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I run for President in the 2016 New Hampshire Democratic primary
by William McGaughey
a rekindled interest in politics
In the early morning of October 18th, 2015, while lying in bed, I had the idea of running in another presidential primary. Why? I had written and published a book on a previous campaign for President that could be given to media people. I now had a track record on an important policy question. I was proud of the fact that in 2004 I had run for President on a ticket of being against free trade. Now the leading candidates in both parties had come around to that position. I was ahead of my time.
I thought of entering the South Carolina and Louisiana Democratic presidential primaries for the second time. Then that course of action seemed unwise. The South Carolina party screens the candidates on the basis of whether the national media considers them viable candidates. I would surely fail that test. However, the party no longer screens on the basis of loyalty. I had previously been rejected on that basis. On the other hand, there is also an election commission that could charge candidates up to $20,000 for running. I could not afford to pay that.
Louisiana had a primary scheduled for early March, but there was also a notice on the Internet that the state’s Secretary of State said that Louisiana might not be having a presidential primary election in 2016 because of the expense ($3 million). If that decision stood, I would not be able to run again in the Louisiana primary. Checking some time later, I learned that Louisiana indeed had a primary but I had missed the filing deadline of December 4, 2015 by five days.
That left New Hampshire. I did not enter its primary in 2004 because I missed the filing deadline. The filing period is in November. I could meet the deadline this year. The filing fee was affordable - $1,000. However, I learned that New Hampshire requires candidate to list their delegates and alternatives in November. It would be hard for me to contact New Hampshire residents to recruit delegates without going to the state.
My interest in electoral politics had been rekindled by exposure to candidates who would play leading roles in the 2016 race for the Presidency. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders came to Minneapolis in late May 2015 to stir support for a possible presidential campaign. The response had been so strong that his event had to be move to a larger venue, the American Indian Center on Lake Street. Lines of potential attendees stretched for blocks down the street and I was lucky to get in to hear the Senator. This was on Sunday morning, May 31st. Sanders’ campaign was off to a strong start.
I also watched the presidential debates on television starting in the late summer. The first Republican debate, on August 8th, began with a bang when the moderator, Megyn Kelly, asked all the candidates on the stage to commit to abide by the convention decision for a nominee. Alone, Donald Trump raised his hand to signal that he might consider an independent candidacy. Then, when Kelly asked Trump an insulting follow-up question, Trump let her have it.
This was unheard of. A candidate was actually challenging the authority of the moderator and getting away with it! I, too, was tired of all their stupid rules and questions and the 30-second time limits. I religiously watched most of the candidate debates for the remainder of 2015, developing an interest not only in Trump but in Bobby Jindal and Rick Santorum as well. Ben Carson was another unusual candidate worth following.
Running for President myself was the last thing on my mind as I struggled financially through most of 2015. I expected an inheritance from my father to be distributed before the end of the year which would be used to pay back property taxes and other expenses while leaving money for discretionary purposes. This money arrived on December 14th. I also had a campaign contribution from a landlord friend. Suddenly, I could self-finance a campaign in New Hampshire, costing relatively little money and less than two months of my life, and then go on to the long-delayed project of publishing another book.
If I ran in New Hampshire, my issues would be the same as in my 2002 Senate primary campaign with the Independence Party: 1. a four-day workweek and 2. dignity for white males. I had a definite legislative proposal for a shorter workweek that could be discussed during the campaign. My proposal for the second item would be simply to have white people march to exhibit pride in themselves because of or despite their race. I could organize this myself. I would go on a “white man’s walk”, inviting others to join me. I would not be asking the government to do anything. I would simply be inviting white people to take walks evidencing their racial solidarity instead of being ashamed of themselves on the basis of historical guilt as the official line of argument dictates.
My racially tinged cause was a work in progress. While black people experience real injustices, I felt that awareness of this had progressed to the stage of putting white people on the defensive. The real victims, I thought, were the young. In numerical terms, they were mostly young white people with limited career opportunities a growing number of whom were addicted to drugs. New Hampshire, in particular, had a major drug problem.
Enough other people were lamenting racial discrimination against blacks. I would be the voice in the wilderness daring to express sympathy for the forgotten whites. I would give a full-throated, honest defense of these people in the face of media indifference. Where high-paying jobs were plentiful for persons of my generation, today’s young generation feels it must go into debt to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars to purchase an education that will get him or her to the starting line of the chase for decent jobs.
For shame, you educators and policy makers! Young whites have the reputation of being privileged but the reality of being outcasts in their own land. I would say something about this and, in the process, make myself thoroughly despised.
taking the plunge
The deadline to file for the New Hampshire primary was Friday, November 20, 2015. I then had enough money on hand to pay the $1,000 filing fee so on November 17th I sent a cashier’s check to the New Hampshire Secretary of State. When I was improperly registered as William H. McGaughey, Sr., the Secretary of State’s office I promptly changed my name to William H. McGaughey, Jr. at my request. Now I was set to go.
The New Hampshire Secretary of State requested that presidential candidates complete a form by December 11th listing delegates who would represent them at the nominating conventions. From an online discussion group I knew one person in New Hampshire but he seemed not to be interested in being my delegate. In the end, it would not have mattered.
After the filing period had passed, I compiled a list of all the persons who had filed as presidential-primary candidates in New Hampshire and contacted all the Democrats to see if any were interested in joint-campaign activities. A few responded positively but in the end nothing was arranged.
I thought I had a certain advantage in having retained the domain name billforpresident.org from a 2004 campaign in which I ran for president in Louisiana’s Democratic presidential primary. I had then finished fifth among seven candidates with 3,161 votes. The pages could be redesigned to suit the new campaign.
my campaign website
Viewers of the redesigned front page - http://www.billforpresident.org - were greeted by three pictures of me with a smiling face. The one in the middle showed me with a shaggy beard and unkempt hair. Then there were links to detailed policy statements: “my vision of a better future”, “about the socialist bugaboo”, “about the politics of gender and race”, “second time’s the charm” (a wishful suggestion that I might do even better this time than in 2004), “what I really hope to accomplish in this campaign”, and, as an afterthought, “my campaign leaflet”.
Finally there was a general statement about my campaign positions compared with those of some other candidates, a summary of the three main planks in my campaign platform, and a reference to earlier political endeavors. At the bottom was a picture of my automobile decorated with campaign signs that New Hampshire residents might soon encounter during my travels around the state.
I spent weeks creating and refining this website and its several pages. Traffic peaked on election day, February 9th, at 420 visits and 1,313 hits. The average traffic for the month was 290 visits and 535 hits, about triple the level in October 2015. Still it was unimpressive traffic compared with what some of the other candidates must have gotten. I poured out my heart and mind to a relatively inattentive public.
preliminary research and other preparations
I began to scout the political scene in New Hampshire. There were eleven daily newspapers in the state and thirty-three community newspapers which published once or several times a month. Another media resource was radio stations. I found eighty-eight different stations, both AM and FM, and four television stations, the largest of which was WMUR-TV in Manchester. I would try to use both print and electronic media effectively to get my message out.
Besides media, I targeted institutions of higher learning as places for political discussion. Twenty-four colleges and universities showed up in my Google search of New Hampshire institutions. Interestingly, Andrew Card, George W. Bush’s chief of staff, was president of one of the smaller colleges, Franklin Pierce University in Rindge. (Pierce, a New Hampshire native, was a one-term pre-Civil War U.S. president.) There were social organizations with military connections. My list of such organizations included 18 VFW (veterans of foreign wars) chapters and 19 chapters of the American Legion around New Hampshire. I also located 9 Elks Clubs. All these organizations represented possible locations for political discussion in cities and towns around the state.
Having identified a number of media outlets and educational or social organizations that might support political discussion, I grouped all these institutions by location. Whenever I visited a city or town, I would have a list of possible contacts. The newspapers had priority but the other places could also be useful to visit if I had time. I gathered the addresses and phone numbers of prospects in each city and recorded them on typed sheets. On a more personal note, my brother in law, Dean Morrison, gave me the name and address of Sanel Corporation in Concord, New Hampshire, which was the last stop on his route when he was a truck driver. Workers in the loading dock might remember him.
