Students mobilize in New Hampshire for Sanders, Buttigieg, Warren

The Tufts for Bernie student group is pictured watching the results come in for the New Hampshire democratic primary in the Olin Center on Feb. 11. Anthony Davis-Pait / The Tufts Daily

Disclaimer: Hannah Kahn is a former executive audio producer at the Daily. Hannah was not involved in the writing or editing of this article.

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders won the New Hampshire primary election on Tuesday with 25.7% of the vote, followed closely by former Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind. with 24.4% of the vote. Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar outperformed expectations, coming in third at 19.8%, while Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren and former Vice President Joe Biden faltered, winning 9.2% and 8.4% of the vote, respectively.  

“We definitely are all very excited. Kicking off with two wins has really shown us that we have the momentum going into both South Carolina and Nevada, and then later, on March 3, states including Massachusetts,” first-year Anthony Davis-Pait said, who helped found Tufts for Bernie last semester and remains involved in the leadership of the organization. 

Ben Cooper, a senior and the campus team coordinator for Tufts for Pete, reflected on their candidate’s performance in the New Hampshire primary election.

“I think it was a really strong finish for Pete. Definitely something that the campaign needed to move forward into the early states that will spread the message nationally. Overall, very excited to move forward,” Cooper said.

New Hampshire was the first primary election, which followed the Iowa caucuses last week that similarly ended with Buttigieg and Sanders on top. In Iowa, Buttigieg received 26.2% of the votes and Sanders got 26.1%.  

In Iowa, however, Warren followed more closely behind Sanders and Buttigieg with 18% of the vote.

“In New Hampshire and in Iowa, it’s not what we were hoping for, but it is what it is,”  co-president of Tufts for Warren and first-year Amanda Westlake said. 

Westlake leads Tufts for Warren along with Hannah Kahn, a senior. Despite the loss in New Hampshire, Tufts for Warren remains hopeful. 

“There’re still a lot of delegates left and there’s still Super Tuesday left. There’s a lot of time left in the race,” Westlake said.

Tufts for Warren, Tufts for Bernie and Tufts for Pete have been working to mobilize Tufts students in addition to organizing with the campaigns directly. 

“The goal of the club is mostly, I think, to get people into New Hampshire, because it was the closest place we could really volunteer as Tufts students,” Cooper said. 

Westlake echoed Cooper with similar action from Tufts for Warren. 

“We do tabling in the [Mayer Campus Center] to try to get new members and we also got up to New Hampshire. We’ve been calling Iowa and New Hampshire,” Westlake said.

Cooper spent time canvassing in New Hampshire with other members of Tufts for Pete. 

“I had never done that before, but it was really interesting to go out and talk to people. Definitely a lot of undecided voters,” Cooper said. “Overall it was a great experience. I think it’s really good to be able to get out and actually speak with people.” 

Davis-Pait expanded on how powerful canvassing can be. 

“We’ve really heavily been pushing going up to New Hampshire every weekend. The campaign has been renting us buses, so we’ve been going on trips like that. Three last semester and one this semester, those were super awesome,” Davis-Pait said.

Davis-Pait said that he noticed a clear shift among voters. They were generally undecided in the beginning, but by the most recent canvassing trips they had narrowed their preferences to two candidates and wanted to hear more from canvassers for Sanders to help with their decision. The Tufts for Bernie canvassing efforts contributed to that, according to Davis-Pait.

The Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) housed at the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life found that young people had a “decisive influence on the 2020 New Hampshire Democratic primary,” according to their analysis released yesterday. 

Of the 19% of eligible 18–29 year old voters that voted, who made up 14% of the primary electorate, 51% voted for Sanders. 20% voted for Buttigieg, with only 6% choosing Warren as their candidate.

The three Tufts groups are turning toward action in Massachusetts, which has its presidential primary election on March 3, Super Tuesday.

“After New Hampshire, we’re hoping to do more around Massachusetts, and prep for Super Tuesday as well,” Cooper said. 

Similarly, Tufts for Bernie will be honing in on organizing in Massachusetts. 

“We are leading canvasses every Saturday and Sunday and some weekdays as well. We have a headquarters here in West Somerville,” Davis-Pait said. “As of right now, it’s all volunteer-led, so a lot of our leaders are going to be leading those canvasses.”