Boston Globe says vote for Hillary, but does New Hampshire care?

The Boston Globe is one of several area papers to endorse Hillary Clinton's presidential bid, but New Hampshire's Democrats don't seem to be listening. 

Patrick Semansky/ AP
Rich Fullerton, a retired teacher, sports a photo of Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton at a Clinton presidential campaign event at the Danceland Ballroom in Davenport, Iowa, on January 23.

New Hampshire's famously independent "Live free or die" voters don't always appreciate outsiders' advice. But the Boston Globe is offering some, anyway: vote for Hillary Clinton.

The paper endorsed the former New York Senator and Secretary of State on Sunday, writing that Ms. Clinton has what it takes to protect and expand the Obama years' milestone achievements, from the nuclear deal with Iran to gun control. Editors supported Barack Obama in 2008, but say the country, and Clinton herself, have been transformed.

"This is Clinton's time," the Globe writes:

She is more seasoned, more grounded, and more forward-looking than in 2008, and has added four years as secretary of state to her already formidable resume. Democrats in the Granite State should not hesitate to choose her.

While the editors applaud Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders's focus on inequality, which has forced other candidates to make room for working-class issues, they argue that Clinton's foreign experience and moderation are better suited to the job.

Candidates have been scrambling for endorsements ahead of the Iowa caucus and the New Hampshire primary on Feb. 1 and 9, respectively, and the Globe's stamp of approval could prove a major boon. Yet it also highlights one of New Hampshire's many paradoxes: residents may not care about news media endorsements. And while they're still passionate about the primaries, state voters' cherished independence and face-to-face politicking may be changing, as national media increasingly obsesses over early states' predictions. 

The Globe is one of at least four area papers to support Clinton's presidential bid: The Portsmouth Herald, Concord Monitor, and Foster's Daily Democrat endorsed her, while editors at the Union Leader, the state's largest publication, gave Republican N.J. Gov. Chris Christie a much-needed boost back in November. 

But New Hampshire's Democrats seem set on Senator Sanders. Polls show him leading Clinton by a range of three to 27 points. In Iowa, the two are running neck and neck.

An out-of-state endorsement clearly aimed at Granite Staters may seem like meddling, but Massachusetts has deep ties to New Hampshire's 1.3 million residents. 17 percent leave the state for work each morning, and many head to Boston; practically all of its major towns and cities are in the lower half of the state, which borders Massachusetts. 

But there are time-honored differences in the two states' politics, and the quirks of New Hampshire's small size and independent mindset color its much-hyped primaries, which celebrate their 100th birthday this year. Registered independents can choose which party primary to vote in, for example, and voters have historically rewarded candidates who make time for town-hall talks and courting local figures.

"There's an old joke about the New Hampshire primary," the Globe's James Pindell shared on January 20:

A presidential contender asks a taciturn voter whether he’d earned his support. "Can’t say," the voter demurs. "After all, I’ve only met you three times."

But the rules seem to be changing, given Granite State Republicans' support for candidates who delight in flouting them, like Donald Trump. And some say it doesn't much matter. The state hasn't always predicted the eventual party nominee, and the main interests of its largely white, rural voters don't reflect Americans as a whole, although that may help explain Sanders' advantage. 

Another possibility is that the Globe's influence on voters may come later in election season.  Endorsements don't suddenly convince skeptics. But they may give them pause.

"People aren’t going to vote for Christie because the Union Leader endorsed him," former N.H. Republican Party chairman Fergus Cullen told the Monitor in November. "But they will say, 'Boy, maybe I ought to take another look at this guy.'"

"That’s why it’s really helpful. It gives cover to others to come on board."

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