silence and inaction of good people.

Booker ended by leading the crowd in a chant of “We will rise, we will rise,  we will rise, America –  we will rise.”

— by Carol Robidoux

At a media briefing after Booker’s speech, he was asked about his low polling in New Hampshire.  He said he was glad he was polling at that level, explaining that Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, at this point in their campaigns, were behind in the polls and Obama was behind in the African-American vote.

He said what the Democrats have to do is get behind whoever is the nominee and not take cheap shots, which he said happened in the 2016 campaign.

As for Trump, he said this is “a president taking us to very dark places.”   What is needed, he said, is a president who can unite the country.  He believes he is the one who can do that.”

— by Pat Grossmith

Gov. Steve Bullock: ‘A progressive who gets things done’

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock touted his ability to win in a red state as a reason to vote for him, during the 2019 NH Democratic Convention. Photo/Stacy Harrison

Two-term governor and former Attorney General of Montana Steve Bullock highlighted his ability to win in Trump country, a selling point for the candidate whose tagline is “A progressive who gets stuff done.”

He said this election is not about rejecting Trump but more about “embracing the decency of a government that can work for the people it represents.”

And while he cautioned the crowd to be skeptical of politicians who make promises, “Here’s one you can take the bank. If I’m your nominee I’ll carry Vermont, Massachusetts, California and New York,” adding that he was the “best candidate to carry the party’s message to voters and get the required electoral college votes to win the White House” in a country where middle Americans are otherwise doomed to be “wedded to a New York con man.”

He said he believes the American Dream isn’t dead, and that it can be restored by Democrats “who win when we offer something better, when we show up, listen and focus on challenges that face us.”

Bullock as president would “clean up the cesspool of money and influence in Washington. 

“I’m a pro-choice, pro-union populace Democrat who won by getting stuff done,” Bullock said.

– By Carol Robidoux

Mayor Pete Buttigieg: Offering a ‘clear choice and message’

“Mayor Pete” Buttigieg takes the stage. Photo/Stacy Harrison

The “Mayor Pete” contingency with yellow-and-blue signs sent a piercing cheer into the air from the back of the arena as their candidate took the stage. Pete Buttigieg got right into it.

“I’m running because I think America may be running out of time. So much depends on us for a new generation  — not just mine but the one younger still,  not yet old enough to vote.” He recalled the tears of a 13-year-old at a town hall who asked him if he would keep his school safe, and a 12-year-old with diabetes who was concerned about her healthcare, “not because she’s a policy buff, but because she has Type 2 diabetes, and is worried about what will happen if her parents lose health coverage.”

Buttigieg imagined a future America with more guns on the streets, devastation from climate change unchecked and a woman’s right to choose, gone.

Photo/Stacy Harrison

The way to rewrite that script is to act now, Buttigieg said.

“None of us can afford to ignore the problems we tolerated for so long, this is a crisis that’s destabilized our country,” Buttigieg said.

Under Trump, Buttigieg said the country has been taken by a political storm that has been brewing for a long time.

“I felt it where I grew up in the Rust Belt, and I know how politics affects everyday life,” including his own, recalling being dispatched to fight a war in Afghanistan, or steering around discrimination and stigma as he sought to marry his husband in a country that passed marriage equality by “the grace of one vote” in Congress.

Buttigieg said he offers democratic voters a “clear choice and message,” and is laser-focused on improving everyday lives of Americans “in the name of shared values, and the kind of boldness that brings us together,” Buttigieg said. “That is the way forward.”

— by Carol Robidoux

Secretary Julian Castro: Reform country’s immigration system

Julian Castro makes his pitch to the NH Democrats during the Sept. 7 party convention in Manchester. Photo/Stacy Harrison

Julian Castro’s story is “an immigrant American Dream story, ” of a boy who grew up as a twin son of a single-parent mother. His grandmother came to the United States from Mexico as a young girl with her sister, after their parents died. 

Castro was able to fulfill the dream of the great-grandparents he never knew, an heir to his family’s quest for a better life.

His mission, as president, would be to make America the greatest nation in the world for all, restoring what has been lost under President Trump, said Castro, who believes Trump has damaged our reputation — and relationship — with the world.

“The important part of all of this is what’s (a post-Trump world) going to look like,” Castro said. 

He said he believes if America is to be the smartest, healthiest, fairest and most prosperous country again, it will require specific initiatives including universal pre-Kindergarten, better pay and support for public school teachers, and higher education that’s tuition-free, Castro said.