I also printed a list of Republican candidates’ visits to places in New Hampshire during 2015 to give me an idea of where campaigning might be done. Of particular interest was a “New Hampshire Primary Student Convention that would take place between January 5th and 7th at the Radisson hotel in Manchester. Several of the major candidates would be participating. I myself had rented a room on Concord Street in Manchester through airbnb between January 4th and February 10th, which was about a mile from the Radisson. Depending upon my arrival date in New Hampshire, I might use this convention as a means of becoming acquainted with the political scene in that state.
My trademark style of campaigning would be to carry a large printed sign with a political message while wearing a flamboyant Mexican hat that I had purchased from a thrift store fifteen years ago. Budget Signs of St. Paul would produce the two-sided sign mounted on a stick. One side read “Embrace your racial identity” and the other, “White man’s walk”. The latter message might be displayed if I managed to find someone, probably white, who would walk with me and discuss racial issues in cities or towns that I visited during the campaign. But even if no such discussion partners could be found, this equipment would make me a walking billboard for a certain set of issues that could stimulate political discussion and possibly win votes.
My wardrobe also needed attention. Besides socks and underwear, I needed to replenish my supply of dress shirts and pants. I also purchased a high-quality overcoat at a thrift store and heavy-duty dress shoes. My biggest purchase, however, was a new set of glasses obtained from the Walmart store in Brooklyn Center. This had stylish rounded frames and a split lens which would darken in sun light; it would be perfect for long-distance driving.
I decided to campaign in a 2005 white Pontiac Grand AM with 163,000 miles on the odometer which still belonged to my step-daughter, Jasmine, who was driving another car. First, we had to get the title switched to me. A neighborhood mechanic checked the car for needed repairs and found some minor problems which he corrected. Then it was discovered that neither front headlight worked properly. This problem was corrected at some expense at a service station not far from where I live. Even so, the headlight beams did not focus on a spot far enough down the road. Luckily, my night-time driving was limited during the campaign.
Finally, I purchased campaign signs from Vistaprint to paste on the sides of the car. A promotional offer gave me $70 worth of product for $27. I used this money and more to purchase four colored magnetic signs, roughly 12 by 18 inches, that would go on the side doors of the car, two on each side. On the front door passenger-side was a sign headlined “NH primary campaign, Democrat from Minnesota, William H. McGaughey”. The sign on the rear door, passenger side, had a large picture of my face, identifying me as “presidential candidate, William H. McGaughey, Jr.”. A sign on the front door, driver side, said “Bill McGaughey for President” above a flag-like design of stars and stripes. A picture of a red and blue rooster crowing below a caption that announced “a new day is dawning” was attached to the rear door on the driver’s side.
Besides the larger signs were smaller ones, 3 by 11 inches, with messages that read in a variety of colors: “for a 4-day, 32-hour workweek”, “Bill McGaughey for President (Democrat)” with a small picture of my face, “www.billforpresident.org”, and, more controversial, “white man’s walk”. These went on the front and rear bumpers, on the hood, and behind the rear doors. In summary, my campaign car was well decorated and set to attract the attention of politically interested New Hampshire residents.
my arrival in New Hampshire
All this took time to complete. The day after the right headlight was fixed, January 2nd, I set out on a trip across the eastern half of the United States, first to northeastern Pennsylvania and then New Hampshire. The first night was spent at a Motel 6 in South Bend, Indiana. From there I drove across the rest of Indiana, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, reaching Milford, Pennsylvania, in the early evening. The tenant had left the backdoor unlocked and made an extra key for my use. After a good night’s rest in an empty bedroom, I set out for New Hampshire on the following morning, first crossing the eastern part of New York state, Connecticut, and Massachusetts before reaching the Manchester area thirty miles inside New Hampshire.
I had purchased a book of maps covering New Hampshire put out by the DeLorme company of Yarmouth, Maine. This book had detailed street maps of the state’s larger cities as well as area maps for all parts of the state. Two pages were devoted to the city of Manchester. I had previously located my prospective residence on Concord Street, just west of Concord and Hall Streets. Fortunately, it was near Hanover Street which was one of the main entrances to the city from the bypass highway 93 that I had taken to enter the area. I could drive down Hanover for two or three miles, turn right for two blocks, and then be at my rented home.
The front door of the house was unlocked when I arrived. The key was near the door to the apartment on the second floor. The apartment itself consisted of three bedrooms, a kitchen, bathroom, and large living room with a sofa and television set. I took the room at the opposite (south) end of the suite. It had two small closets and a bed. There was not room to unpack everything but enough to function day to day. I went back to the Hannaford supermarket in a shopping center on Hanover Street. The perishables went into a refrigerator and the rest in a closet. I had brought along some kitchen utensils. The landlord stopped by later in the evening to see if I needed anything. I was set.
an appearance at the student convention at the Radisson hotel in Manchester
My top priority in New Hampshire on the first day of campaigning, January 5th, was to attend what remained of the 2016 New Hampshire Primary Student Convention at the Radisson hotel in downtown Manchester. (The Carlson family of Minnesota owns this chain of hotels.) Fortunately, this was about twelve blocks from my rented residence. However, the area was covered with parking meters needing to be fed fifty cents every half hour or so.
I roamed through an exhibit area in the hotel where the different candidates and political organizations had tables. I learned it was possible for me to attend the student conference for $75 a day on each of the two remaining days of the three-day conference. However, I would be a mere attendee rather than someone on the program. Upon quick reflection, I decided to take my chances engaging students on sidewalks outside the Radisson hotel, rushing back periodically to feed the parking meter.
I had missed Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton’s representative, Howard Dean, on the first day of the conference. Candidates scheduled for the second day included (in order of scheduled appearance) New Jersey governor Chris Christie (endorsed by the Manchester Union Leader), Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, Ohio Governor John Kasich, former Virginia Jim Gilmore, Carly Fiorina, and Martin O’Malley. I was too late for Christie but arrived in time to catch Kasich, if I was persistant. Kasich’s campaign bus was parked in the driveway just beyond the hotel entrance. I hovered around this area for what seemed hours, leaving periodically to feed the parking meter, with my gigantic campaign sign and Mexican hat.
At length, something seemed to be stirring. An attractive female photographer suddenly appeared wanting to take my picture. I cheerfully obliged. There may have been an ulterior motive in this request because, just as she had finished photographing me, the Kasich campaign bus began to pull away from the curb. In retrospect, I supposed that the Ohio governor and his retinue had sneaked past me to board the bus while I was distracted. I bore Kasich no ill will for this possible act of deception but did, frankly, hope to engage him in some way. However, it was too late. The Ohio governor was on to his next appointment as I stood on the sidewalk by myself.
Weeks later, after viewing television commercials, I decided that Kasich might be my favorite candidate among the Republicans, although I still liked Trump. Bernie Sanders remained my favorite candidate among the Democrats. But what did it matter? I was out here on my own.
My position in front of the Radisson hotel offered limited opportunities for campaigning. A few of the student delegates occasionally appeared through the hotel’s front door to take a smoke or experience a change in scenery. Several of them were from Louisiana where I had campaigned in a primary twelve years earlier. I had a roommate at my apartment on Concord street who was in the same group of students although he came from Australia. However, my campaigning at the student conference was meeting with limited success. The third and final day, on Wednesday, January 6th, was a half-day session featuring mostly policy work shops. I did not put in an appearance at the hotel on that day because I was beginning to feel ill.
getting started with the campaign
On Thursday, January 7th, I dropped off literature and books (On the Ballot in Louisiana) at a radio station, university, and television station (WMUR-TV) in Manchester. On the following day, January 8th, I went to Concord to visit state offices and the Concord Monitor where I left literature and books on my Louisiana campaign. Then, I drove up to Lebanon, New Hampshire, stopping along the way at Colby and New London where a radio station had promised to cover my campaign. Mr. Sarro himself was not in - he worked out of New Orleans - but I had a friendly conversation with another employee of the station. After that, I had to drive back quickly to Manchester because I was starting to feel ill.
Back at home, I later wrote a note to myself about the message to be conveyed in the campaign:
“I am running because I do not think candidates are addressing the right issues. I want to inject certain themes into the political discussion.
In fact, U.S. politics is organized according to the demographic vote. We are completely polarized according to race and, to a lesser extent, gender. This is a lop-sided discussion. If white people show some pride in themselves, this kind of politics can be overcome.
Our jobs are at risk. Need a shorter workweek and tariffs.”
