Before the New Hampshire primary, analysts predicted that
First the bad news: Donald Trump’s victory in New Hampshire, after his second-place finish in the Iowa caucuses, is an ominous development. The
But if voters in the Republican primary fulfilled one prediction — a Trump victory — they confounded another: that they would reduce the race to a three-man contest comprising Trump, the hard-right Sen.
On Tuesday Rubio and Cruz finished well behind Ohio Gov.
On the Democratic side, Sanders' impressive victory demonstrates both the appeal of his populist message and Clinton's failure so far to galvanize many younger voters, a fact she acknowledged in her concession speech. It also reflects the fact that New Hampshire is more hospitable to Sanders than coming contests in other states — including South Carolina — will be. But, coming after he finished in a near-tie with Clinton in Iowa, Sanders' victory in New Hampshire certifies him as a serious candidate with staying power and an anti-establishment message that resonates as powerfully for many Democrats as Trump's does for disaffected Republicans. That dissatisfaction with the status quo undermines the advantage Clinton hopes to derive from her long experience in public life.
In his victory speech Sanders said he hoped that he and Clinton would engage in an "issue-oriented" campaign, an invitation that she is likely to welcome (especially if it includes a discussion of foreign policy, which isn't Sanders' strong suit). Democrats who once feared a premature coronation of Clinton can breathe easy (even if she can't).
A longstanding, and valid, complaint about Iowa and New Hampshire is that the early contests in those states short-circuit the nomination process, eliminating candidates before they have an opportunity to make their case to a large and diverse electorate. No matter what the schedule is, early states will always exercise disproportionate influence. But this year at least Iowa and New Hampshire have clarified the Democratic and Republican contests without prematurely culling the field.