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Americas

Betting on the outsiders

In the US primaries, many Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders supporters agree on one thing. They think that only a political outsider can rescue the country's corrupt political system. Ines Pohl reports from New Hampshire.

Wherever Mary Gargiulo goes, Misty goes, too. She's the only one of Mary's four-legged housemates who's allowed to accompany her to the office. Mary is head of personnel at the property management company Great North, which is owned by her husband, Lou. It looks after 20,000 units with a total worth of $1 billion (892 million euros).

Mary's fitness trainer comes three times a week, and Misty's never far away then, either. "We rescued her from an animal shelter, and she's very worried about being left behind," says Mary.

Mary Gargiulo and her dog, Misty

Mary Gargiulo's a Trump supporter, and Misty may be

Mary is 58. Every day she practices getting up without using her hands. "It's harder than you think. You should try it." She wants to stay fit in order to look good: "I try to keep every meal under 300 calories." And she wants to be able to get up again if she falls down - "if I break my arms in the fall."

Mary likes to play safe.

Both the Gargiulos support the Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. They campaign for him, they go to events, and they've donated "quite a bit of money."

In their circles - the governor's villa is only a few hundred yards from their house - some people find that quite strange. But Lou has accepted that his political fervor makes him an outsider among the rich Republicans in New Hampshire, his social and political home.

Worried about the children's future

"Something has to happen before our country is completely ruined," says Gargiulo. Donald Trump knows how to run a business, he adds - unlike all the other politicians. "He knows what all the regulations from Washington mean for businesspeople like us."

Gargiulo believes that the current American political system is badly broken because once people have been elected to a political office, "they want to stay forever." And that makes them susceptible to corruption. "At some point only those people who help the politicians stay in power have influence, and what our country really needs doesn't matter any more."

Watch video 03:44

Hope outside the mainstream

Lou doesn't really have any problems at the moment; his business is doing very well - for now. But he's worried about what the future will hold for his children and grandchildren. The dynamic must be changed now, he says, if the worst is to be avoided. "Mr Trump will be able to do that. He's experienced. He's an outsider, and he's not afraid."

No moral judgements

Lou's primary concerns are money and the horrendous national debt. Mary talks a lot about values and social responsibility.

"I've never missed a single election," she says. "Since I was 18 I've been voting for Republicans. But I've stopped calling myself a Republican. Now I refer to myself as a conservative."

She's a devout Catholic. Her father even wanted to become a monk at one point. But Mary doesn't like the fact that so many Republicans are making politics out of their religious convictions: "We mustn't reject homosexuals, or women who get an abortion." Mary and Lou have four children. "I would also love my kids if they were homosexuals. Or if my daughter needs to get an abortion to not get into financial struggles. I don't have to judge that. Only God is the judge for that."

Peggy Greenough has also had enough of "the corrupt system of our country." She wants a president "who cares about the people, and not about those who give the money." She wants an outsider, someone with experience, who's independent and can't be bought, who's strong and fearless. Who will stand up to people, not just in Washington but in the rest of the world, too, and who says and does what must be said and done.

In many ways she sounds like the Gargiulos. Peggy supports Bernie Sanders.

She, her husband, David, and their three sons are going door-to-door, canvasing for Bernie in the run-up to the New Hampshire primary, attending events. They can't donate anything. David was in IT; he became unemployed more than 10 years ago and now gets by doing odd jobs. "We're living from week to week and often have to make the decision between buying gas for the heater or a new pair of shoes," says Peggy. The family of five live on about $20,000 a year.

Peggy Greenough with her sons

Peggy Greenough says that supporting Hillary once was enough

Peggy is sick. She needs regular medication. Her insurance doesn't cover all the costs. In the US, she has to pay $300 a month. "In Canada we pay $95, for a packet which lasts three months." That's because the politicians have let themselves be bought by the big pharma companies, says Peggy. "They only do what they get money with. They don't care what the American people need."

Revolution means hope

Peggy sounds strong. There are dark rings around her eyes. They glitter defiantly when she explains why Bernie Sanders is the only right candidate, and when she says that the revolution has already begun, because Bernie Sanders' ideas and plans are having such a strong influence on the election campaign overall.

They fill with tears when she talks about her everyday life. About how it feels when the money for the whole week is already gone by Sunday.

"Last time I supported Hillary [Clinton]. But she didn't do anything for people like us," says Peggy. "Now we only have one hope, and that is the vision Bernie has. Bernie is our hope. And the revolution is hope."

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