U.S Election

First in the Nation—And Last?

user avatar Author: Editors Desk Source: The Atlantic
January 23, 2024 at 15:23
Chip Somodevilla / Getty
Chip Somodevilla / Getty

This year, New Hampshire’s famous presidential contest seems more like a final whimper than a first salvo.

Donald Trump shares an essential trait with the voters of New Hampshire: a craving for flattery and affirmation.

Residents here are accustomed to parades of candidates trekking up every four years to tell them how sacred their first-in-the-nation primary is, how discerning their famously “independent” and “contrarian” voters are. Politicians strain endlessly to convey how vital New Hampshire is to the process.

But things feel precarious and a bit upside down here these days—more final whimper than first salvo.

I landed in Manchester on Friday afternoon and found the place almost numb with abandonment. Elm Street, the “main drag” of New Hampshire’s biggest city, which is usually good for a few candidate sightings and media scrums, was quiet. Once the marquee stopover on the presidential tour, this original colony felt neglected in the final weekend before today’s primary, and well past its glory.

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