(The opinions expressed on this page are not necessarily those of the New Hampshire Journal. The Journal welcomes opinions on all sides of issues and from all candidates for office.)
By ANDREW HEMINGWAY
The dust has barely settled on the midterm election and the squabbling continues amongst our political leaders.
Already have already seen fist pumping arguments over immigration, government shutdowns, healthcare reform, committee assignments, office locations, and more.
The war of words has taken on a tone familiar to anyone who’s raised a five year-old. The media seems to delight in it as we watch, incredulous over the endless — needless — confrontation.
Who are these people? How do they find their way to positions of power and influence in the most powerful and prosperous country on Earth?
Are they the ones who “We The People” have decided are best suited to administer our Democracy, in all its glory and complexity? Are they the ones we trust to tell the truth?
To most of our citizens, the answer seems to be no. Ninety-six percent claim that money plays a disproportionate role in deciding who gets elected to public office and how they exercise their power. Disgusted by the endless flood of negative attacks financed by special interests from outside our state, the majority of voting-age adults didn’t even bother to vote on November 4th.
Elections today are more about the power of the purse than the pursuit of progress. Money buys media, media frames the debate and all but makes up our minds for us. Long before voters cast their ballots, deep pockets purchase polls and polls predict that those with deep pockets will win. Nine times out of ten times, those with the deepest pockets win.
As I traveled to every corner of this state in the last year I heard one overwhelming message from the people of New Hampshire: they are tired of big money and power politics.
The voters told me they are tired of voting against someone, the “lesser of two evils”, and tired of hearing the “pundits” tell us what to think. If I had a nickel for every time someone told me they held their nose and voted… let’s say I could’ve eaten a lot better on the stump.
Instead, they want to vote FOR someone, FOR New Hampshire.
A mid-term election ought be more about problems and progress in the Granite State than a referendum on the performance of a President, with campaigns bankrolled by special interests more concerned with controlling the House than helping young people in New Hampshire afford a house.
Think back on what the “talking heads” were focused on in New Hampshire in the run-up to the election. More than any of the issues, they talked about the size of the candidates’ respective “war chests” and who was up and down in the latest polls. Then there was the endless and sickening stream of negative attack ads.
It’s time “We The People” looked for ways to counter the hi-jacking of our elections. Massive amounts of money ought not — and cannot — overcome a motivated electorate who’s decided it’s time for a change.
The truth should not be “the party line” of any political group, with the price tag still affixed. We, armed with our vote, can make clear that in New Hampshire, money doesn’t buy minds.
In the coming months, I won’t be alone in seeking to address this unfortunate state of affairs. I know this because during my campaign I met a group of New Hampshire citizens that is joining the fray to reclaim our republic from the special interests. They stand for reforms that can give power back to the people, whether through term limits, the end of gerrymandering, or citizen-funded elections.
A rebellion it is, and so it should be named.
The New Hampshire “Rebellion” is a citizen movement to bring these issues to the fore. People — just like you and me — rebelling and championing the kind of reforms that are needed in order to save our state and our country. They are unfettered by party platforms and committed problem solving, not partisanship.
It is time for NH citizens to rise up with one voice and demand clean elections, ethical fundraising, and a reversal of what big money and partisan politics have wrought on our Democracy.
Adams, Revere, Hancock, Hale, Washington… rebelled against injustice. It’s time we followed their example. The New Hampshire Rebellion will be another First in the Nation: restoring the conscience of our forefathers to the Democracy with whose care we are entrusted.
(Andrew Hemingway of Bristol is an entrepreneur and former chairman of the Republican Liberty Caucus of New Hampshire. He was a Republican candidate for governor in 2014.)