Tuesday night, the New Hampshire Primaries were decided. Donald Trump won with 35.1 percent of votes on the Republican side, and for the Democrats, Bernie Sanders scooped up 60 percent of the votes, emerging victorious. But what does it mean for the other candidates in the field?
For Sanders, the victory sends a message, but not a mandate. He did secure victory in New Hampshire, but will face an interesting test on “Super Tuesday” (March 1), when fourteen states will go to the polls at once. His bump in the polls is most likely because his is the senator of the neighboring state of Vermont.
I have to suspect that the Sanders political revolution is real, and will be televised. Sanders has a message which speaks to the millennials and he will be using that to his advantage in the months to come, but the Democratic race is far from over.
For Hillary Clinton and her team, the panic button does not need to be pushed just yet. There is still plenty of time before the nomination is decided, and with a well funded and well organized group, Clinton is prepared to campaign heavily. With that being said, she should be slightly concerned with the outcome of these first two contests. The Clinton campaign poured a lot of resources into Iowa, only to emerge with a nail-bitingly close win, 49.8 percent to 49.6 percent. And she got walloped in New Hampshire.
On the Republican side, the candidacy is more complicated. Trump did win in New Hampshire rather convincingly and the closest candidate to him was John Kasich, former Governor of Ohio, with 16 percent of the Republican vote.
This is a big coup by Kasich, who came in eighth in Iowa. That was mostly due to a lack of time in the spotlight. He clearly appealed to voters in the granite state, and was buoyed by a strong performance in the debate, a turning point for many of the Republican candidates. He clearly shined, and for the first time in this nascent campaign season, it feels like his candidacy has life.
Adding to our discussion of governors who have a renaissance in the polls, Jeb Bush made quite the showing in the New Hampshire primary. I think that might have something to do with him finally embracing his last name. He had been hesitant this entire campaign to bring his family’s political history to the forefront, instead preferring to use “Jeb!” as his campaign signage. Down, but not out, in New Hampshire, he brought his mother, former first lady Barbara Bush, to campaign for him. He also ditched his reserved persona in the debate in favor of a more energetic style. Due to this, he seems a bit like a new man today. He may not have won, but he is certainly in a better position than he was a week ago.
There were some losers on the Republican side. Chris Christie was a big one, although he spent most of his time and money in the state, he finished sixth in the state with a mere 7.5 percent of the vote. It seems to me that he was dogged by his record as governor, as well as the fact that his administration was responsible for shutting down a bridge as an act of petty political revenge. The saddest part of this for Christie is that he will actually have to come back to New Jersey and do the job he was elected to do, as he dropped out of the presidential race Wednesday.
The next primary is in South Carolina for Republicans, and that should clear the primary season up even more. But for now, the field is still in fluctuation and that is not likely to change any time soon.