I also wrote myself a note about a proposed method of campaigning:
“Don’t wear Mexican hat often. Briefly carry sign through downtown of towns I visit. Mainly approach people and introduce myself as I visit towns. Pass out leaflets. See if there is any interest in marches. Visit bars & restaurants and ask if I can pass out literature. If not, leave a leaflet or two for the proprietor.”
I also wrote down information about the forum for “lesser-known candidates” that would be held at St. Anselm’s college on January 19th.
During this time, I did some campaigning with the picket sign and hat along Elm street in downtown Manchester while distributing the half-sheet literature in my pocket. The temperature was in the single digits. Even so, there were some worthwhile encounters. I remember talking briefly with an attractive young white woman who said she agreed both with my racial critique and call for a shorter workweek. There was also a young white man who admitted to being a racist. These were meaningful encounters. However, the traffic on downtown sidewalks was relatively light and I did not campaign long.
My daily routine in the early days was to spend a few hours campaigning as best I could and then watch Manchester television, station, WMUR-TV, from 5 p.m. when local news came on until I went to bed between 9 and 10 p.m. An hour of local news was followed by the half-hour national news program with anchor David Muir and then another local news segment, “New Hampshire Chronicles” featuring a variety of stories. I thought I was beginning to get a feel for New Hampshire without campaigning too hard. Nine hours devoted to sleep in Manchester would help me recover from the trip.
Weekends tended to be dead time. I stayed in my room on Concord Street. So it was on my first weekend in New Hampshire. I did not do much that weekend because I was not feeling well. I could feel a bronchial condition coming on. This was an unfamiliar experience. There was first a sinking feeling in my chest following by spasms in my lower and upper lips. The convulsions continued for a minute and then gradually went away. A half hour later, the spasms might resume. I had never experienced this sort of thing before.
at the Trump rally in Windham
On Monday, January 11th, I learned that Donald Trump would hold a rally at the Castleton Banquet and Conference Center in Windham, twenty miles or so southeast of Manchester, on the same morning. The rally would start around 11 a.m. in little more than an hour. Hurriedly, I dressed and climbed into the car. When I arrived at Windham and found Enterprise Drive, police had already blocked off this road. So I parked in a CVS Pharmacy Parking lot near that spot and, crossing the police blockade, walked down Enterprise Drive with a few other stragglers toward the conference center. Cars were parked on both sides of the street for more than half a mile. After turning right, I reached the press entrance to the building where Trump would be speaking. A few others were there on the porch. I gave them my literature. There were security people inside the door of the building.
Trump must have spoken for the better part of an hour. Then, first a few people and then more started to file past me as I stood in my campaign costume, hat and sign on the road. Most of the Trump people declined my offer of literature.
As the crowd of persons exiting the building grew thicker, a young security officer emerged from the building and told me I had to leave. I challenged him on the basis of standing in a public street. He claimed that Trump had rented the entire area. At this point, the incident caught the attention of two news photographers who started snapping pictures of me. The security officer abruptly abandoned his mission, leaving me with the photographers. One said he was with the Boston Globe and the other with a newspaper in Seattle. They must have taken dozens of photos. Afterwards, I walked the half mile back to the highway and to my car in the CVS parking lot. I never did learn if the photographs taken in Windham appeared in any newspapers.
After buying a few items at the DVS pharmacy, I decided that the day was still young. I had time to visit the one media outlet in Windham but had difficulty finding its address. The place was deserted when it found it. On my way back to Manchester, I also stopped at the newspapers offices in Londonderry and Derry which were open. The paper in Derry seemed quite receptive to my visit.
Later in the day, I decided to buy some winter clothing at the Mall of New Hampshire south of town. I also bought a wrist watch for twenty dollars which proved quite useful in future campaigning. Then, as a final piece of business, I decided to visit the Elliott hospital in Manchester to see how serious my bronchial condition might be. That visit was to change the course of my stay in New Hampshire.
five days in the hospital
I first went to the hospital itself, less than a mile from my Manchester residence, where I was referred me to its urgent-care facility on Queen City Avenue near the Merrimack River. The doctor who examined me there decided to send me back to the hospital for further examination and analysis. So, in the evening of Monday, January 11th, I wound up staying overnight at the hospital following tests.
Somehow I was kept in the hospital for four more days in room 5 as more and more tests were performed. My spasmic attacks slowly subsided during this time but the doctors were still concerned about my condition. In the back of my mind there was also a concern that five days spent in the hospital could be financially ruinous. I had Medicare Parts A and B but that did not cover everything. No discussion of expense ever took place. I was worried but helpless to do anything about it. (Six weeks later, I still did not know how much this treatment cost. Then in March the bill came. The gross billing from Elliot Hospital was slightly more than $25,000. The net amount due was $797.57. I could not complain.)
In the end, it was determined that my blood pressure was high and I had diabetes. I also showed early signs of frontal-lobe dementia and had something called “small-vein disease” in my brain, which restricted blood flow. I could expect to lose memory as this condition progressed. The doctors prescribed three types of medication that could be obtained at a nearby CVS pharmacy. These were designed to treat the diabetes and the high blood pressure.
There was no immediate condition to justify further stay in the hospital so I was released Friday morning, January 15th with an appointment to see a doctor in Hooksett (north of Manchester) on the following week, Friday, January 22nd, to check on my condition then. The better part of a week had been lost for campaign activities. In retrospect, I cannot remember what happened at the hospital. There was a small television set in my room but I must have slept much of the time.
my wife comes to New Hampshire
I had kept my wife Sheila informed of my health problems. Alarmed, she made immediate plans to come to New Hampshire to be at my side. Without informing me, she also purchased airplane tickets for me to return to Minnesota on January 30th, cutting my campaign short by nine days. Sheila had bought train tickets to travel from Minneapolis to Manchester, arriving on Monday, January 18th. She would stay in the Econolodge Motel near the Elliot Urgent Care facility in Manchester.
I meanwhile spent a quiet Friday and weekend at my rented room on Concord Street. That Sunday, I did the accumulated load of laundry at a laundromat near the Hannaford supermarket. I also purchased two sets of medications that had been prescribed. But the energy and ambition had gone out of me in the five days that I was hospitalized.
I met Sheila in front of the Econolodge motel Monday morning and then spent the day with her at the motel in room 415. She never visited my residence on Concord Street which was not far away. On the following day, Tuesday, January 19th, we visited St. Anselm’s college to scout out the scene of that night’s debate. The candidates initially gathered in a room outside the main hall where we each received a large poster about the 2016 primary put out by the Secretary of State’s office on which both the Democratic and Republican ballots were displayed. It was the 100th anniversary of the New Hampshire primary.
Note: The Democratic and Republican ballots were shown on a large placard created by the New Hampshire Secretary of State's office to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the New Hampshire primary. Its header reads: "Commemorating the New Hampshire Presidential direct primary by election 100th Anniversary - 1916-2016." The image to the right (mostly cut off) is taken from the Manchester Union newspaper on November 5, 1892. The Republican presidential primary ballot was also displayed. There were 30 candidates on the Republican ballot as opposed to 28 for the Democrats. The poster also had pictures of the wooden ballot boxes used in elections a century ago.
the lesser-known candidates' debate at St. Anselm college
The six Republican candidates’ debate started at 6:30 p.m. The twenty Democrats, of whom I was a part, began their debate an hour and a half later. The event was covered by C-SPAN. The panel of questioners included political reporters for the Tribune company and ABC News as well as John DiStaso of KMUR-TV. The New Hampshire Secretary of State, Bill Gardner, made brief opening remarks. Without exception, the lesser-known presidential candidates from both parties were all middle-aged white males.
When our turn came, I sat in the second row of ten candidates somewhere in the middle. We each had a chance to make a two-minute opening statement. I was experiencing a loss of confidence. However, I did manage to let known the fact that my campaign was partly about “dignity for white males” as well as a four-day workweek and opposition to the TPP. Sheila’s brief recording of my presentation caught a candidate in the front row abruptly gathering his papers and leaving the stage, evidently in disgust, when I mentioned white males. But I was too distracted at the time to notice this.
