Absence of Biden on New Hampshire Ballots: A Closer Look at the Emerging Democratic Landscape

In the political landscape of New Hampshire, a peculiar scenario is unfolding as the Democratic party grapples with an internal feud, leaving President Joe Biden‘s name absent from the state’s upcoming ballots. This unexpected turn of events has created an opportunity for two unconventional contenders, Dean Phillips and Marianne Williamson, to embark on longshot presidential bids. While the nation’s attention may be drawn to figures like Donald Trump and Nikki Haley, a shadow presidential primary is quietly taking place in the Granite State, where Biden’s absence opens the door for alternative voices.

New Hampshire’s Democratic Drama:

Dean Phillips, a 55-year-old Democratic congressman from Minnesota, is making waves with his centrist approach and a record of collaborating with Republicans to achieve tangible results. Emphasizing his relative youth compared to Biden and his reputation as the “second most bipartisan” Democrat in the House of Representatives, Phillips aims to distinguish himself in a field dominated by traditional political figures. Despite the challenges he faces within his own party, Phillips has garnered attention and support, hosting events with large crowds and presenting himself as a candidate ready to break away from conventional political norms.

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On the other side of the spectrum is Marianne Williamson, an author and self-help guru who previously ran for president in 2020. With a progressive agenda, Williamson advocates for policies such as free college tuition, a declaration of a climate emergency, and the establishment of a ‘Department of Peace’ to address both international conflicts and domestic issues like white supremacy. While she may not have the same spotlight as Phillips, Williamson offers a distinctive vision for the future, presenting an alternative to the current administration.

Phillips vs. Williamson:

Phillips acknowledges the challenges he faces, admitting to being “excommunicated” from the broader Democratic party for challenging Biden. Despite this, he remains committed to his campaign, asserting that adhering to traditional party roles is nonsensical and that a deviation from the status quo is necessary to save the country. Phillips, who transitioned from running a hundred-million-dollar brewing company to securing a seat in the House of Representatives in 2018, launched his presidential campaign in October 2023 and has since built a significant political presence in New Hampshire.

While New Hampshire historically plays a minor role in delegate allocation, its early primary position provides a platform for candidates to gain publicity and potentially influence the narrative of the nomination process. The decision by the Democratic National Committee to bypass New Hampshire’s results this year in favor of South Carolina, a more racially diverse state, has added a layer of complexity to the situation. This move has not deterred Phillips and Williamson, as they continue to engage with voters in the hopes of making an impact, even if it doesn’t directly contribute to their presidential aspirations.

Marianne Williamson’s Broad Critique

Biden’s absence from the New Hampshire ballot has spurred a grassroots movement encouraging voters to write in his name, highlighting the potential for embarrassment for the Biden campaign. Notably, high-profile supporters such as Ro Khanna and Pete Buttigieg have been dispatched to the state in recent weeks, underscoring the significance of this unexpected twist in the primary process.

However, Phillips and Williamson face additional challenges, including a liberal-led effort to sway independent voters in the Republican primary toward Nikki Haley, with the aim of damaging Trump’s chances in the state. The organization PrimaryPivot has been actively promoting this strategy, emphasizing the perceived difference between a regular conservative Republican and an autocratic figure like Trump.

South Carolina and Beyond: Will Phillips and Williamson Pose a Real Challenge to Biden?

Furthermore, a distraction for both Phillips and Williamson comes in the form of a write-in campaign for Biden and a separate effort to write in “ceasefire” on Democratic ballots, critiquing Biden’s handling of Israel’s actions in Gaza. While these initiatives may not align with the primary goals of the candidates, they reflect the diverse range of opinions within the Democratic voter base.

Williamson, known for her broader critique of the U.S. political landscape, identifies a “business model” among political elites that involves job elimination, worker exploitation, demonization of unions, and tax cuts benefiting the wealthy. Her campaign resonates with individuals like Lisa Swanson, a student at Quinnipiac University, who appreciates Williamson’s alignment with her long-held beliefs.

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Despite the growing support for Phillips and Williamson, there remains a prevailing sense that their efforts might ultimately be in vain. The expectation is that neither candidate will pose a serious challenge to Biden in the South Carolina primary or subsequent states. The frustration among voters, exemplified by Swanson, reflects a sentiment of discontent with the Democratic party’s decision to skip their state, viewing it as anti-democratic and indicative of a lack of trust in the people’s decision-making.

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