We must lead on climate change by rejoining the Paris Climate Accord and then grow American jobs for a clean energy economy, he said.

“And make sure that the prosperity ahead for the United States means prosperity for everyone,” Castro said, achievable by raising the minimum wage, creating affordable housing and reforming the country’s immigration system.

“We need to treat people with common sense, which means no more children in cages and no more families separated,” Castro said.

He played off New Hampshire’s state motto in closing.

“I want to help us live free from Donald Trump starting January 2020. If we’re going to do that we can’t do the same old thing. We can’t play it safe,” he said. Then he projected the feeling of being the Democratic President-elect and having the honor of escorting President Trump from the White House in 2020.

“I imagine the Trumps departing for Mar-A-Lago or New York — or somewhere — and right before he goes, we’ll tell him ‘adios!’

— by Carol Robidoux

Mayor Bill de Blasio: Put people before profit

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio apologized to his fellow Democrats for exporting Donald Trump. Photo/Stacy Harrison

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said his main objective in running for president is to put working people first.

“I know I can because I’ve seen great, great changes where I live in New York,” including free pre-K for every student, a $15 minimum wage and NYC Care, a plan for universal healthcare for anyone who doesn’t have access to insurance.

He is running on his record and his accomplishments as mayor. “We have to show that we can make people’s lives better,” he said.

Photo/Stacy Harrison

Democrats are determined to put money back in the pockets of the people, which is a hard-sell to Americans who believe their government “is on the side of Wall Street and the 1 percent.”

He appealed to voters to recognize that leadership requires a keen eye on the future, and holding accountable corporations that put profit before people.

“Brothers and sisters there are tens of millions of American workers who might lose their jobs in the next decade or two. This has to be about fighting for working people, not big corporations, calling for every company that puts a person out of work pay a “robot tax.”

“We should stop the tax breaks for companies that buy machines and put working people out of work,” he said.

Toward the end of his remarks he apologized for exporting fellow New Yorker Donald Trump, but asked for the party’s nod to make things right.

“I predict New Hampshire will lead the way in sending a Democrat to the White House, and send Sununu packing,” de Blasio said.

– By Carol Robidoux

Congressman John Delaney: So no to protectionism and isolationism

Congressman John Delaney’s message focused on the need for leadership that recognizes America’s place in the world. Photo/Stacy Harrison

There are defining issues of our time, critical issues that threaten the symbiotic relationship between the U.S. and the world; humans and our planet. John Delaney says we need a leader who comprehends what’s at stake.

“The next President of the United States must understand how connected everything is,” Delaney said, like dominoes falling. The significance of the Amazon forest burning, for instance.

“Why is that happening? Because farmers in Brazil burn trees to clear fields to grow soybeans, why? The largest supplier of soybeans, China, is no longer buying from the U.S. so Trump’s stupid trade war which is destroying farmers around the country is also affecting our ability to deal with global warming; it’s interconnected,” Delaney said. 

Delaney pointed to the “protectionism and isolationism” of Trump’s administration for the rise of Brexit, which he says will hurt the British and destabilize the European Union, to the delight of “Trump and Putin.”

“We watch our President engage in war against immigrant children, separated from their families in an immoral act,” Delaney said. “We’re better than that, all of us are better than that.”

As he rattled off a host of policy issues that are “defining issues in need of new leadership to deal with them,” Delaney spoke of the importance of bringing independent voters into the Democratic fold in order to send an overwhelming message for change on Election Day.

He touted his own unique experience among candidates in both the private and political sectors to get things done and to defeat Donald Trump “by any measure.”

“Trump is a symptom of a disease and we have to cure the disease, it’s divisiveness,” Delaney said. “This is our mission together, not just Democrats but as citizens of this country, to find the America that is lost to corruption, inaction, to a sentiment that your enemy is your fellow American. We have to return to the roots this great country and the tree of liberty grew from  in the sunlight of a cause worth fighting for.”

— By Carol Robidoux

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard: Heed the cost of war and build a green economy

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard focused on the costs of war during her time at the podium. Photo/Stacy Harrison

The Congresswoman from Hawaii began with a reference to President Abraham Lincon’s in Gettysburg Address, which laid out a powerful vision of a nation “conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all are created equal.”

