Elections Live Blog: New Hampshire

NH Primary

11:58 p.m.

Going back to the Republicans for a second: in his victory speech, Trump said “we learned a lot about ground games in a week, let me tell you.” Probably a bit exaggerated since that work often takes months to fully flesh out, but his point is a well taken one. He’s never run a campaign before, and it is likely that he and his minions will put much more effort into turning out their poll numbers going forward. This is dangerous for Cruz, who in Iowa took advantage of that shortcoming. It’ll be particularly important moving into states like South Carolina, which will largely be a battle between Trump and Cruz.

The results also provide some grounding for the establishment to coalesce around Trump. Their hatred for Cruz is so palpable and the other candidates are so lacking in poll numbers that they may have no other choice. If you’ll notice, a major demographic Trump has avoided attacking is African Americans. I think he could attack the Clintons on things like the crime bill and welfare reform and win some of their support in a general election, which is extremely dangerous. And I think the establishment might be starting to understand that.

-AT ’17

 

10:35 p.m.

With less than 10 percent reporting, the Associated Press declared Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump winners of the New Hampshire primary. I don’t have much to add to what has already been said about Trump’s predicted victory—this crystallizes the fully fledged revolt of the Republican Party’s base against its elite, it’s the result of years of the Republican’s racism and extremism coming back to destroy the party from within, etc. For the Left, this is a good thing; the more unelectable the Republican nominee, the better.

Sanders’s victory tonight, while expected, is important for a couple of reasons. First, it highlights the media’s failure to responsibly cover the Democratic primary. Sanders has now won one primary and tied another, and yet despite all this most mainstream outlets continue to refer to Clinton as the frontrunner. And while national polls still show Clinton leading Sanders, this race is seriously contested and has been for weeks. Constantly referring to Clinton as the frontrunner when she has so far failed to win a primary outright reflects the press’s wishful thinking for a Clinton victory and fear of the politics Sanders represents. It also threatens to turn that wish into reality, since positive coverage of a candidate can turn perceived support into actual support (see the bandwagon effect).

Second, Sanders’s victory marks the first time in recent memory that a candidate openly and unapologetically advocating socialist ideas has won a primary. Sanders’s democratic socialism, as many have pointed out, is closer to FDR’s New Deal liberalism than anything Marxist-inflected. Still, that he has managed to run a serious, and popular, campaign while calling for a “political revolution” means that the American political landscape is shifting left-ward. Sanders’s candidacy is an opportunity for the Left, particularly the left that is typically unrepresented in American electoral politics, to make the case for socialism to the American people. Regardless of the outcome in 2016, Sanders’s campaign has already shown that there is an audience, if not a constituency, for left-wing ideas outside of the Democratic Party’s narrow ideological boundaries.

Sanders’s success tonight is meaningful for me on a more personal level, too. Sanders, though he has been reluctant to talk about this, volunteered in Israel on a kibbutz associated with Hashomer Hatzair—a Jewish socialist youth movement that I’ve worked for. Especially at a time when the American Jewish community is swinging hard to the right, it is inspiring to see a genuine Jewish progressive (and the first Jewish candidate to win a primary) on the national stage. Sanders’s politics on Israel/Palestine are far from perfect, though I suspect he’s dealt gently with this to avoid alienating Jewish liberals—not a strategy I agree with but one that I understand. My only hope is that Sanders will apply his egalitarian political commitments to the situation in Israel/Palestine, and make a statement against the occupation. That might sound unrealistic, but not necessarily more unrealistic than the prospect of a Bernie Sanders presidency.

-JL ’17

 

 

9:51 p.m.

The typical explanation for Sanders’ popularity in New Hampshire is that since its a neighboring state to Vermont where he’s Senator, it’s disproportionately in his favor. Whether that’s actually true? Debatable. Also the demographic is more seen as ‘Young White Male’ rather than metropolitans. Sidenote: Apparently, ActBlue is crashing because of too many donation requests being sent during Sanders’ speech.

-KA’18

 

9:34 p.m.

Is the stereotype about NH being a libertarian, or at least an federally distrustful state, true? It just seems a way to rationalise Sanders and Trump winning – like a ‘fuck you, DC’. In particular, Sanders’ support is supposed to be among young metropolitans – lacking in NH.

Also, shout out to Tynes for calling Kasich.

-LS ’19

 

4:37 p.m.

People to watch are Kasich, Christie and Bush. Each of them had their best debate showing yet, while Rubio had his worst. If any of them can beat Rubio or even come close (bonus points if they also beat Cruz), they would send the establishment back into a tailspin and call into question Rubio’s abilities. While I don’t think any of them can pull it off in the long run, donors withholding money would do serious damage to the Rubio campaign as he moves into less friendly states like South Carolina and Nevada, particularly if Right to Rise keeps pummeling him.

-AT ’17

 

 

4:25 p.m.

One thing that’s interesting to me tonight as polling commences in New Hampshire is that there seems to be greater confidence in the outcome than there was in Iowa. To take one example, FiveThirtyEight, Nate Silver’s wonky and statistical blog, has Sanders at a greater than 99% chance of winning, based on aggregated polling and Silver’s algorithms. Similarly, there seems to be some consensus that Trump has things locked down, whereas in Iowa things felt much more up for grabs. To me, Trump and Sanders taking New Hampshire would be pretty consequential, but perhaps that’s not the case.

I wonder how much is really riding on the outcomes tonight. This might end up being another race where more attention is paid to where the chips fall in terms of percentage breakdowns and behind-first finishes (at least on the Republican side) than one where the winner really matters. That is, I could see weak showings from down-ticket candidates like Kasich (who in particular has a lot riding on N.H.), Fiorina, Bush, and even Carson lead to the field winnowing even more, which has significant implications for the ability of the establishment candidate to consolidate the vote and take on Cruz/Trump.

On the Democratic side, people seem to be writing off a Sanders win as attributable to New Hampshire’s demographics, as well as its proximity to his base in Vermont. But I can’t imagine that a big win tonight wouldn’t gain him significant attention and recognition nationwide, which will help as the race turns to the predicted Clinton strongholds in the South.

In short, I’ll call a Trump/Sanders victory, though not by as large margins as either were expecting. Cruz will have another strong showing, and the rest of the Republican candidates will split the vote, with the loser forced to appear on the next season of Celebrity Apprentice.

What do you guys think? Will Kasich win in a shock landslide? Will Rubio’s third-place finish speech feature water-sips, robotic repetition, or both? Will Sander’s un-unpaid interns prove all the difference?

-DT ’17

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