Former New Hampshire U.S. Sen. Gordon Humphrey believes the key to preventing Donald Trump from claiming the Granite State’s GOP primary lies with turning out college students to vote. And he’s using the social media giant Facebook to get out the youth vote.
Humphrey told NHJournal he’s paying for a focused ad campaign from his own pocket. The campaign targets individuals ages 18 to 26 who live in cities and towns that are home to colleges and universities.
“The younger the voter, the less inclined they are towards the wrong candidates,” Humphrey said. “But they need to make sure they exercise their right to vote.”
According to Humphrey, the ads have captured “60,000 views in the last week.”
“This is a personal effort I’m making,” Humphrey said. “No PACs or anything like that. We’ve produced five videos. They do not advocate for or against any candidate. Some may draw conclusions from what they saw.”
“There are 40,000 such students in New Hampshire, the highest per-capita ratio in the nation, and each of them can vote in the primary, irrespective of the state they call home,” Humphrey said. “In the neck-and-neck race that has developed here between (former South Carolina Gov. Nikki) Haley and Trump, a higher than usual college turnout could be important, in that younger voters are inclined against Trump and (President Joe) Biden.”
“Personally, I think Haley can win. But I’m not a part of anyone’s campaign.”
The most recent average of major GOP New Hampshire primary polls has Trump beating Haley by 13.2 points, according to RealClear Politics.
Humphrey, a Republican who represented New Hampshire in the U.S. Senate from 1979 to 1990, is a longtime Trump critic. In 2016, Humphrey announced his support for Democrat Hillary Clinton. Since then, he’s been an active member of the GOP’s “Never Trump” wing.
“Trump’s attacks on women, the disabled, war heroes, and minorities are disgusting,” Humphrey said in his video endorsement for Clinton at the time. “A normal person doesn’t do that. But Trump is not normal. He’s cruel. He’s shameless. He’s a bully.”
Humphrey said he believes Trump would be even more volatile as a president in 2024 than he was when first elected in 2016.
“He knows the ropes better than he did eight years ago, he’s got a bigger chip on his shoulder, and he’s further off the rails now than he was before,” Humphrey said.
He added that as soon as Trump won in 2016, he unenrolled from the GOP and registered as an independent voter.
Humphrey added, however, that he sympathizes with Trump’s supporters.
“I regard this Trump phenomenon as more of a sociological phenomenon than a political phenomenon,” he said. “I sympathize with those who see the shrinking of the middle class, who see the immigration problem as a greater threat to their jobs, and meanwhile, the rich are getting richer, and I’m the last person to advocate for a socialist state.”
Humphrey said he sees Trump as “a demigod.”
“He’s taking advantage of raw emotions and marshaling them into a political movement,” he said. “He is far worse than Joe McCarthy, and McCarthy would be the nearest thing to Trump.”
One of Humphrey’s videos focuses on Trump’s alleged role in the Jan. 6, 2021, riot that saw supporters of the former president breach the United States Capitol as lawmakers were busy holding the official count of electoral college ballots confirming Biden’s victory.
New Hampshire voters will head to the polls on Tuesday.