“He reminded us those who sacrificed all are best honored by ensuring our nation has a new birth of freedom, with a government of, by, and for the people,” Gabbard said. “Wise words spoken by a wise man,” she said. But we are not the country he envisioned. “Instead, we are a country of, by, and for the rich and powerful.”

Gabbard, a two-tour combat veteran who has served 16 years in the National Guard, reflected on the cost of war, which “ruined many lives and has torn families apart.” She said that is is the central issue to all domestic challenges for which “every American pays the price, whether you realize it or not. She remembered her “4,419 brothers and sisters who never came home from Iraq,” the 2,524 service members killed in Afghanistan, and the countless others who came home with combat injuries, and wounds that are both visible and invisible.

Gabbard said she would take to heart the responsibilities of Commander in Chief, but would not be a warmonger, and serve as president with a full understanding of the importance of national security weighed against the cost of war. She would do what is necessary to protect citizens’ constitutional right to privacy and freedom of speech.

She cited the $6 trillion spent on “wasteful wars” since 9/11, “that’s dollars coming out of our schools, our healthcare system, and out of serving the needs of our people,” Gabbard said.

“You deserve a president that will put your interest ahead of the rich and powerful and the very few holding onto power with all they have,” Gabbard said. As president, she would crack down on pharmaceutical and insurance companies that put profits ahead of Americans.

“I will hold Pharma accountable for the opioid crisis and make sure the necessary resources are there for those who fall victim to this epidemic,” she said.

Her administration would usher in a “green century,” ending taxpayer subsidies for fossil fuels and build on a “great a green economy” with good jobs making sure every American has access to clean air and water.

– by Carol Robidoux

Sen. Kamala Harris: Fight for the best of who we are

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Sen. Kamala Harris enjoys 10 minutes in the spotlight at the NH Democratic Convention. Photo/Stacy Harrison

U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris of California told the crowd this was a moment in time requiring everyone to look in the mirror and ask who we are.

The answer to that question is we are better than this,” she said to loud applause. “This is a moment in time that requires us to fight for the best of who we are.”  As Democrats, she said, we will.

She said the best of what we have in America has come out of a good fight.  “We are up for a good fight,” she said.

Harris said she was raised by a mother who could be tough.  If she came home complaining, her mother would ask, “What are you going to do about it?” So I decided to run for president,” she quipped.

She said Trump wants to take the country back to before the Civil Rights Act, before the Voting Rights Act, the American Disability Act, and Roe v Wade, among others.  

“We are not going back,” she said, again, to applause.


Harris said she serves on the senate’s Homeland Security and Government Affairs committee.

“This guy is one tweet away from war,” she said.

Harris said the true sign of strength is not based on who “you can beat down but who you lift up,” evoking chants of USA from her supporters.

She also touched on gun safety legislation which she said is needed to “protect our babies” in elementary and high schools.  

“We will protect you with background checks and the renewal of the assault weapons ban.  That’s what leaders do,” she said.

 She said the election is not only a fight for our country but for love of country and this is the fight as Democrats we will win.

— Pat Grossmith

Sen. Amy Klobuchar: Address climate crisis now

Sen. Amy Klobuchar at the podium during the 2019 NH Democratic Convention. Photo/Stacy Harrison

Sen. Amy Klobuchar made sure NH voters understood she comes from a place where there is a similarly powerful faction of independent voters who make things happen, and she did so in three words: Governor Jesse Ventura.

As Delaney did before her, Minnesota Senator Klobuchar also pressed her fellow Democrats to consider the importance of wooing independent voters — and also moderate Republicans — to the Democratic side for the 2020 Election.

“We don’t just want to win, we want to win big,” Klobuchar said.

It’s equally important to send Democrats to the U.S. Senate if they want to adjust policies on climate change, healthcare and gun safety. She criticized Trump’s efforts to divide the country.


“We need a candidate for president who understands that what unites us as a country is greater then what divides us. New Hampshire Democrats, I don’t want to be president for half of America I want to be president for all of America,” Klobuchar said.

Americans shouldn’t be picking up the crumbs of the wealthy, she said.

“If millionaires can refinance yachts, students should be able to refinance student loans,” she said.

She outlined her first seven days in office. The first six would focus on reversing Trump’s policies on the climate, calling it a national crisis.

“And on Day 7 you’re supposed to rest, but I don’t think I will,” Klobuchar said.

