Sen. Bernie Sanders claimed victory in Tuesday's New Hampshire primary, but only just: he and former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg will each get nine pledged delegates, while Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar was within 5% of the front runners, claiming six delegates. But New Hampshire voters were open about their concern as to whether the party would unite behind a centrist candidate or, as one voter phrased it, if they're starting to "spoil for is a real left versus right fight."
VPR political reporter Peter Hirschfeld talked to New Hampshire voters about what the narrow Sanders victory reveals about how Democrats are weighing their choices in 2020.
Early results suggested a bigger margin of victory for Sanders than what he is ending up with, and a much smaller victory than his 2016 win over Hillary Clinton. One Sanders supporter at the candidate's Manchester event Tuesday night saw it was a win for progressive ideas.
"I think what people are kind of starting to spoil for is a real left versus right fight. To really have it out for the first time in a half century. A lot of the polling indicates that a majority of Americans are very much in favor of the Sanders agenda, broadly speaking. I think people would like to see us have that fight. And let the chips fall where they may."
But Buttigieg and his supporters said the 2020 election couldn't be a referendum on Democratic Socialism.
Meanwhile, support of Sen. Klobuchar was visible at the Ward 10 polling station in Concord.
“I really wanted somebody with political experience that has moved legislation, and I know how hard it is to get both sides to move legislation. And I think that her record is really important for all of us, that we can’t keep demonizing the other side” said New Hampshire State House Rep. Christy Bartlett.
And while many Sanders supporters in 2016 expressed a "Bernie or bust" mentality, making it clear they wouldn't support Hillary Clinton in the general election under any circumstances, many Sanders supporters in 2020 voiced they were moving away from that mentality.
"It's the soul of the nation," the supporter said. "Who are we as a people? Who are we as a country? I hope and pray we’re going to find an answer to that. That we are better than we look right now."
Listen to the full interview above to hear voices from New Hampshire on the night of the first-in-the-nation primary.
Broadcast live on Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2020 at noon; rebroadcast at 7 p.m.