In all, I may have spoken for three to four minutes total while some of the other candidates rambled on at length. Even so, my brief remarks were noted in a Manchester Union Leader story on the event dated January 20th. I also managed to catch John DiStaso, perhaps the state’s preeminent political reporter, on the way out. I handed him my card, half-sheet of literature, and copy of the Louisiana book. (But nothing ever came of this.) Then Sheila and I drove back to the Econolodge motel where we again spent the night. She returned to Minnesota early the next morning, having never visited my Manchester apartment. But her arrival in New Hampshire helped to restore my self-confidence.
In retrospect, I realized the surrealistic nature of this event. All the "minor candidates" for President in the New Hampshire primary, both Democrat and Republican, were middle-aged white males. ( White males were also in the majority among the major candidates. Hillary Clinton was the only female among the presidential candidates, and Ben Carson was the only African American.) They were all, I assume, staunch anti-racists. So here I was, a white male, making an issue of race in a manner sympathetic to whites and thereby conspicuously offending at least one of the other white-male candidates. And the only African American in the room was my wife, Sheila, who had come to New Hampshire because she was worried about my health. It's a crazy, mixed up world politically, isn't it?
trying to jump-start the campaign
The candidate debate at the Institute of Politics may have been the highlight of the campaign. It was widely viewed on cable television. Another version produced for the internet was said to have gone viral. But this opportunity was now in the past and I had another two or three weeks of campaigning left. A problem was that many of the newspapers, my target audience, were on monthly schedules whose deadlines had passed. I had to get busy reaching as many of these contacts as I could. I also had to mail the $600 alimony check to my step-daughter Celia, buy more groceries, and organize to reach media outlets in time.
Weekends were dead time for campaigning. If I had been closer to Milford (Pennsylvania), I might have spent time there. Instead, I attended church at the First Congregational Church in Manchester on Sunday, January 17th, and again on January 24th. I did not try to score political points in attending but instead wanted to experience a change of pace. My contact with parishioners after the service was limited. In New Hampshire, I was grateful occasionally to be doing non-political things.
Back in my apartment, I printed nine letters by hand on white sheets but left them unaddressed and undated because I did not know which newspaper editors, if any, might print them. The idea was that these would go to newspaper editors who gave an indication of willingness to publish them before the primary. A return address and telephone number were provided. These letters read:
I am one of 28 candidates in the 2016 New Hampshire Democratic presidential primary - the only one from the midwest - who will be campaigning continuously in New Hampshire until the primary election on February 9th.
I am running in this primary to raise issues that the other candidates will not discuss. First, the electorate is excessively polarized by gender and race. The shrinking white majority is disparaged. To counteract that demoralizing situation, I announce that I like white people (being such a person myself) and support their legitimate aspirations. This does not mean that I oppose other people’s legitimate aspirations.
Second, U.S. jobs are under assault by products imported from foreign countries and by continuing advances in labor productivity. It will take a corresponding reduction in work time to maintain production equilibrium. After 75 years of the 40-hour workweek (while the productivity of labor has increased fourfold), it’s time to cut the standard workweek to 32 hours. I also call for rejection of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and its replacement by a scheme (including shorter work hours) that addresses the global oversupply of human labor.
Right now, the candidates of both political parties are not addressing the questions of greatest importance to American voters. I will not be elected President this year, but, if all goes well, my campaign for President in New Hampshire could help shape the agenda of discussion in the 2016 national election and beyond.
If interested, please take a look at my campaign website: http://www.billforpresident.org.
It’s time to shake things up! I ask for your vote in the primary election on February 9th.
William Mc Gaughey (signed)
William H. (“Bill”) McGaughey, Jr.”
This letter was a good idea but, unfortunately, I did not find monthly or weekly newspapers that would commit to publishing it. In the end, the hand-printed letters remained unaddressed and unsent.
Even so, after a few newspaper editors indicated that they would accept letters to the editor from me, I began to think that the most efficient way to campaign would be to send letters stating the purpose of my campaign to the eleven daily newspapers in New Hampshire. I also thought, to explain the letter, that I ought to give a demographic analysis of the 2012 presidential election results to show that the electorate was becoming polarized by race and by gender. No matter what the ostensible issues were, demographics drove election results. Consequently, I revised my standard letter to the editor to emphasize such themes.
The following letter was the result of this new thinking. It was a template for what I sent the daily newspapers in New Hampshire in the latter phase of my campaign:
As a resident of Minnesota, I am a candidate for President in New Hampshire’s Democratic primary.
Why am I running? To stimulate a more realistic discussion of our economic and political situation at this time.
In 2012, Barack Obama received 93% of the African American vote, and Mitt Romney only 7% of this vote. Obama received 76% of the gay / lesbian / bisexual / transgender vote, and Romney 24% of this vote. President Obama received 72% of the Asian American vote and Mitt Romney 28% of this vote. Obama received 71% of the Hispanic vote, and Romney 29% of this vote.
On the other hand, Mitt Romney received 59% of white Americans’ votes and Barack Obama, the winner of the election, only 41% of this vote. Romney received 52% of the male vote compared with 45% for Obama. However, female voters favored Obama by a 55% to 43% margin even though married women gave Romney a majority of their votes.
Why does this matter? Because, if the U.S electorate is captive to its demographic identity, then political issues become largely irrelevant. Elections are then about the two parties appealing to their respective bases to get people to the polls. We are then not one nation but two. This does not bode well for the future.
As a white man, I have carried a picket sign in New Hampshire cities inviting people to join me in a brief walk to discuss racial and gender issues. I know not what else to do to address the political situation today.
Substantively, we must be concerned with the future of jobs in an age of robots and massive outsourcing of production to low-wage countries. Labor productivity has increased four fold since the 1930s when the 40-hour week was enacted. I call for an amendment to the Fair Labor Standards Act to reduce the standard workweek to 32 hours so that a 4-day week can become universal. I also favor rejection of the Trans Pacific Partnership and its replacement by a more labor-friendly agreement that addresses the global shortage of jobs.
I am running for President in this primary because you will not otherwise get this kind of political message from the candidates. Please consider voting for me to send a message that you want fundamental political change.
William McGaughey (signed)
William H. McGaughey, Jr.”
an opinion piece for the New York Times
Finally, because I had hopes of doing well in the New Hampshire primary, I wrote an Op-Ed article for the New York Times that would be sent to that newspaper shortly before the election results became known. This was the article:
“Unspoken Realities in this year’s presidential campaign
I ran in the 2016 Democratic presidential primary because significant political realities were not being addressed.
Largely undiscussed in this year’s election campaign is the fact that the American electorate has become polarized by race and ethnicity and to a lesser extent by gender. The Democrats have the insurgent minorities; the Republicans, the white-male-dominated “majority”.
In the 2012 election, Barack Obama received 93% of the African-American vote, 76% of the GLBT vote, 72% of the Asian-American vote, and 71% of the Hispanic vote. Mitt Romney, the loser in this election, received 59% of white Americans’ votes.
Gender-wise, Mitt Romney received 52% of the male vote but only 43% of the female vote. Married women favored Romney while unmarried women went for Obama.
These election results seem to reflect a permanent situation. No matter what issues are discussed, Americans vote according to their demographic identity. Elections are then about the two parties appealing to their respective bases in an effort to get prospective supporters to the polls. We are not one nation but two. One would think that this dangerous situation would come up in political discussions but it has not
As a white man, I walked through the downtown areas of several New Hampshire cities carrying a picket sign that invited people to join me in a brief discussion of gender and racial issues. Few took me up on the offer. For white people, I think this is an area of embarrassment rather than opportunity.
My campaign also raised issues of employment. Labor productivity has increased four-fold since the 1930s when the 40-hour workweek was enacted. The subsequent failure to reduce working hours has pushed economic output into less “useful” areas of production such as gambling, corrections, health care, education and military preparedness.
In my presidential campaign, I called for an amendment to the Fair Labor Standards Act to reduce the standard workweek to 32 hours so that a 4-day week could be achieved. I also advocated rejection of the Trans Pacific Partnership and its replacement by a more labor-friendly agreement that addressed the global shortage of jobs.
In summary, the current campaign for the White House overlooks certain matters of critical importance to Americans. I gave it a shot but was, of course, outgunned.”
