Bernie Sanders has been declared the winner of the New Hampshire primary but his margin of victory over second-place finisher Pete Buttigieg was small 25.70% to 24.45%. While the turnout in the earlier Iowa primary narrowly beat the 2016 numbers but was disappointingly smaller than the record 2008 levels, this year’s New Hampshire turnout will beat 2008 and set a new record.
However Sanders won 51% of the youth vote aged 18-29, showing that his ideas resonate with future generations of voters. He alsowon nearly half the voters under 30 in Iowa.
To me the big surprise is that Amy Klobuchar did so well, winning close to 20% of the vote and beating out Elizabeth Warren who finished fourth with less than 10% and Joe Biden who finished fifth with about 8%. I read earlier that Klobuchar polls showed she had won a large share of the women’s vote and that her increase came at the expense of Warren and Biden but cannot find that link now. Since you need 15% of the vote to be awarded any delegates, the latter two will leave New Hampshire empty-handed.
The results also resulted in Andrew Yang ending his quirky campaign after getting only about 3% of the vote. Michael Bennett has ended his campaign and Deval Patrick is also expected to do so after each getting less that 1% each although these two really had had no impact on the race and I suspect that many people might be surprised that they were still in it.
While I can understand why Klobuchar might be appealing to voters, Buttigieg’s continued popularity puzzles me. She is after all, the sitting senator of a large state while he was the mayor of a small town. But Buttigieg seems to be favored by significant segments of the oligarchy, Wall Street, the political establishment, and intelligence community and that seems to be working for him.
Also deeply puzzling is Warren’s poor performance. As far as I can see, she did not do anything really wrong since the time when she was surging to the top in the polls and her decline seems inexplicable. [UPDATE: Josh Marshall has some plausible explanations for Warren’s decline.]
So now we move on to the next elections, starting with the caucuses in Nevada on Saturday, February 22 (yes, another caucus!) and then to the South Carolina primary on February 29, and then the big event on March 3 known as Super Tuesday when 16 contests take place.
Nevada is going to be a test of how well each candidate appeals to Latino voters who make up a third of the population. It is going to be tough for Sanders there.
In 2016, if New Hampshire was the state where the Sanders campaign first came to life, Nevada was where it died. Sanders was hopeful for a victory in the caucuses there, but fell just short, 53 to 47 percent, amid acrimony and allegations of misconduct. It dampened his momentum heading into South Carolina, where he was trounced.
At the same time, the leadership of the powerful casino workers’ Culinary Union (Unite Here Local 226), ramped up its attacks against Sanders on Tuesday with English and Spanish-language flyers, texts, and emails to its 60,000 members.
The Culinary Union, which is mostly made up of women and Latinos, has been actively discouraging support for Sanders and Warren over Medicare for All, warning its members that a single-payer plan would “end” their health care — despite not yet having made an official endorsement in the race.
The Vermont senator also faced a variety of hurdles going into the election. Cable networks, particularly MSNBC, favored by Democrats, had spent the days after Sanders’s popular vote victory in Iowa skewering the senator, with hosts going so far as to compare his zealous supporters to Nazis and to claim that a presidency led by Sanders could lead to mass executions.
Tim Dickinson and Ryan Bort wonder how the Democratic establishment that dislikes Sanders will deal with the fact that he is now the front-runner.
The revolution is being televised.
Bernie Sanders has scored a win in the first in the nation New Hampshire primary. It wasn’t a blowout, but the Vermont Senator bested a rugby scrum of more-moderate contenders, including Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, and former vice president Joe Biden, who posted another dismal early-state showing. Sanders also soundly defeated Sen. Elizabeth Warren, his progressive and regional rival.
With Sanders now having won the popular vote in both Iowa and New Hampshire, this much is clear: The frontrunner for the Democratic nomination is a Democratic Socialist. And unless there’s a quick winnowing of the crowded moderate lane, Sanders has significant running room heading into the February 22nd Nevada caucus and the Super Tuesday states, particularly the diverse and delegate-rich prize of California, where polls show him surging.
Early-state victory isn’t destiny. Sanders also took the New Hampshire primary in 2016 before losing the nomination to Hillary Clinton. But in the four years since that defeat, his agenda for universal health care, free college tuition, and high taxes on the wealthiest Americans has shifted from the edges to the center of the Democratic debate. Nearly 60 percent of New Hampshire primary participants said they backed Medicare for All in exit polling, while nearly two-thirds supported free public college. All the same, Sanders remains distrusted by the party establishment, which remains eager to trip him up in favor of a more-center-than-left candidate.
There are warning signs for Sanders. His theory of the election hinges on turning out masses of new voters. Instead he’s turning out only enough to eke out victory. Sanders also has work to do in consolidating the Democratic base. The Vermonter is showing resonance with Hispanic voters in the West, but has yet to prove that he can inspire large numbers of African-American voters, particularly in the South. If he cannot stage a decent showing in South Carolina’s end-of-February primary, and Joe Biden’s current polling support from black voters holds, Sanders’ electability could come into question. Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, and Florida are all likely swing states in the 2020 general election, and black turnout will be a key to victory.
The article goes on to analyze the prospects for the other candidates still in the race.