After the chaos in Iowa last week, the results from New Hampshire are shedding some light on where the hopefuls sit in relation to each other.
Bernie Becomes the Front Runner
After winning the popular vote in both of the two openers, Senator Sanders has made a statement of intent to his rivals. Yes, he received a lower share of the vote than last time but that is irrelevant due to the much more contested primary season this time compared to four years ago.
What has become evident is that the Senator from Vermont has united the left-wing of the party, with the disappearance of any sort of threat from Warren. He has the left-wing vote in control, but the question remains: will he be able to reach out and take support from the more moderate Democrats when they have such an array of options?
The New Centrists Emerge
While Bernie won the primary, in second and third were two relatively unexposed moderates: Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar. The surprise of the opening eight days of the primary season has to be the success of the small-town mayor from South Bend. He has at least a share of the delegate lead and seems to be leading the way from the moderate wing of the party and will be hoping that this momentum transfers into moderate minority voters who will play more of an impact in the upcoming Nevada and South Carolina polls.
Amy Klobuchar, who came from nowhere to third in the primary after an impressive showing in the debates. Her campaign insists that if the public gets to know her they will get behind her however, getting to know her involves looking at her unfortunate history as a prosecutor which will do her no favours with the African American voters she desperately needs to impress if she wants to get her name at the top of the ticket. This shock result may have caught even her campaign off guard as questions have been raised about the readiness of her infrastructure in Nevada, South Carolina and the Super Tuesday states. If she can’t get her campaign mobilised effectively, she may suffer electorally, but the donation boost she can expect will go some way to help that.
The Fall of the Favourites
Two who will be unhappy with the results of Tuesday’s primary will be former Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Elizabeth Warren. Mere months ago they seemed to be the two frontrunners but neither received any delegates to add to their unimpressive hauls from Iowa last week. Both campaigns appear to be struggling financially as well as in results and for Biden especially, the two more racially diverse states approaching will be crucial in showing if they have any chance at all of continuing their campaigns much beyond early March. Biden was expecting a poor showing in New Hampshire but the scale of the defeat will be surprising to the campaign which had such a massive lead in nationwide polling. While not even Warren’s local roots in neighbouring Massachusetts which have historically been useful in the granite state allowed her to succeed. A couple of weeks ago these campaigns looked like they could go the distance, now seem to be headed for a premature end.
With Iowa’s unclear results there were no major campaigns suspended after those results but Michael Bennett has now returned to being just the Senator from Colorado and Andrew Yang’s trip into politics is over for now but he seems to have had fun so I wouldn’t be surprised to see him return in future.