I had my message. The presidential debate was not broad enough. We needed to discuss also the relationship between the voters and public policy. Were the individual voters locked into policy on the basis of how they were born? Were elections won by organizing birth-determined groups into majorities, while turning others into electoral minorities, so that there was no common electorate seeking policies good for all? Secondarily, I wanted to bring back a discussion of how to revive full employment so that people were more prosperous and secure. It was a tall order but one worth pursuing in a presidential primary.
ramping up the communication effort
Limited in my ability to travel around the state because much campaign time had been spent in a hospital stay, I was now trying to send a packaged message to large and important media outlets in New Hampshire, hoping that some would take me up on the offer to communicate in this way. The problem, of course, is that there were fifty-seven other candidates in the presidential primary who had similar aspirations. Some, even most, were much better known than I was. So I had to combine letters to the editor with other techniques of communication.
The main public library in Manchester was not far from my rented residence. Free street parking was available just a block or two away from the library. Even though terminal time was limited to one hour, I was able to type and print a number of letters to the editor to newspapers such as the Cabinet Press in Milford, New Hampshire and the Courier News in Littleton. Each such letter that was printed would, hopefully, be worth votes.
After Sheila went back to Minnesota, I tried to restart my sagging campaign. I had not yet been to any cities along the sea coast. That weekend, on Saturday, January 23rd, I decided to drive east from Manchester to the Atlantic ocean along highway 101 to previously unvisited places.
My brother Andy, now deceased, had graduated from Phillips Exeter Academy in 1960, followed by a year at Harvard. Exeter, New Hampshire was just off highway 101, about ten miles from the ocean. Curiously, the current governor of New Hampshire, Maggie Hassan, is the wife of Exeter’s headmaster or, perhaps, someone who used to be in that position until recently. I stopped in Exeter for about an hour, visiting the administration building and taking an unexpected call from a tenant back in Minneapolis. I could not remember the name of the dormitory where my brother had once lived.
Then I proceeded to Hampton Beach on the ocean and drove through the largely deserted city. During the summer it must be bustling but in the winter the businesses were closed. I stopped briefly to view the Atlantic ocean and its deserted beach and then drove back home.
On Monday, January 25th, I decided to visit Concord once again. My brother-in-law, Dean Morrison, a tenant in the apartment building in Minneapolis, had previously been a truck driver with Stoughton Trucking Company of Wisconsin. His last stop on a particular run was Sanel Auto Parts in Concord, New Hampshire. He gave me the address of that firm with the idea that I would introduce myself to an employee who might remember him. I did find the firm and spoke briefly with a manager but this man seemed to have little recollection of Dean. I might have had better luck in the receiving department but did not ask to be admitted to that area.
Later, I parked near the state capitol in Concord, walking around the area with my sign. I did not attempt to enter the capitol building itself but did take photographs of several statues in front of the building. Then I took a lengthy walk with the picket sign circling the capitol area and then went back to the car.
While near the capitol, a man approached me who was also a lesser-known candidate for president. This man, Stephen Comley Sr., who was critical of the government’s handling of nuclear issues, handed me his card and photocopies of newspaper articles about his campaign. These included a photocopy of an article in the Manchester Union Leader reporting on the lesser-known candidates’ debate. Comley and I were both mentioned. I later put this article to good use in promoting my own candidacy.
I run afoul of the landlord in Manchester and have to move
But there were other, less comforting experiences, around this time. Generally speaking, I had seen little of the landlord since I moved into the apartment on January 4th. I had also been the sole occupant of the suite of rented rooms after the student conference at the Radisson hotel had ended on January 6th. My bedroom was at one end of the suite away from the kitchen, bathroom, and apartment entrance.
On the morning of January 26th, shortly after 8 a.m., I was sitting on the toilet in the bathroom still in my pajamas, when the landlord without warning entered the apartment through the exterior door and spotted me in the bathroom in what seemed to him an act of indecent exposure. He later sent me an angry email threatening to cancel my lease unless I promised that such a thing would not happen again. Although I do not remember the incidents, this landlord claimed also to have seen me wrapped in a towel after showering and, another time, seen me in my underwear.
This was the first time I had seen the landlord in weeks. I may indeed have been careless in allowing the bathroom door to remain open while I was using the toilet. To my knowledge, no one else had been in the suite of apartments in weeks.
Since the landlord wanted me gone and I expected that my health problems would force me to end the campaign early, I promised to vacate the apartment after completing the doctor’s appointment on January 29th. Then, wanting to continue the campaign through the February 9th election, I had a change of heart. The landlord agreed to suspend the eviction if there were no more incidents.
Unfortunately, however, there was another early-morning incident in which the landlord, again appearing unexpectedly, spotted urine on my pajama bottom as I was leaving the bathroom. This time he meant business. He ordered me to vacate the apartment the same day - by 1 p.m. I was not inclined to remain there under those circumstances and, fortunately, was able to find another place to stay.
On short order, I moved to the Motel 6 in Nashua, twenty miles south of Manchester. Since I would be staying there for ten nights, I was given the relatively low price of $50 per night which was, however, $15 to $20 per night higher than the previous place. My Manchester landlord did, however, agree to refund the rent to the extent of the unused time. It took me an hour or so to find the Motel 6 because I thought it was on the other side of U.S. highway but I eventually found the place and settled in. Even though my room did not have kitchen facilities, it was adequate and clean. The room was also right next to the motel office where coffee was served in the morning.
a visit with my sister in Maine and other business
Tuesday, January 26th, begun in the unpleasant incident with the landlord, was also a day when I had arranged to meet my sister, Margaret, in Portland, Maine, after she finished work in the U.S. Attorney’s office. My sister, an attorney who was seven years younger than I, headed the appeals section at that office. She proposed that we have dinner together at the Sebago Brewery restaurant on Fore Street, not far from where she worked, at 5:45 p.m. Since this visit would require a drive through previously unvisited parts of New Hampshire, I decided first to schedule stops at two newspaper offices on the way - the Portsmouth Herald in Portsmouth and Foster’ Daily Democrat in Dover.
Using my GPS device, I first tried to find the Portsmouth Herald office at 111 New Hampshire Avenue. For some reason, I became lost. I located the U.S. passport office and several businesses but not the Portsmouth Herald. Then I learned it was farther down the road. I dropped off literature, a card, and my book in the lobby.
My second destination, the newspaper in Dover, was even harder to find because many reporters worked out of a smaller office at 11 Main Street near downtown rather than the published address. But I found this, too, and then headed for Maine. Follow-up calls to both New Hampshire newspapers revealed that neither editor wanted a return visit from me; however, they might consider a letter to the editor.
Portland was about sixty miles up U.S. highway 202 and then east on highway 25. Being a bit early for the appointment, I walked through a commercial section of Portland for a few blocks before returning to the restaurant. Margaret arrived a short time later. She could not spend too much time with me because her husband, George, was ill at home in Brunswick, about 25 miles away.
We had a good visit. I assured Margaret that my health problems were not that serious. We caught up on news involving several relatives. Then we had a waitress snap two photographs of us together. It had been years, even decades, since I had spent time alone with Margaret. Afterwards, I drove back to Manchester, via Portsmouth, on interstate highways. Stopping for gas on the way home, I bought a New Hampshire sweat shirt in Candia.
Later in the week, I continued to prepare letters to the editor of daily newspapers that I had tried to contact. They were typed on computers at the Manchester public library. I also decided to buy some souvenirs at the St. Anselm Institute of Politics that were on display during the January 19th debate. These included three ceramic coffee mugs, a thermos bottle, and a wool jacket, all bearing the inscription of “St. Anselm College - first-in-the-nation presidential primary.”
On Friday the 29th of January, I had my ten-minute interview with radio station WNTK in New London, which Ben Sarro had proposed several weeks earlier, at 8:15 a.m. I thought it went well. Finally, on Saturday I decided to visit the Nashua Telegraph office in nearby Hudson, but it was closed.
Besides campaigning, I also stayed in New Hampshire for follow-up appointments to a doctor in Hooksett, just north of Manchester, which the Elliott hospital had arranged. The initial appointment was on Friday, January 22nd, around noon. A follow-up one was set for week later at roughly the same time. The doctor was Gus Emmick. On the 22nd, he interviewed me for around 20 minutes and sent me downstairs for blood tests. In particular, he gave me a memory test which I failed. It had to do with recalling three animals. I remembered one. The only positive development was that I had lost ten pounds. I used to weigh around 240. It was now down to 229.
