Results still trickle in from New Hampshire with, according to Politico, the allocation of four more Democratic delegates and six Republican delegates pending. I’m sure you’re not getting your news here, but in case you haven’t seen the results, here they are:
- Bernie Sanders — 60.0% — 138,716 votes — 13 delegates
- Hillary Clinton — 38.4% — 88,827 votes — 15 delegates (6 superdelegates)
- Donald Trump — 35.1% — 90,417 votes — 10 delegates
- John Kasich — 15.9% — 41,813 votes — 3 delegates
- Ted Cruz — 11.6% — 30,416 votes — 2 delegates
- Jeb Bush — 11.1% — 29,816 votes — 2 delegates
- Marco Rubio — 10.6% — 27,774 votes
On the Republican side, Rubio is then trailed by Christie (7.5%), Fiorina (4.2%), and Carson (2.3%). I said there wouldn’t be too much of a delegate shakeup unless Trump’s runner-up really surged ahead, and Kasich’s ~16% doesn’t quite cut it. Here’s what we get it we look at the total delegate count from Iowa and now (the still not complete) New Hampshire:
- Donald Trump — 17 delegates
- Ted Cruz — 10 delegates
- Marco Rubio — 7 delegates
- John Kasich — 4 delegates
- Jeb Bush — 3 delegates
Again, there are still six delegates to be allocated, and since Rubio looks like he’ll securely pass NH’s 10% threshold, he’s likely to scoop up at least one.
Two big things we’re going to see in the media over the next few days: Rubio is toast and Kasich is ascending. They’ll insist that Rubio’s debate performance Saturday night really shook the confidence of potential voters, that since Republicans are more likely to decide rather late in the race, it hit Rubio big time. They’ll wonder how he can possibly recover—unless, of course, they think his apology for his bad debate performance is the beginning of that road. Once the media realize that Kasich, Bush, and Christie ain’t happening, they’ll forgive Rubio for every robotic interaction, every memorized line, and will once again anoint him as the One True Establishmentarian capable of taking down the nefarious comic book villain duo of Trump and Cruz.
There will also be special attention given to Kasich for his second-place finish, but don’t put too much stock in him as Rubio’s establishment replacement. Although the poll is a few weeks old, and although I’m sure the numbers have changed since then, and although there’s a chance the media exposure of Kasich in the next few days or weeks will be a boon to his campaign, it doesn’t look like he’s going to do much in South Carolina. Despite how right wing he really is, he’s easily the most moderate of all the Republican candidates (think about that for a second), which explains why he took so much of the independent vote in NH (where those unaffiliated with either party can vote in whichever primary they please) yet only snagged 11% of the ‘conservative’ vote. That marginal even-handedness of his won’t fly in SC, where lots of people, including Republican lawmakers, got upset over the idea that the state capitol ought not wave the Confederate flag. Short of a miracle no rational person can explain, Kasich is going to get stomped.
Finally, unless Cruz can somehow tout third-place place as a victory, and you know Trump is going to throw Cruz’s regression in his face given Trump’s own progression, I think he’ll play second fiddle to Trump from here on out. Both were vying for the loony vote, and Trump has the edge because he’s seen as more of an outsider so he gets more independents as well, so unless Cruz can galvanize the religious SC voters in the next few weeks, he’ll have to settle. Trump’s victory in NH will be much more helpful than Cruz’s in Iowa; now that Trump has done what he says he was going to do, the media isn’t going to shut up about it. And it doesn’t matter if that coverage is good or bad—it gets his name out, it makes him look strong, and it propels him forward into SC, which he’ll take easily.
I can see why Carson would continue and go to SC since he can play up the religious angle, but Fiorina and Christie have no chance, especially Christie given his geographical origins.
Clinton still edges out Sanders in national polls, and was polling much stronger in Nevada than Sanders a few weeks ago (though again, media coverage the last few weeks and into the future is likely to change that), so lots of people who are in Clinton’s camp are writing this off as nothing (I’m looking at you, Talking Points Memo). In no way should this be spun as a victory for Clinton, but to paint it in broad strokes as an annihilation is overkill. Did she get her ass handed to her? You betcha. But again, considering how she’s doing nationally, not to mention the number of superdelegate votes she’s likely to collect, Sanders has a long, tough battle ahead of him, and because so much of his base is young, I don’t know if a series of defeats, however minute, would be able to keep the flame fueling the Bern alive.
I don’t mean to insult that young base—I’m young myself and also support Sanders, though I’d line up for Clinton or even a ham sandwich before ever falling for a Republican—but I think Chomsky is right when he says this movement won’t have much momentum after the election (assuming, of course, Sanders doesn’t get the nom or the Presidency). It’s easier to get disheartened when you’re young and idealistic, and even after only a few years you learn that compromise—i.e. jumping ship to the Clinton camp—is far more logical, however much you might dislike it, than refusing to show up in November and handing the election to whichever loon the Republicans prop up.
Regardless, Clinton can’t be complacent. After a string of stupid and sexist moves from high-profile supporters (namely Steinem, Albright, and her husband), Clinton has to be careful she doesn’t oversell her gender or launch too harsh critiques at Sanders supporters rather than Sanders himself. The gender gap in Iowa was a bit greater than it was in New Hampshire. In Iowa, women voted for Clinton 53% to 42%, but that was reversed in NH, where it was 53% to 46% in favor of Sanders. That gender gap was wider among males in NH than IA, with 65% Sanders/34% Clinton in NH and 50% Sanders/44% Clinton in IA. In NH, the only age group Clinton won was 65+, with the vast majority of younger voters going for Sanders. To prove how much his populist, working-family message is going, he also prevailed among lower-income households, whereas Clinton reigned supreme with those raking in $200,000+. So I don’t think Steinem and Albright do Clinton any good by shaming young women into voting for her, especially when Steinem says something as repugnant as she did regarding why young women go for Sanders. Similarly, Bill’s gaffe about Sanders living in a hermetically-sealed box didn’t help win anyone over, either; saying that about Sanders implies the same is true about his base, that they live in a fantasyland and know nothing about politics.
Well, maybe that’s true. But the reason Sanders resonates among the young and relatively poor is because he speaks directly to them and addresses problems that are not fabrications: Wall Street has bet a lot of lives in their pursuit of profits, and student loan debt is locking a lot of young people into a lifetime of paying them off. Not only that, but his record is pretty consistent, even if he spent many years of his life as a virtual bum. He marched with MLK and has been on the right side of a lot of social issues for decades, so there’s no perception of him as moving leftward merely to accommodate a more liberal voting base.
I’ll have more to say in the coming days, in large part reactions to other people’s reactions. Stay tuned.