— By Carol Robidoux

Congressman Beto O’Rourke: Change the national narrative on bigotry and racism

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Beto O’Rourke thanked New Hampshire for caring about El Paso, and other victims of mass shootings in Texas. Photo/Stacy Harrison

Beto O’Rourke used the first two minutes of his 10 minutes on stage to thank New Hampshire for its kindness. He gently thanked Granite Staters for the prayers and concern transmitted across the country to residents of his hometown of  El Paso, and the towns of Odessa and Midland, Texas, three communities shattered by mass shootings over this summer.

It has been an experience that has sharpened O’Rourke’s focus as a candidate. He is on fire, railing against Trump for the bigotry, racism and violence he believes the president stokes.


He fired off gun violence statistics, talked about the uncomfortable origins of slavery in the United States — a reality we must repair to heal the roots of our racism and inequality, O’Rourke said. He pointed a finger at Trump for encouraging it. And he drew a direct line from all of that to the shooter who took out 22 people and wounded dozens more at the El Paso Walmart on Aug. 3.

As president, O’Rourke says he would buy back all military caliber rifles from the public, which he called “efficient killing machines,” to get them off the streets. Coming from El Paso, a city on the edge of Mexico with a name derived from a Spanish phrase that translates to “passage to the north;” O’Rourke vowed to protect the “Dreamers,” the immigrants and refugees and “kidnapped Africans” that built America, who’ve been marginalized and dehumanized by the current administration.

By Carol Robidoux

Congressman Tim Ryan: We need a national Chief Manufacturing Officer

Tim Ryan says he’ll fight for a liveable wage for all, $15 minimum wage and more. Photo/Stacy Harrison

Tim Ryan wants to lead a country that builds things, that considers its food supply a sacred source of medicine, and which values public education enough to realize it must serve all students, without leaving them empty-handed.

One of my first acts as president will be to appoint a Chief Manufacturing Officer, so that we can dominate the industries of the future,” Ryan said.

He also supports social-emotional learning programs in every school in the U.S. “where we recognize that we need trauma-informed curriculum and need to take care of our kids,” Ryan said, adding that it’s time to rebuild vocational education in America.

Ryan also focused on the country’s healthcare system, which he says is a “disease-care system,” that lines the pockets of the pharmaceutical companies and insurance providers.

“We need to move to a healthcare system based on prevention by reversing chronic disease which accounts for three-fourths of all healthcare costs in the U.S.,” Ryan said. Instead, as a country, we need to focus on prevention, particularly food as medicine.”

Ryan supports a $15-hour minimum wage, but also says Democrats need to be the party of the $30-, $40- and $50-per-hour jobs to rebuild America’s middle class.

It’s time to rebuild the country’s forgotten communities, improve the education system, recreate a future economy that provides a living wage for all, and come together to make it happen, he said.

— Carol Robidoux

Sen. Bernie Sanders: Power to the People

Sen. Bernie Sanders said he would like to be the nominee, but no matter who goes forward against President Trump, they must energize the country. Photo/Stacy Harrison

Bernie Sanders has been here and done this in New Hampshire. It’s his second time around in seeking the Democratic nomination for president, and the strong base of supporters he gathered here in 2016 were out in force on Saturday. They still love him here and the reception was strong — second only to the thunderous cheers for Elizabeth Warren, who followed him a few candidates later.

Sanders began by thanking all of those who have worked to turn New Hampshire “a darker shade of blue,”  and said no matter who wins the party’s nomination, this election will be monumental to the future of the country, and vowed that Trump would be a “one-term president.”

Sanders said beating Trump was not the only objective if the country is going to change course. Democrats must pull together to get a government and economy in place that “works for all of us and not just the 1 percent.”

Whoever seeks the presidency against Trump must mount a campaign “of energy and excitement that brings young people and working people into the process in a way we’ver never seen,” Sanders said.

From there Sanders took a familiar turn toward the policies and platform he has been standing on firmly and consistently for his entire political career, most of which he’s spent on the far left of Democratic center, best summarized by the music played as he took the stage, “Power to the People,” by John Lennon.

“This is an unprecedented time in history which requires an unprecedented response,” Sanders said. “Trump tried to break us up, but we’re bringing the nation together. This country belongs to all of us, not just the wealthy.”

— by Carol Robidoux

Admiral Joe Sestak: National security begins with health security

Joe Sestak addresses the NH Democratic Conventioneers. Photo/Allegra Boverman

A three-star Admiral who served 31 years in the Navy, Joe Sestak of Pennsylvania took some time to explain his urge to enter politics. He left the Navy to be with his daughter who, at 4, was diagnosed with a brain tumor.

