27/11/2022

ROCHESTER, N.H. — New Hampshire Democrats are on edge ahead of Tuesday’s primary and feeling immense pressure to pick the candidate with the best chance of defeating President Trump.

ROCHESTER, N.H.  New Hampshire Democrats are on edge ahead of Tuesdays primary and feeling immense pressure to pick the candidate with the best chance of defeating President TrumpDonald John Trump Biden says Buttigieg is ‘not a Barack Obama’ on NH campaign trailDemocrats make final pitch at rowdy NH political spectaclePelosi: Vindman ouster is ‘shameful’MORE.
The anxiety over who is best equipped to defeat Trump has blotted out the policy battles and put electability at the forefront of voter minds to an unusual degree. 
At townhalls and forums across the state, the presidential candidates are being challenged by voters, who above all want to be convinced that their contenders have the ability to go one-on-one with the president. 
The new fears about beating Trump come after one of the presidents best weeks since he took office; he was acquitted by the Senate in his impeachment trial and polls show his job approval rating reaching new highs amid voter optimism about the economy.
Democrats, meanwhile, are fresh off the Iowa caucuses debacle and facing the potential for a long primary fight. 
Were anxious, said Jim Demers, a veteran Democratic strategist in New Hampshire.
For a year now, people have been saying that theyll vote for the candidate they believe has the best chance of beating Trump, and now that the impeachment process is finished and he was acquitted, people are even more anxious about getting this right,” he continued. “For most voters, they think the candidates are close enough on the issues that its become about who has the best chance of winning. Thats what is front and center on everyones minds.
And adding to the tension, voters see reasons for concern about the electability of the top Democrats seeking the nomination.
Sen. Bernie SandersBernie Sanders Biden says Buttigieg is ‘not a Barack Obama’ on NH campaign trailDemocrats make final pitch at rowdy NH political spectacleIowa Democratic Party reviewing results from 95 precincts following caucusesMORE (I-Vt.) and South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul Buttigieg Biden says Buttigieg is ‘not a Barack Obama’ on NH campaign trailIowa Democratic Party reviewing results from 95 precincts following caucusesBloomberg meets with Democratic governorsMORE are running tight at the top of New Hampshire polls, but some Democrats are worried that Sanderss embrace of socialism will be a disaster at the ballot box.
Buttigieg, meanwhile, is facing questions about his age and experience.
Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe Biden Biden says Buttigieg is ‘not a Barack Obama’ on NH campaign trailBloomberg meets with Democratic governorsMayors come to Buttigieg’s defense over Biden adMORE finished fourth in the Iowa caucuses and may be headed for another tough showing in New Hampshire, further denting his electability argument. The female candidates, led by Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenDemocrats make final pitch at rowdy NH political spectacleIowa Democratic Party reviewing results from 95 precincts following caucusesSunday shows preview: Top tier 2020 Democrats make their case before New Hampshire primaryMORE (D-Mass.) and Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharDemocrats make final pitch at rowdy NH political spectacleSunday shows preview: Top tier 2020 Democrats make their case before New Hampshire primaryPelosi’s miscalculation and Trump hatredMORE (D-Minn.), have faced questions about whether a woman can defeat Trump.
The electability question dominated Friday nights debate in the Granite State.
Businessman Tom SteyerTom Fahr SteyerButtigieg, Sanders aim to build momentum from New Hampshire debateKlobuchar blasts Trump for his criticism of world leadersSanders says NH Democratic senators were wrong to back Trump’s USMCAMORE repeatedly raised the alarm that Democrats are headed for defeat in November if they dont nominate a candidate who can cut into Trumps advantage with the economy.
No question that after this week, theres a real threat that Donald Trump can get reelected, Steyer said.
Both Sanders and Buttigieg are coming under intense fire from their rivals, who are warning that a socialist and a young, relatively inexperienced mayor will get crushed by Trump in the general election.
However, Sanders has pointed to the spike in youth turnout in the Iowa caucuses, and made the case that Democrats need his coalition of energized young people, working class voters and those who are new to the political process to defeat Trump.
At the famed Politics and Eggs forum this week in Manchester, Massachusetts businessman Lenny Glynn, a Democrat, told Sanders hes worried that if the Vermont senator is nominated, then the U.S. election results will mirror the British election results, where Labour Party nominee Jeremy Corbyn took them to the worst defeat theyve had in half a century.
Sanders conceded that Trump is going to be difficult to defeat.
Is Trump going to be an easy opponent? No, he responded. Hes going to be a difficult opponent for a whole lot of reasons.
Buttigieg, meanwhile, has made the generational case, arguing that its time to turn the page on the old way of doing things in Washington. The small-town Midwest mayor has said that the best anecdote to Trump is to nominate a candidate who intimately knows the plight of working class voters in the American heartland.
In Keene, New Hampshire, upwards of 1,000 voters from across the state and New England gathered at a Buttigieg rally at Keene State College. 
While a number of the attendees said they were still undecided, they were united in their concern that the eventual candidate needs to meet the criteria of being able to defeat Trump.
Vermont voter Margaret Burton, who is undecided but traveled just over the state border to hear what Buttigieg had to say, said she could see Buttigieg holding his own in a head-to-head battle with Trump. 
Hes so smart. I like that he doesnt get flustered, she said. I think he could stand up to a debate with Trump. 
Even the lower-tier candidates are having to answer the question of whether they have what it takes to go up against the president.
Former Gov. Deval PatrickDeval PatrickDemocrats make final pitch at rowdy NH political spectacleThe Hill’s Campaign Report: Democrats set for critical debate in New HampshirePatrick says he sees path beyond New Hampshire despite low polling MORE, who is polling low in New Hampshire despite his status as a former New England governor, got the question at an intimate meeting with members of the Islamic Society of New Hampshire in Manchester on Friday. 
The only candidate I want is one that can beat Donald Trump, a member of the mosque told Patrick. Youre my ideal candidate, but can you assure us?
Youre right. Everyone is focused on beating Donald Trump and that is the first order of business,” Patrick replied. “Interestingly, beating Donald Trump isnt just up to the candidate; its up to all of us.”
New Hampshire voters feel another layer of anxiety after the Iowa caucuses failed to produce a clear winner. And while the Granite State is often overlooked as a battleground, Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonPelosi’s miscalculation and Trump hatredSanders, Buttigieg rise in New Hampshire poll days before primaryThe betrayal of Democratic voters: Many ‘liberals’ need Trump to winMORE only carried the state by about 3,000 votes in 2016, and the Trump campaign is eager to flip it into the GOP column.
The first order of business, Democrats say, is to move beyond impeachment and the partisan battles in Washington to hammer home an economic message about how electing Democrats will make peoples lives better.
Guy Cecil the chairman of Priorities USA, a progressive advocacy organization has been warning that the general election will be very, very close. In a memo released this week, he urged Democrats to move on from impeachment and to focus on lower prescription drug costs, expanding access to health care, and protecting entitlement programs.
If Democrats dont do a better job of putting them front and center, we will lose a very winnable election to Donald Trump, Cecil said. 
Still, many Democrats are bullish about their chances of beating Trump, with everyone agreeing that Democrats will rally around their eventual nominee, whoever it is. 
They think Trump will have a hard time expanding his base of support and insist they wont be caught flat-footed in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, as they were in 2016.
But in the back of their minds, Democrats acknowledge that Trump has shown surprising strength in the face of persistent controversy…and he has a record of winning.
I wouldnt say Im anxious, said Bob Mulholland, a Democratic National Committee member from California who has a decades long tradition of traveling to New Hampshire for the primary. But I have the jitters.