Sen. Bernie Sanders and billionaire Donald Trump have won the Democratic and Republican presidential primaries in New Hampshire – a remarkable victory for two outsiders who tapped into voter anger at the two parties’ establishments, each promising massive government actions to provide working people with an economic boost.
In the Democratic race, Sanders beat former secretary of sate Hillary Clinton, who had been seen as her party’s prohibitive favorite a year ago.
Clinton’s defeat in New Hampshire was so resounding – and so long in coming – that Clinton’s campaign conceded immediately when the polls closed at 8 p.m. The campaign sent out a statement downplaying the importance of New Hampshire, which Clinton won in 2008. Her campaign promised to fight on through March, including the next-up contests in Nevada and South Carolina. The next states, Clinton’s campaign said, would be more likely to turn out her way.
“Whereas the electorates in Iowa and New Hampshire are largely rural/suburban and predominantly white, the March states better reflect the true diversity of the Democratic Party and the nation,” Clinton’s campaign manager Robby Mook wrote in the statement. Clinton’s campaign has said it expects to do far better among African American and Latino voters than Sanders will.
Among Republicans, Trump had been ahead for so long that the GOP contest in New Hampshire had already become a race for second, third and fourth. For some of Trump’s top challengers – including Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.), Sen. Ted Cruz (Texas) and Gov. John Kasich (Ohio) – finishing second could be a key boost, since it could allow them to unify the anti-Trump vote.
But, although it had been anticipated, Trump’s victory is still a stunning turnabout: last summer, Trump had seemed like an afterthought in a race that seemed likely to be dominated by former Florida governor Jeb Bush, and the massive campaign warchest assembled to back Bush.
But Trump’s TV experience made him a commanding figure in the debates, where other candidates seemed unsure how to handle a candidate who insulted their looks and told them to shush. And Trump’s blunt message, which promised a massive wall on the southern border and a program to deport 12 million undocumented immigrants, resonated with voters who felt their party had ignored the issue for too long.
While Trump limited his campaigning Tuesday morning to doing the rounds of a couple of TV shows, several of his rivals hit the streets to greet voters in a state in which residents often make up their minds at the last minute. Within the space of 2 1/2 hours, three Republican hopefuls — Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.), New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former Florida governor Jeb Bush — all stopped by Manchester’s Webster School to chat with voters as they arrived.
In the Democratic race, polls showed Sanders maintaining his double-digit lead over former secretary of state Hillary Clinton. After winning only narrowly in Iowa, Clinton braced for defeat while hoping to keep the damage from spilling over into upcoming states where she long has been dominant.
Following tradition, the voting got underway at midnight in some hamlets to kick off the first-in-the-nation primary. The towns delivered mixed verdicts. In tiny Dixville Notch, whose residents have been voting at midnight since 1960, all four Democratic votes went to Sanders. On the Republican side, Ohio Gov. John Kasich received three, and Trump had two.
Presidential candidates have often viewed Dixville Notch as a harbinger for the state’s overall results, even if its voters are not always prescient. But it had company this year. In Millsfield, roughly an hour south of the Canadian border, residents revived midnight voting. Clinton beat Sanders with two votes to one, while Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) got nine votes, Trump took three, and a few other Republicans got one vote each.
In an interview on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” Kasich said he took the Dixville Notch contest so seriously that he called every voter in town. “Hey, you know, we came out strong,” he told host George Stephanopoulos.
Kasich added that he had already “sent my bus — my magic bus — down to South Carolina” to get a jump on the next presidential contest.
Rubio, who is struggling to reclaim momentum after stumbling in the last debate, portrayed the growing attacks from rivals as a sign of his campaign’s strength.
“It’s great to be targeted, because it means you’re doing something right,” he told ABC’s Stephanopoulos.
Sanders is capitalizing in part on the fact that he represents a neighboring state, Vermont, although his campaign has been fueled more by widespread discontent with the political system among many liberals and the enthusiasm of young voters.
(C) 2016 The Washington Post