The care she received from her father’s military benefits made Sestak realize that not all Americans in similar circumstances can rely on having the best care. He was inspired to run for office and his slogan, “National security begins at home, in health security,” won him the favor of voters in a Republican district.

Sestak said Trump is not the problem, but rather a symptom of a greater problem, which is the country’s unsettled soul, and he believes he has the experience and discipline to be the country’s next leader.

“We must heal our country’s soul with someone who our country can trust,” someone who will be accountable to the American people, who is capable of putting citizens above party and self, Sestak said.

Cutting his comments short before his allotted 10 minutes on stage expired, Sestak said he always likes to recall the wise words of his friend, Sen. John McCain, who once remarked to him after seeing him on TV, “You’re still too long. Keep it short.”

And with that, the Admiral raised his left hand and, rock’n’roll fingers extended, shouted, “To a united America.”

– By Carol Robidoux

Tom Steyer: ‘I can expose Mr. Trump for the failure and fraud that he is’

Tom Steyer says people may know him as a billionaire, but his humble roots and political fortitude make him a worthy nominee. Photo/Stacy Harrison

California billionaire Tom Steyer, founder of NextGen America and Need to Impeach, said that every Democrat in the arena was “more decent and more patriotic than the criminal who resides in the White House of the United States.”

He joked that he often thought his first name was billionaire, based on the reporting of his campaign — the most known fact about him is his wealth. But, he said, his mother was a school teacher and his father served in the Navy during World War II and, after, he prosecuted Nazis at Nuremberg. That comment brought him loud applause.

Steyer launched a campaign to impeach Trump and said that finally next Wednesday the House Judiciary Committee “is taking up an impeachment inquiry of this president.”

Steyer said Trump was elected because he tapped into legitimate anger in America that corporations have taken over the country.

He said there was a hostile corporate takeover of our democracy and that he is determined to break that corporate stranglehold.  If we do that, he said, “we’ll get healthcare, education and a living wage restored with clean air and water as a right for every American.”

Steyer said Democrats need to defeat Trump on the issue which he is supposed to be strongest on – the economy.

“I can expose Mr. Trump as the failure and fraud he is.  His tax plan was a giveaway to corporations,” he said.   

“I would love to go toe-to-toe with him,” he said.  “I can take him down and win.”

He believes his campaign is either in fourth or fifth place because his message is resonating with people.

“I’m not new to New Hampshire,” he said.  “In 2018 we were on the ground making sure with the people in this room that Maggie Hassan won.”

 Steyer said NextGen America will be here in New Hampshire in 2020.

 “Mr. Sununu, we are coming for you,”  he said.

— by Pat Grossmith

Sen. Elizabeth Warren: Wealth tax plan = real change

Sen. Elizabeth Warren had strong support in the room and earned a sustained ovation of more than two minutes. Photo/Stacy Harrison

When U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts took to the stage the arena erupted in cheers with most coming to their feet earning her the longest standing ovation of the day.

“Thank you.  It means the world to me,” she said. 

She talked about her wealth tax plan where households would pay an annual 2 percent tax on all assets above $50 million, and a 3 percent tax on every dollar of net worth above $1 billion.

She said that tax would pay for quality childcare for newborns to age 5 and would cancel the college debt of 95 percent of the people who have it.

What’s needed is real change that can happen by building a movement across the country, she said.

Photo/Stacy Harrison

Warren said she doesn’t go to closed-door meetings with corporate CEOS where fancy food is served.  

“Instead, I spend time with you,” she said to wild applause.

She’s been in 26 states and Puerto Rico and has done 129 Town Halls but she said, with a broad smile and her arms outstretched,  “the real measure of democracy, I’ve taken more than 50,000 selfies.”

Warren said she gets it that there will be rich people in America.  The rich, she said, may have more shoes, more cars and maybe more houses “but they shouldn’t own more of our democracy.”

Hers is a grassroots campaign, she said, that has resulted in 1 million contributions since January. 

She said it is not enough to beat Donald Trump. Democrats have to win up and down the ballot.  “Jeanne Shaheen, I’m looking at you,” she said. “Let’s get rid of Governor Veto.”

