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Does the New Hampshire Primary Still Matter?

The New Hampshire primary was traditionally the first primary in a presidential election cycle. As such, it held a significant symbolic and historical importance. The media attention and coverage that it received would set the tone for the rest of the primary season. Several presidential candidates have seen their campaigns revived or falter based on their performance in the New Hampshire primary. Examples include Bill Clinton in 1992, John McCain in 2000 and 2008, and Bernie Sanders in 2016.

Today, the New Hampshire primary is afloat in uncertainty and changes surrounding scheduling in the 2024 election cycle. Recently, the Iowa Republican Party decided to hold its caucuses on January 15, which traditionally triggers New Hampshire to set its primary date. But, the plans for the Democratic contests in Iowa and the subsequent changes have created uncertainty for New Hampshire's primary.

The South Carolina primary is on February 3, as according to the DNC's schedule, New Hampshire and Nevada are slated to hold the second primary after South Carolina. Unlike the Iowa caucuses, which involve a more complex process, the New Hampshire primary is a straightforward, secret ballot vote. This makes it an easier and more accessible way for voters to express their preferences. Nonetheless, major republicans keep coming to the Granite State, So, does the New Hampshire primary continue to matter? New Hampshire voters still take their role seriously in evaluating the presidential candidates. Their opinions can influence how candidates are perceived on a national level. A strong showing in New Hampshire can help a candidate's legitimacy and viability. New Hampshire's relatively small size allows for a unique form of retail politics. Candidates are expected to interact with voters one-on-one in town hall meetings, house parties, and other intimate settings. This offers candidates a chance to connect directly with voters and demonstrate their authenticity and understanding of local concerns. Being the "first in the nation primary" New Hampshire receives intense media coverage and attention from both national and international outlets. Candidates who perform well in the New Hampshire primary can gain valuable momentum and media exposure that can help propel their campaigns forward. And it is a point of pride for the Granite State. Historically candidates who perform poorly in the New Hampshire primary soon face pressure to drop out of the race. The results of the primary narrow the field by highlighting which candidates are resonating with voters and which ones are struggling to gain support. But New Hampshire is not a perfect representation of the entire country, yet its demographic and political makeup still provide enough insights into broader political trends. The state's electorate is almost diverse enough to offer a snapshot of how different demographic groups are responding to various candidates and issues.

NH is a place where issues still seem to matter, where the average person can meet most of the candidates, and where the media market is simple and easy to access for promotional purposes. Of course if that means that for the next 5 months all we will see on WMUR TV9 are issues and candidates ads. well so be it. While New Hampshire's influence might be in real danger in changing the landscape of the primary calendar and the increased significance of other early states, it will play a vital role in shaping the trajectory of the GOP presidential nomination process. If it does well - it may live to see another day.

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