Congressional approval ratings have reached astounding lows over the past several years. The American public has made one point painfully clear: faith in Congress, and the broader government, to move our country forward is lost. In it’s place a broken system spins further and further out of control, fueled by corruption and entrenched interests. This is where NHRebellion finds its voice. Formed to empower New Hampshire citizens to take action against a broken and dysfunctional political system, NHRebellion aims to be the tip of the spear in the growing effort to mobilize American citizens to acknowledge the first problem in our politics, and begin finding solutions that serve all of us . New Hampshire is poised to lead the way. Our unique mission is simple: Demand that each presidential candidate stumping in New Hampshire answer one simple question: “How are you going to end the corruption in Washington?” This is the first question that should be asked by every voter in New Hampshire. We will not make real progress on any issue -- be it global warming, second amendment rights, healthcare, education, military policy -- until we answer this first question of how to end corruption in Washington.
Our government and our economy can no longer afford to wait for one party or another. Instead, we will engage citizens at the grassroots level in New Hampshire. Our electoral system is built upon a foundation more focused on dividing than uniting America, in an effort to maintain power at the federal level. The likelihood of sweeping political reform–reform spearheaded by Congress that would lead to pragmatic problem solving around our most pressing fiscal and social challenges–is unlikely.
New Hampshire is uniquely positioned to lead this charge. First, the state is comparably small to other states, and its citizens are passionately pragmatic and think independently. Second, New Hampshire also holds the distinction of holding the first-in-the-nation presidential primary, allowing them to guide the national debate and shape the focus of the Presidential campaign. Third, the vast majority of New Hampshire voters are specifically registered as “undeclared” in order to be able to vote in the Presidential Primary they choose; whereas those voters that are, indeed, declared are limited to the primary they are declared to. Under this semi-closed primary system, the voters of New Hampshire give any and all Presidential candidates an opportunity to win. Last, New Hampshire was also home to Doris Haddock (Granny D) who at the age of 88 walked across the nation calling for comprehensive campaign finance reform. Granny D’s memory and her efforts have been kept alive by countless groups and individuals throughout New Hampshire, allowing the issue of political reform to have a sustained voice among Granite State voters. For these four reasons, and the understanding that this issue isn’t foreign to New Hampshire voters, we believe it is uniquely positioned to lead the effort to tackle corruption in Washington.
There is no doubt that Granite Staters know something is wrong. They simply need the right vehicle to take the necessary action. The NHRebellion gives citizens in New Hampshire this platform. Prior to formalizing the NHRebellion, we conducted statewide polling with the University of New Hampshire to test our theories for this project. (Results of this polling can be found on the University of New Hampshire survey center website.) Nearly all likely voters in New Hampshire believe that money and special interests influence Congress, not their constituents. In an age of extreme political divisiveness, corruption of our government is one issue most Granite Staters can agree on. We intend NHRebellion to be the vehicle with which to capitalize on this moment, allowing voters to find common ground while sending a message to both presidential candidates and the nation that corruption is indeed the first question that must be asked.
Additionally, we will work to recruit a small group of highly recognizable celebrities that would help capture their attention and draw more citizens into the effort. One name being considered is Jason Alexander–an actor who has shown deep interest in this topic.
We are planning to hold three walks in New Hampshire during each of the next three years. Each walk will occur during the month of January. Our first walk will begin on January 11th and finish on January 28th in 2014. This first walk will serve as the pilot to recruit support and volunteers for the ensuing years. However, the Jaunary walks are only part of a larger effort that will function year-round. Additionally, we will be working to collect resolutions from as many Town Meetings as possible, securing grassroots support at the local level. These resolutions will bring individuals into the cause more directly from across the state and will serve as a tool to educate and motivate thousands of citizens across New Hampshire. The January walks will serve as annual markers for broader state-wide engagement mirroring the work being done within Town Meetings. Online, the NHRebellion will work to expand its existing online presence using toolsets such as NationBuilder, Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook, and others to provide a simple online home for supporters and activists. NHRebellion will also organize around the hashtag #NHR as part of our online presence. (Hashtags are used by social media platforms such as Twitter to better organize around a common mission and interest.)
The NHRebellion will be successful, as it will be organized and led by experienced organizers and volunteers from New Hampshire. Critical groups that will be involved include reform leaders, labor leaders, business leaders, local and regional media, as well as advocacy groups. These existing relationships will be critically important to the success of the NHRebellion. Additional details of the NHRebellion can be found here. (http://lessig.tumblr.com/post/65527936195/help-us-organize-a-new-hampshire-march-in-january). In addition, a preliminary itinerary can be found here. (http://wiki.lessig.org/NHR-March-2014-Itin)