Tuesday night’s New Hampshire first-in-the-nation primary followed polling much more closely than Iowa’s results did. Trump, as expected, won outright, with Kasich coming in second as the strongest establishment candidate in this primary. Rubio ended in 5th place, a poor showing for the seeming establishment favorite, largely due to his prosecution by Christie (did you know he was a prosecutor?) in Saturday’s debate. Unsurprisingly, Christie, Fiorina, and Carson has poor showings, yet it looks like Christie is the only one accepting the inevitability of his failing campaign.
After what amounted to a coronation of Rubio, evidenced by an endless flow of Senate endorsements, he greatly underperformed and will now need a reboot after his recent “Rubot” criticism. However, conventional wisdom seems to still see him as the most electable candidate and the GOP’s best chance at winning the White House.
Watch Rubio’s debate performance against Christie here:
The main problem standing in Rubio’s way, or that of some alternative establishment candidates such as Kasich, is the vastness of the Republican field. Such division of the vote is handing primaries and delegates to Trump, who realistically would destroy the Republican party as a cohesive entity as well as tarnish the GOP image for decades to come.
For instance, in NH the four “establishment” candidates (Bush, Rubio, Kasich, and Christie) comprise around half of all votes. Consolidation of this group will greatly hinder Trump’s and Cruz’s paths to the nomination. However, large egos (I’m talking about you, Mr. Bush) are harming the party for the worse.
Luckily for moderate Republicans, Christie, in a somber speech, thanked his staff and revealed that he is headed home, not South Carolina as planned, to watch the final NH results and decide on the best course of action. If Christie knows what is best for him, he will announce his suspension from the race.
Not taking the same hint, Fiorina and Carson both failed to break 5% in NH. Yet they are persisting in the campaign, much to the torture of everyone involved. If they cannot manage respectable numbers in a swing state, how can they think themselves viable in the race? There may not be a logical answer to such a question.
One thing is sure, the Republican party will continue its primary debacle in South Carolina on Feb. 20th. Hopefully, some clarity and reality checks emerge from the race between now and then.
Democrats had a much more clear-cut primary with Bernie Sanders securing more than a 20-point lead over Clinton. Fret not, Hillary supporters, this primary means nothing for her future since upcoming primaries in the South will largely favor her. One takeaway from the first Democratic primary is that Sanders will stick around for many months, serving as a thorn in Clinton’s and the DNC’s sides.
While the primary season is just starting, two things should be clear. (1) If the GOP Establishment does not consolidate quickly, which is increasingly unlikely, Trump and Cruz will continue to prevail. (2) Clinton may lose a state here and there but the nomination is a lock for her, especially with her number of superdelegates.