Tuesday, February 09, 2016
A Few Words About New Hampshire
New Hampshire, the first real national primary of 2016 is now history. As most of you know by now, Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders ran away with it.
Trump ended up with a whopping 35%, almost 100,000 votes and most of the delegates. The nearest challenger, John Kasich ended up with 16%, less than half of Donald Trump's total, with Ted Cruz and Jeb Bush coming in third and fourth respectively and Marco Rubio just edging out Chris Christie for fifth.
While Donald Trump was expected to win New Hampshire all along, no one predicted this kind of spread. It does demonstrate the Donald's cross over appeal as well as his appeal to working class voters. New Hampshire is not Iowa, but it's not exactly diversity city' either. It's a small, mostly white semi-rural state rather like Iowa in some ways. We'll have to wait until South Carolina to see if Trump can repeat what he's done in New Hampshire. If he does, I think he's got a serious chance at being the GOP nominee whether the Republican establishment likes it or not. What's going on now is not so much an election as much as a rebellion, and Donald Trump is benefiting from picking up on that early and becoming its spokesperson.
I can't resist pointing something out here. Various mainstream, establishment Republicans have been saying all along that the GOP needs to broaden its base, reach out to different groups. This is pretty much along the lines of the constituency Donald Trump has assembled, and it's a coalition the Republican Party could have had for itself a long time ago.
It was their idea to avoid reigning in Barack Obama's agenda, which is what they were elected for. They were the ones who chose to do did nothing about ObamaCare, nothing to control this president's amnesty for illegal aliens, nothing about the out of control budget. Oh, they said the right things to the hicks they not so secretly despised come election time, but that was as far as it went. Politics, like nature abohrs a vacuum, and it was Donald Trump who saw that and was the first one in to take the high ground the Republicans so willingly abandoned. And now, they're panicking. One thing Trump still has in his favor is the fear and disarray of the establishment, who are wondering what to do to stop him and Ted Cruz, whom they despise even more than Donald Trump. And while sme of the marginal characters are headed for the wings,enough claimants fighting to be the banner bearer for the GOP establishment are still in this to prevent any real, unified opposition to the insurgents.
For John Kasich, this was essentially a life preserver that will allow him to stay afloat. How well he does in South Carolina will be a good indication on whether he has enough gas to go much further. His goal here was to knock off Marco Rubio and vie for the title of GOP establishment standard bearer and he largely succeeded, with a helping hand from Rubio's abysmal, even comic debate performance that got a lot of attention in New Hampshire. If Rubio does poorly in South Carolina and Kasich laps him again, Rubio is going to be in a tough spot.
Ted Cruz's attitude, as always, is on to the next game. He's a long haul kind of campaigner. He never expected to win here, and even a decent second in South Carolina could revitalize him nicely.
The Democrats had their own drama tonight, with Bernie Sanders decisively trouncing Hillary Clinton almost two to one, 60% to 38%. Due to the backroom nature of Democrat campaigns the delegate total was a lot closer then the GOP's with Sanders taking 14 delegates to Mrs. Clinton's 9.
I'll simply repeat here what I said about Iowa. For Bernie Sanders, New Hampshire, a state with demographics like Iowa's right next door to his home state of Vermont will be his high point. It all goes all downhill from here.
Aside from the fact that the Clinton machine will call in every favor and pull every string to ensure that the votes go her way and the media plays the song she likes, New Hampshire is the last state for awhile where retail campaigning is important, something Mrs. Clinton despises unless it's thoroughly scripted. And in South Carolina, Bernie Sanders will face, for the first time, an electorate with a substantial amount of black Democrat voters. Along with Muslims, blacks are an increasingly important part of the Democrat coalition. Irreligious and anti-Israel he may be, but Sanders still can't erase the fact of being born a Jew no matter how hard he tries.
The last time the Democrats put a Jew on a national ticket was in 2000 with Joseph Lieberman. George W. Bush carried 40% of the Muslim vote that year and that might very well have cost the Democrats Florida and the election. They won't make that mistake again. And according to the Pew Trust, aside from Muslims blacks are the most likely group of Americans to harbor anti-semitic attitudes.
Mrs. Clinton is already exploiting those attitudes and is calling in favors and mustering the troops.
Sanders is doing his best to counteract this and has actually gotten a few endorsements, but a lot of them are from left wing black academics whom the average black Democrat has never heard of. Both he and Mrs. Clinton are spending serious time on their knees in front of race pimp, tax cheat and anti-semite Al Sharpton but it's Mrs Clinton who has the inside track with an MSNBC interview with Rev Al this weekend that will air right before the primary. The odds are pretty good that she takes South Carolina by a comfortable majority.