Doctor Emmick told me that I had diabetes and high blood pressure. Medication was prescribed. He also told Sheila that I was in an early stage of dementia. I had “small vein” disease in my brain that restricted blood flow. I had a certain degeneration of memory in my left frontal lobe due to restricted blood vessels. All this came as a bit of a shock to me since, despite problems experienced during the last several months, I had always considered myself to be in relatively good health. But I was becoming aware of memory loss in the increasing inability to remember names.
I was given certain patient instructions during my visit on January 29th:
“When you return to Minnesota, Follow up with your doctor at Hennepin Medical Center.
Follow up for diabetes.
With memory changes, some of the neurologic symptoms would benefit from (Neuro-Psych testing)”
The third point was in enlarged lettering and bold print.
(Unfortunately, I forgot to inquire about neuro-psych testing when I returned to Minnesota. I admit I have a certain memory impairment. I have greater difficulty remembering names than before I traveled to New Hampshire.)
a decision to continue the campaign
Sheila had made a reservation for me to fly from Manchester to Detroit and then from Detroit to the Twin Cities on Saturday, January 30th, on Delta airline. I knew nothing about this. My need to stay in New Hampshire for medical reasons was past. I had to make a decision whether my primary campaign, now partially derailed, warranted further stay in the state. I decided to continue. The last week, following the Iowa caucuses, would be the critical period for campaigning in New Hampshire. Why abort the campaign at this time? The main difference would be that I would be campaigning from a residence in Nashua rather than Manchester even though Manchester remained the center of activity. Every day, I would have to drive 20 miles on the 293 turnpike, paying a dollar toll, and then drive back again for a night’s rest.
I was starting to receive interview offers from media producers covering the primary. Joe Lahr, with Manchester public television and radio station WMNH 95.3 FM, asked if I would participate in a show that he would do on Monday, February 8th, and Tuesday, February 9th, from the Radisson hotel in Manchester. I could stop by any time after noon on those dates and be put on the air.
A television producer, Rob King, invited me to participate in a satyrical news program that would be taped on Monday evening, February 8th. I would show up at 6:30 p.m. for the first taping. The venue was later determined to be at the Hilton Garden Inn at 101 South Commercial Street in Manchester, just down the road from WMUR-TV, in the Tower Suite.
A later offer came from Nathan Thornburgh, a former Time magazine reporter who now produced a show called “Roads and Kingdoms”. He and a cameraman were coming from out of town to cover the New Hampshire primary. They wanted footage from me.
Another prospect, which excited me at the time but which did not pan out, was an inquiry from Alyona Minkovski, who said she was with the Huffington Post. She asked if I was interested in being interviewed. I was, of course, but then I did not hear from her again until, when asked, she said she had a change in plans. There was also an inquiry from David Mayer, a reporter with the Stonybrook Press which might have been related to an educational institution. He did not follow up on my offer to meet.
From reading an ad in the Hippo alternative newspaper, I learned, finally, that a group called NHRebellion.org would be holding a “We the People Convention” in a tent pitched in Veterans Memorial Park in downtown Manchester, just across from the Radisson hotel on successive days between Friday, February 5th and Sunday, February 7th. There was a website to register for the event and view the daily schedules. I jumped at this opportunity because it would give me something informative and useful to do in the critical few days before the primary election on Tuesday.
the campaign is revived from my new quarters in Nashua
I felt relatively secure over the weekend of January 30th and 31st believing I could stay in Manchester through election day. But then a repeat incident with the landlord occurred and I suddenly had to move.
Monday, February 1st, was spent packing my belongings in the car and driving down to Nashua to check in at the Motel 6. Even though I had the address - 2 Progress Drive - it took me more than an hour to find this motel because, not locating it on the map, I mistakenly thought the Motel 6 was east of U.S. highway 3. As it was, the directions were rather complicated. But I did check in for ten days and paid $543.40. Hopefully, my previous landlord would give me a partial refund.
It was the date of the Iowa caucuses whose results I religiously watched on television that evening. Hillary Clinton won narrowly over Sanders. Ted Cruz was a surprise winner on the Republican side. New Hampshire would be next to experience the media onslaught. In other words, the show would move to this state. I could not find the charger for my two cell phones so I bought another at a nearby Radio Shack on the following day. Now settled in a new place, I wasted little time in resuming my campaign.
Tuesday morning, February 2nd, I again visited the offices of the Nashua Telegraph. Originally reluctant to meet, the editor, Roger Carroll, gave me five to ten minutes of discussion time in a conference room. I was off to a promising start. Then I drove west on highway 101A toward Milford. I think Hillary Clinton might have been having a campaign rally at the community college there because a large group of campaign cheerleaders with her signs was performing on the edge of the campus. Because its parking lot was full, I did not try to attend.
Next, I continued on to Keene in the southwestern part of the state and to its newspaper, the Keene Sentinel, which had been founded in the 1790s. I arrived around 1 p.m. I needed to speak with an editor, Anika Clark, but she had not yet returned from lunch. After waiting for a time, I decided to visit the other daily newspaper in the area, the Eagle Times in Claremont, and then return.
The drive to Claremont along state highways took at least an hour. Then I could not find its offices supposedly at 401 River road, west of town. I could not even find the address. Giving up, I tried to return to Keene but took the wrong road. Realizing this, I was just turning around to go back to U.S. highway 12 when, looking up, I spotted the offices of the Eagles Times just across the road. It was a surrealistic experience.
After dropping off campaign literature at this newspaper office, I raced back to Keene along the same winding highways as before, arriving in town around 4:45 p.m. The front door of the Keene Sentinel was locked. Fortunately, some departing employees let me in and I went up to the second floor. Anika was still at her desk. I made my pitch and left materials. She promised to review them. Then I had trouble finding the route back to Nashua, taking instead a road that would have gone to Concord. After all these mishaps, I did manage to find the Motel 6 in Nashua. I was exhausted and confused.
Democratic presidential debates on two successive days as a new health problem develops
Wednesday, February 3rd was the date of the first debate in New Hampshire among the Democratic presidential candidates. In fact, this debate to be held in Derry (less than ten miles east of Nashua) would be followed on the very next day, February 4th, by another one involving the same two candidates in Durham, New Hampshire. Martin O’Malley had dropped out of the race after the Iowa caucuses so both debates would be between the two remaining major candidates, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. It was a double header that I could not miss.
I spent the earlier part of the day, February 3rd, calling daily newspapers around the state but was unable to reach anyone who expressed interest in doing a story. Mostly I left messages.
Later in the day, I left for Derry around 5:30 p.m., not knowing when or where the debate would be held. (It was at the old opera house on Broadway.) Ushers were already taking tickets which I did not have. However, I met a number of interesting persons including the son of another Democratic candidate, Rocky de la Fuente, who gave me his father’s campaign sweat shirt, and a female reporter for the Derry newspaper who interviewed me and took photographs. I was carrying my sign and wearing the large Mexican hat.
I hung around for an hour and then napped in the car before returning to the scene in front of the Opera House. The group of Jewish protesters who had earlier appeared in force had gone some place else. The two-hour debate between Sanders and Clinton would start at 9 p.m. Feeling physically uncomfortable, I left before it even started. But at least for a time I had been part of the crowd.
The strain of attending this event must have taken a toll on my health for the big toe on my left foot was swollen and dark. Pus had built up behind the toenail, which had turned black. I had trouble sleeping because of the pain. I decided to return to the Elliot urgent-care clinic on February 4th.
The doctor took this situation seriously. He even suggested that my big toe might have to be amputated if the condition worsened. In the meanwhile, the doctor cut into my skin to drain the pus and prescribed two types of antibiotic to fight the infection. He also recommended a Probiotic to aid in healing. I purchased these medications at a nearby CVS pharmacy. Now I was on six different medications, up from none when I arrived in the state a month earlier.
After addressing my medical needs, I undertook several quick campaign stops in Manchester. The first was to offices of the Hippo newspaper whose issues I had been reading each week. Unfortunately, there would be no further issues before the primary. Then I stopped by television station WMUR-TV to see if John Di Stasio was in. He was not. I left a message but he never called back. Finally, I drove over to the offices of the Manchester Union Leader east of town. The receptionist in the lobby called five or six different reporters but learned they had all gone to Durham to cover the MSNBC presidential debate.