Warren said she’s not afraid and for Democrats to win “you can’t be afraid.  This is our moment in history to dream big and to fight hard.”

by Pat Grossmith

Marianne Williamson: Citizens must wake up and push back

Marianne Williamson brought the charisma. Photo/Stacy Harrison

Marianne Williamson is not like the others. She is a New Age author with experience in political activism, but mostly she wants Americans to wake up and push back against what she described as a “dark time” in our country’s history. 

We responded to slavery with abolition. We responded to the oppression of women with not one but two women’s movements, and we responded to segregation and institutional racism with the Civil Rights movement, said Williamson. 

Emphasis on “we.”

“In none of those cases, ladies and gentlemen was the fundamental change, the fundamental transformation initiated – or even led – by the U.S. government,” Williams said. “In every case the U.S. government represented the forces of the status quo.”

Abolition, women’s suffrage, and civil rights were the result of people stepping up and standing up.

A couple of Marianne Williamson supporters were feeling the love. Photo/Stacy Harrison

She said the greatest problem-solvers of our country’s past didn’t settle for the status quo, but instead hammered out a Declaration of Independence that actually gives citizens not only the right but the power to correct a government gone wrong.

“The American people have forgotten where the power lies because when you forget it in your head and you forget it in your heart, it’s no longer in your hand,” Williamson said.

From there, Williamson seemed to be feeding off the energy of her own words, part inspirational speaker, part “life coach” for a country in need of a spiritual boost. She criticized the condition of underfunded schools and the pipeline to prison many schools have become. She called out the military-industrial complex and said the racial injustice that is a toxic force in our country may appeal to the political status quo, but it’s time for people to realize they hold the power and to “begin a season of repair.”

In a final flourish loaded with good karma, Williamson reminded the room that love conquers hate, but it requires people to show more conviction than those who hate.

Andrew Yang:  ‘Tech Check’ will secure the future as automation displaces workers

Andrew Yang says he’s the right guy to fix things because he’s the opposite of Donald Trump: An Asian guy who likes math.” Photo/Stacy Harrison

He may have been alphabetically last on the long list of speakers for the day, but Andrew Yang was worth the wait. He took the stage and, with arms open wide he expressed his love for New Hampshire and his appreciation for a roomful of Yang-Gangers.

Yang, a 1992 graduate of New Hampshire’s Phillips Exeter Academy, made his fortune in business and was inspired to run for President when he saw the country moving in the wrong direction. His Venture for America project, a nonprofit that focuses on creating jobs in struggling American cities, is an example of his philanthropy.

As for his candidacy, he said it’s important to understand how Trump made it to the White House.

“It’s some mixture of Russia, racism, Facebook, the FBI, Hillary Clinton, emails, all sort of mixed together into some kind of brew. But I’m a numbers guy and the numbers tell a very clear story that the reason why Donald Trump is our president today is that we automated away four-million manufacturing jobs in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, all the swing states Donald Trump needed to win,” Yang said.

And it’s happening here in New Hampshire. The reason? Amazon is “soaking up” $20 billion in business every year while paying nothing in taxes.  “Twenty-billion out, zero back, that is the math,” Yang said.

In what Yang has called the Fourth Industrial Revolution, we will see call center jobs, retail clerks, and truck drivers replaced by automation.

He believes he has the answer. 

“If you’ve heard anything about me it’s this. There’s this Asian man running for president who wants to give everyone a thousand dollars a month … and the first time you heard that it sounded like a gimmick,” Yang said.

But it is an idea that historically has been bounced around before, and has been in place in Alaska for nearly 40 years, funded by oil revenue. In 2018 qualifying Alaskans received a $1,600 annual dividend.

“And what is the oil of the 21st Century? Technology, that’s right,” Yang said, citing a recent study that said our personal data is worth more than oil.

How many of you remember getting your data check in the mail? In Alaska they call it the oil check. In America we’re going to call it the ‘tech check,’ and America’s going to love it,” Yang said.

A trickle-up economy would create thousands of jobs. It’s a vision Yang says needs to be shared “right away” with the rest of the country, as it provides a tangible plan for solving the problems that got Trump elected in 2016.

“We have to accelerate our economy as quickly as possible and evolve the way we think about work and value, and I’m the ideal candidate for that job because the opposite of Donald Trump is an Asian man who likes math.”

-by Carol Robidoux


About this Author

Carol Robidoux

PublisherManchester Ink Link

Longtime NH journalist and publisher of Loves R&B, German beer, and the Queen City!