Last night, we noticed a couple of sign-wavers down the block from the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism pop-up newsroom at the Shaskeen Pub in Manchester, where our reporters were all sitting and doing things on our laptops. Their placards weren’t recognizable, though, so naturally we went over to talk to them.
The next thing we knew, we were interviewing Republican presidential candidate Matt Matern.
Needless to say, Matern’s pro-environment, pro-immigration(ish) platform only wins him the nomination in an alternate universe where science denialism and outright bigotry have not consumed his party. In fact, we’re still not sure why he’s a Republican; he’s opposed to universal healthcare, but then again, so are most of the Democratic hopefuls. Maybe it’s his tax plan?
Yeah, I think it’s probably his tax plan?
In any case, here’s what we found out about the guy …
Why have I never heard of this person before?
Hulda (Matern canvasser): So, he was born in Chicago, and he’s come here all the way from LA, so he’s not local. We’re really excited to have him. He has some good plans, and if he gets elected, you might see those plans going into action.
My understanding is the Republican Party supports the annihilation of all joy and life. What does this guy bring to the table that might sway voters? Is he even more evil than Trump? Is that his thing?
Hulda: That’s a good question. Actually, Matt stands for really good values. He’s pro-immigrant, he’s pro-refugee, and he understands that under the current president there has been a lot said against minorities that has inflicted fear in those communities. Also, he’s trying to help the working American and the middle American with the Live Free Tax Plan. He’s trying to eliminate income taxes for individuals earning less than $50,000 a year, and away from families making less than $100,000 a year.
Joseph (Matern canvasser): And he’s trying to close the tax loopholes for the top 1%. He’s not saying they should be taxed more, he’s saying they should be taxed at the rate they’re already supposed to be taxed at.
Oh my gawd, and now he’s here! So, Matt Matern, what else sets you apart from other Republicans?
Matern: Our environmental stance is much different than President Trump’s. I’m from California. I drive a hydrogen-powered car. We can have a green economy, but also a strong economy.
Okay. So if you’re running a pro-environment, pro-rich people paying taxes, pro-immigration platform, how’s that gonna jibe with the rest of your party?
Matern: Well, let’s take the environment—50% of Republican voters are pro-environment. [Ed. note: Don’t know where he gets that statistic, but it could be true depending on the definition of “pro-environment” in this context.] Unfortunately, the leadership of the Republican party is at odds with their own voters, so I think we should replace the leader with a Republican who’s actually pro-environment. And as far as taxation, President Trump promised his tax cut was not going to benefit the wealthy at all. He lied, but that isn’t anything new. But he’s been trying to promote himself as somebody who’s for the working class. Of course he hasn’t been living by his self promotion. I say let’s get our values in line with what we’re promoting. Most Republican voters make less than $100,000 per year. So I appeal to anybody who’s making under $100,000 per year.
Okay, so when you get elected, what’re you doing with your first 24 hours in office?
Matern: The first thing to do is eliminate the Trump rollbacks on environmental regulations. We have to get standards for fuel economy back to what they were under Obama, and then go further. So let’s go do that, and do that immediately.
Anything you’d care to add?
Matern: I think we need to change our healthcare policy, because our current healthcare policy only promotes disease treatment. We should be promoting wellness, nutrition, and preventative medicine.
Ah, just like Marianne Williamson says!
Matern: Well, Hippocrates said, “Let our food be our medicine, and our medicine be our food.” So Marianne was second, after Hippocrates. But look at diabetes treatment. Thirty million Americans currently suffer from diabetes. If they change their diet, and increase their exercise, they can get off insulin. If they do that, we can give them half the savings. The person benefits because they have more money in their pocket, and the insurance company or government also saves. We’re spending $330 billion a year on Type 2 diabetes alone, which is one in every seven healthcare dollars. So we’ve got to do a better job of promoting good health.
This article was produced by the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism as part of its Manchester Divided coverage of political activity around New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary. Follow our coverage @BINJreports on Twitter and at binjonline.org/manchesterdivided, and if you want to see more citizens agenda-driven reporting you can contribute at givetobinj.org.