There was nothing left for me to do but to join these reporters. I promptly drove to Durham, site of the second Democratic presidential debate at the University of New Hampshire. The crowds were much larger than in Derry a night earlier. With some difficulty, I found a spot to park my car not far from a place where I had bought a Subway sandwich. I then walked some distance to a place where I thought the debate might be held. Mistaken, I had to reverse my steps to enter a U-shaped road that led to the entrance of the debate. A small crowd was gathered there but no demonstrators.
My outlandish hat and sign immediately caught the attention of a film crew with the Young Turk Network who wanted to interview me. (The Young Turk Network - YTN - website describes itself as the largest online news show in the world.) I was obviously a white racist. The interviewer, Jordan Chariton, asked me a series of pointed questions that put me on the defensive for much of the time. I tried to explain why I felt white people needed to discuss their political situation and try to elevate themselves but was not doing well. None of my arguments seemed persuasive to the interviewer. At length, I revealed that I was married to a black woman. This revelation seemed to have some effect but it was uncertain what that would be. (See youtube video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=44bmQDEuhKk). This concept proved so interesting that a second part was added. That video is found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qj8exK_YLYI. The first video had 4,516 hits as of 5/12/16; and the second, 7,505 hits.)
After the interview, I hung around this place for a time but was held back by security people as Clinton and Sanders arrived. I could see a group of boisterous demonstrators off in the distance but was unable to walk in that direction because the Secret Service was ordering people to stay back. Somewhat discouraged and in poor health, I decided to drive home and watch the events on television.
Surprisingly, the cameraman for the Young Turk Network, Eric Byler, openly expressed sympathy for me toward the end of the interview. If I was a white racist, I had an unusual background and attitudes. He later sent me an email saying it took courage to do what I did. For my part, I sensed decency and good will.
After I had returned home, this person emailed me to the effect that they wished to do a Part 2 of the interview focusing on my relationship with my wife. He and Sheila later had a brief conversation. She was a bit uncomfortable about what might come of the interview but gamely cooperated. (Was I using her as a prop to deflect criticism?) I, in turn, thought the follow-up interview held the promise of fostering a real discussion of racial issues.
the final stretch - two daysat the NHRebellion rally in Manchester
The next big item on my list was the three-day NHRebellion event in downtown Manchester, starting February 5th. As luck would have it, there was a heavy snow storm on that day. I decided to stay in Nashua instead of risking car trouble. I spent the day at the motel trying to line up radio interviews with stations around the state. My typed list included at least seventy stations, both FM and AM. Many had common ownership.
This activity, while promising, achieved limited success. It netted only one interview with a station in North Conway at 9 a.m. on the following day which lasted about 15 minutes. This, too, was a highlight of the campaign. But none of the station managers whose email addresses I had received bothered to get back to me. The station in Laconia supposedly had a call-in show on the weekend, but, when I tried to call the number, there was no response. I did speak with the manager of the station in Derry who said he might call me on Monday. The call never came. If I had tried to line up radio interviews earlier, my success rate might have been better.
Previously, weekends had been dead. But as the primary date approached, an organization that had advertised in the Hippo newspaper, NHRebellion, held an event, free of charge, in a park on Elm Street in Manchester. Having missed the first day because of the snow storm, I was determined to make the most of the opportunity on the two remaining days.
Mostly, I wanted to meet actor Sam Waterston who was scheduled to attend the event both on Friday and Saturday. Years ago, I had been in a play, Oedipus Rex, with Waterston in Davenport college at Yale. He had played the lead character while I had one line. Saturday morning, I did manage to talk briefly with Waterston. He remembered acting in the play at Yale. I gave him my card and half-sheet of literature but did not speak with him again before he left the event. Evidently, it had taken Waterston five hours to drive in Friday’s snow storm to New Hampshire from his Connecticut home.
Despite the star-studded lineup, the tent was only half full. The online schedule indicated that Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan had all been invited to participate. In the end, only U.S. Senator Corey Booker of New Jersey appeared, representing Clinton. But there were other interesting persons who did attend.
One was Jacqueline Salit from New York City who was with an organization representing independent voters. Back in January 2003, I had attended an event in lower Manhattan which she had helped to organize under the auspices of the Committee for a Unified Independent Party. Third-party presidential candidate Leona Fulani was head of this organization. Salit and I spoke briefly.
Hedrick Smith, formerly a Pulitzer-prizewinning reporter with the New York Times and more recently a producer for Frontline on public television, was interviewed during the noon hour. He stuck around for the entire afternoon. I decided to buy his recent book, Who Stole the American Dream? Smith generously inscribed the book for me. The inscription read: “To Bill McGaughey. So glad we met at the “We the People convention” to push for reform of the political system. Wish you well. Hedrick A. Smith 2/6/16” It was the kindest greeting I had received in a long time.
Another political luminary was Congressman John Sarbanes of Maryland. (I mistakenly thought he might be the author of the Sarbanes-Oxley bill but that was his father. ) Even so, John Sabanes participated in an intelligent discussion at the conference and stuck around for much of the afternoon.
Still another person of renown was Ben Cohen of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream fame. He spoke for about ten minutes and made good sense. Then small portions of his product were served in the back of the tent.
Finally, there was Larry Lessig, a professor at Harvard Law School, who had distinguished himself by raising $1 million on social media sites to run for President of the United States. He also walked 185 miles from Dixville Notch to Nashua in New Hampshire but then suspended his presidential campaign in November 2015. Lessig wanted to lessen the influence of money in politics.
The Republican presidential candidates were having a debate at St. Anselm college Saturday evening. A group of participants at the NH Rebellion was planning to walk several miles from this convention to the site of the debate. I decided not to join them because I wanted to hear Lessig and other speakers at the end of the program. The event organizer allowed another presidential candidate, Fred Schultz, to speak briefly. I was waiting for my turn on the following day. I could and should have driven to St. Anselm to join the crowd of demonstrators but did not. The two Democratic debates had worn me out and I wanted to return to Nashua.
The NHRebellion convention continued for a half day on Sunday morning. Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate for President in 2012, spoke at 10: 45 Sunday morning. I had a brief moment of conversation with her after she was interviewed outside the tent following her presentation.
The convention schedule indicated that some of the lesser-known presidential candidates might be allowed to speak briefly in the morning on Sunday. I asked an organizer of the convention on Saturday if I could be included. Sunday morning I was told that would not be possible. Persistent, I proposed that the microphone be kept open after adjournment. The chief organizer, Dan Weeks, agreed to this. So it was that I grabbed the microphone up front to make my case as a presidential candidate for a few minutes as the audience was filing out the tent or gathering in discussion groups in the back. No one seemed to be paying attention to my chatter.
Since I was downtown and parked in a place not subject to time limits for parking, I decided to walk down Elm Street in Manchester from the park to Bridge Street and then back again, wearing my Mexican hat and carrying the sign. It was a distance of about ten blocks. Occasionally, I ran into persons, mostly young, who were willing to talk. But even as a solitary activity, it was good exercise. There were no unpleasant incidents.
Back at the park forty minutes later, I ran into a young film producer who was interviewing Fred Schultz. He soon turned his attention to me. We conducted a taped interview for about ten minutes. There was also a middle-aged man, David Mittell, Jr. who was the editor of a small newspaper in Massachusetts, the Duxbury Clipper. This was an unexpected windfall for me. We engaged in pleasant conversation before leaving the scene. Meanwhile, organizers and workers connected with NHRebellion were busy dismantling equipment in the park and later the tent itself. Fortunately for me, the last thing to go were the public toilets.
campaign activities of the last two days
The climax of my stay in New Hampshire came on the following two days, February 8th and election day, February 9th. After repeated inquiries from me, the reporter for the Huffington Post sent a message to the effect that she would not be doing an interview at this time. But there were still at least three solid opportunities to gain publicity: the interview with Manchester public television and radio some time in the early afternoon, participation in the satyrical news show at http:thecrisp.network arranged by Rob King which would start at 6:30 p.m., and the interview at an unscheduled time with Nathan Thornburgh of Roads and Kingdoms who would be arriving in town soon.
The first-mentioned opportunity was available on a first-come, first-served basis. By the time I arrived at the Radisson hotel, six or seven other people were already on the list. The interview would take place in a large room hosting interviews with a number of different news organizations. A scheduler said she would try to put me on the list of persons to be interviewed by the Manchester station but ultimately was unsuccessful that day. She did arrange for me to be interviewed briefly by Juliana Spano of the student radio station at Hofstra University on Long Island, WRHU-FM.
