Just when I thought my mission was over…I volunteered to work for the infamous Ted Cruz again.
After getting first place in Iowa “my” candidate Senator Ted Cruz was “cruzing” to New Hampshire to see if he could keep up the momentum. Tuesday night we saw the momentum was slightly lacking when he finished third place with 11.7 percent (compared to Trumps 35.3 percent and Kasich’s 15.8 percent). My peers (agents) and I who worked with Cruz weren’t surprised at all. We started Monday with our drive to Manchester New Hampshire to the Cruz NH headquarters. When we arrived we were all very surprised (especially myself) at how dire the conditions seemed there. In Iowa, my Cruz headquarters was a polar opposite of what we saw in Manchester. In Iowa is was a well-oiled machine full of passion and cheerfulness. In New Hampshire it was almost saddening, obviously people were working very hard but it was something off in the atmosphere.
Our group was actually meeting a Wake Forest Grad (our connect) and as we arrived in Manchester we called him and he told us to come to Concord (which was around 15 minutes away) and that he has a lot for us to do. We left immediately and were excited to see what awaited us, however when we arrived to the Cruz office in Concord it didn’t get better. We walk into an office sort of space with two men phone banking on their cell phones. Ricky our Wake grad came into the room and gave us the run down. This is a new office he set up yesterday and they needed all the support they could get. Five of us went to knock on peoples doors throughout concord while Hannah and Ciara stayed back in the office to phone bank. Ricky’s number two (of three) at the office walked us to his car and drove us to one of the first districts of houses we were assigned to.
On the way to transport Josh may have sensed that the five of us weren’t republicans. He began asking us questions how we could of been republicans and it caught us of guard. We explained our views and our assignment of the Wake the Vote program. Josh was still happy to have support even knowing that most of us weren’t republicans or Cruz supporters. On the car ride to our destination Josh was asking us questions and explaining his philosophy of politics and why he understands why we don’t align ourselves with republicans. He said one reason he dislikes politics and the conservative side of it so much is because the republicans just seem to be angry old white men. While Josh was odd sometimes I enjoyed him because he really was a nice guy and not the “angry old white man” he spoke about. One thing I noticed about the many young republicans I have met up north in Iowa and New Hampshire is how welcoming and understanding they seem to be. For me personally this is the opposite of what I know of the republican party and of many conservatives I know in North Carolina. Maybe these conservative millennials aren’t my enemy like I have been taught for so long.
Once we arrived we went out and door to door tried to rally support for Cruz but sadly it was as if no one felt like Cruzin’ to victory. And it only got worse with phone banking. I called around 100 numbers and a vast majority either didn’t answer or hung up on me. And I understand how stressful it is to be a voter in these states, but it was a little disheartening being denied so much even for a candidate who I don’t really believe in. Luckily after our 9 am to 5 am eight hour work day I wasn’t as risk of becoming a double agent and becoming a republican. However, the day prior wasn’t as easy.
Monday we were assigned to scope out John Kasich and then later Chris Christie at their town halls. (Both of which were at Churches, I am not sure if this is only a republican/conservative thing or all town halls do this) In the morning blizzard we set off to Kasich and I was wooed off my feet in his introductory speech. In all seriousness I was shaken up, how could this republican smooth talk little socialist me into liking him so much. It was then I saw how personal and how amazing town halls were. A presidential candidate was feet away from me and acknowledging me and my questions. In politics we see a these candidates for president as celebrities and a celebrity under the name Kasich became just a normal people in the town hall. He became a leader who we could see was just a passionate real person who believes he could lead America to greatness.
In the middle of the town hall it began to go downhill for Kasich, well at least for me just because I started to see how no matter how smooth someone is if our political views don’t align I can’t support them with my vote. I was still so surprised at this point, my first town hall was very education. At this point I thought no one could break me, until Christie came out. Christie was ridiculously better than Kasich at his town hall. I have heard that Christie was charismatic but he truly caught me off guard. Before he came out a close friend of his (who is also a hero of mine) named Buddy aka the Cake Boss introduced Christie. Already I was hype, then Christie came out and gave a wonderful, real, and just amazingly genuine opening speech. While I didn’t agree with some of his policies I felt for him because he is truly a real person in his way of speech and diction. He spoke with substance and while being serious every so often he brought it back down with a joke or two that the crowd (including myself) loved. He answered question after question and actually answered them. Even my own candidate Bernie Sanders doesn’t do this. Once ended I thought there was no way I was going to get to get a picture with the “enemy” but he stayed in the crowd and gave everyone who wanted one a picture and whatever they wanted. I have never met a candidate who cared for his supporters so much until Christie.
By the end of my mission I was still working for the democrats but I learned much of the political process behind enemy lines.
-David Ajamy II
Exclaimer: I don’t consider the republicans the enemy and the democrats the hero’s. But throughout my trip I found it so fun and educational to imagine myself a spy in this huge game of politics. As well as in politics whatever side you align with you learn that the other is “evil” and is the enemy of America and its values. And I thought it was a funny narrative.