Even so, it was exciting to be in this place, on the second level at the Radisson hotel, where intense media activity was taking place. There were several clusters of activity on this floor as well as others on the floor below. I eventually summoned the courage to ask several media people if they would be interested in interviewing me as a lesser-known presidential candidate. Some politely took my name while others immediately turned me down.
I repeatedly encountered my fellow candidate Stephen Comley in the upstairs hall. Another candidate who called himself “Vermin Supreme” also wandered by. He was a quirky character who wore a boot for a hat and had been a the subject of a film that I saw at a film festival in Minneapolis. I had bought his tee shirt. Finally I saw Dan Weeks of NHRebellion fame. We shook hands.
During this time, on Monday afternoon, I spotted David Muir, anchor of the ABC network news program, walking through the hallway on the floor below. An hour so so later, he walked by in the opposite direction. I approached Muir, introduced myself as a candidate, and shook hands. Then a number of other people recognized Muir and introduced themselves. Some took selfies with Muir who politely accepted the attention. At length he was able to enter an elevator and go on to his next appointment.
I was waiting for Nathan Thornburgh to arrive. He and a camera man did appear around 2 p.m. We went to a quiet place on the first floor to do the interview. By this time, I had developed a line of conversation that began with a racial and gender analysis of the 2012 election results involving Romney and Obama and ended with advocacy of a four-day, thirty-two hour workweek and opposition to the TPP. Thornburgh was a good interviewer so we also covered other topics as well. We did several different takes of my summary statement. Then Thornburgh and the cameraman hurried off saying they wanted to catch the late-night action at Dixville Notch in northern New Hampshire, site of the early election returns.
Seeing that further opportunities for publicity might be difficult at the Radisson hotel, I thought I might spend an hour or two demonstrating with my sign at the corner of Elm and Bridge Streets in Manchester. I parked my car four blocks up Bridge and walked to the busy corner. However, I did not wear gloves so my hands became bitterly cold. Within fifteen minutes, it was clear that I could not continue with my demonstration much longer. So I walked back to the car and sat there for more than half an hour warming my hands until I was reasonably comfortable. I then looked for a place to eat dinner. Ultimately, I found this in a Greek restaurant not far from the Radisson where I limited myself to a small sandwich. I happened to notice that Donald Trump would be holding a rally later that day, 7 p.m., at the nearby Verizon Arena.
My last appointment for the day was to tape Rob King’s show, “Doin It Live”, at the Hilton Garden Inn. Because I arrived early, the room for the interview was still locked. But I did not mind waiting in the lobby. Shortly before 6:30, I returned to the interview room which was filled with persons involved in production. The interviewer was a personable young African American man named Whit Blackwell. It turned out that he had grown up in Rochester, Minnesota, where his father was associated with the Mayo clinic. We had a lively ten-minute interview covering my standard set of topics. I was impressed with the professionalism of this operation. One of my fellow Democratic candidates, Lloyd Kelso, was standing outside at the door as I left the room.
My main business accomplished, I returned to a parking space not far from the Verizon Arena where the Trump rally would soon be underway. Although security was tight, no tickets were required for this event. I found a seat in the middle level in back with a good view of the stage. This was my first rally for any presidential candidate in 2016. Donald Trump put on a good show. Many spectators in my section held small cardboard signs saying “TRUMP - make America great again”,“The silent majority stands with TRUMP”, or some such message.
Donald Trump, an experienced impresario, stood at the distant podium delivering his standard monolog. He introduced his wife and his pregnant daughter who each briefly greeted the crowd. Occasionally, there would be disturbances in the stands when security guards would appear and whisk the offender away. But mainly the spirit was upbeat. “Make America great again”. Afterwards, Trump mingled with the crowd on the first level for an extended period. I gathered a few of the discarded campaign signs in my now-deserted seating area and returned to Nashua.
The primary election itself took place on the following day, Tuesday, February 9th. My only campaign event that day was to try to participate in the Manchester public radio show, “Radio Row”, that had begun on the previous day. The female scheduler successfully lined me up this day and I did the interview in the crowded broadcast area. I hung around hoping for another opportunity but my campaign was now essentially finished. Voting was underway in the state.
I tried to gain one more meaningful experience from the New Hampshire in attempting to join Bernie Sanders’ victory celebration which would be held at the Concord high school. A member of the radio crew at the Radisson had tipped me off as to its location. The high school in Concord is located more than a mile west of Highway 3. I arrived around 5 p.m. and easily found a place to park in a nearby residential area. There were two lines forming at the high school - one for media people and the other for members of the general public. I initially picked the wrong one but corrected the mistake.
A group of fifty to one hundred persons stood outside the Concord high school waiting to be admitted to the Sanders rally. It turned out that only students at that high school were authorized to be admitted. Sometimes security people flatly informed us that members of the general public would not be admitted to the building. Sometimes they hinted that the restrictions might be relaxed at a certain time. In any event, the mostly upbeat crowd gathered in front of the high-school entrance refused to go away - all but me, that is.
Around 7:30 p.m., I decided that it did not make sense to remain outside the high school in hopes of being admitted to the Sanders rally when I had a long drive ahead of me on the following day. So I returned to the Motel 6 in Nashua, packed my belongings for the trip home, and watched Bernie Sanders claim victory in the New Hampshire primary on the motel’s television set.
On the following day, I climbed into the car and drove back to my house in Milford, Pennsylvania. Then, on the day after that, I went to New York City to visit a girl friend from the 1960s. We talked for an hour at lunch in a small restaurant near her apartment. I spent another day in Milford and then, on Saturday, began the long journey back to Minnesota which took two whole days. I was able to complete the trip without difficulty. At this time I had no idea how many votes I had received in the primary. The complete returns were not reported in the Union Leader for February 10th.
The odometer in my car read 165,938 when I returned home to Minnesota. It had reported 161,260 miles when I left on January 2nd. That meant that the trip to New Hampshire had involved 4,678 miles of driving. My records indicate that the distance between Minneapolis and Milford is roughly 1,200 miles; and between Milford and Manchester, 280 miles. This would suggest that I drove roughly 1,700 miles in New Hampshire and Maine between January 6th and February 9th. Had I been in good health and able fully to campaign, the instate driving might have involved more miles.
With 60 percent of the vote, Sanders won a resounding victory over Clinton in the New Hampshire primary. Trump won the Republican primary with a third of the vote in a much more crowded field. How did I do? Not so well, it turned out.
A blogger on the e-democracy forum in Minneapolis posted a message to the effect that I had received only 2 votes in the primary election. That turned out not to be true, but the actual result was not much better. When all the primary votes were counted, I had received only 17 votes. My vote total put me in 22nd place among the 28 candidates in the Democratic primary.
I was stunned. It was a terrible result. To receive 17 votes as a reward for campaigning five weeks in a state like New Hampshire was not good.
Maybe I exaggerate the extent to which a candidate can risk becoming associated with white racism at this time in the nation’s political life. The whispering may have been there, but, on the whole, I thought my candidacy was well received. Or was it simply that persons with positive feelings about this would vote for Sanders or Clinton and not for a political unknown?
In any event, it was by far the worst result in any election campaign in which I have been involved. My political standing was near absolute zero. What else can I say? How dare I treat race in an unconventional way.
Even so, I do believe that race relations in the United States remain unresolved in a positive way. Slavery ended here a century and a half ago. Legal segregation, which existed mostly in the south, ended a half century ago. No race of human beings is completely perfect or imperfect. And, yes, we are going to have to reduce work time if Americans are going to remain reasonably employed. We are going to have to change many of our ideas about the economy and politics. This could be a pivotal year.
People are tired of political correctness. At some point, the human spirit is going to rise above this and, yes, even white people are going to become reasonably proud of themselves as human beings. Racial politics is going to be seen as petty and misguided some day. I may be in the grave at that time, but I will die believing that I did the right thing in going against the racial orthodoxy that exists now. I did what I could when I could do it and have nothing more to say at this time.
See (Manchester) Union Leader article, "Lesser-known presidential candidates seize the spotlight".
See also: "My career as a wingnut candidate for high political office"
If you're still interested, see: "Can a white man achieve identity heaven?"
And then this: My Identity Organization: a Call to Action (for straight white males)
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