David Goldman/AP

Chaos Wins Republican Primary in New Hampshire

The middle of the pack may have to chase Trump all the way to Cleveland.

Don­ald Trump’s re­sound­ing vic­tory in New Hamp­shire not only ce­men­ted the busi­ness­man’s stand­ing as a front-run­ning GOP can­did­ate. The crowded un­der­card battle for second place was as con­sequen­tial, en­sur­ing a long, pro­trac­ted fight for the Re­pub­lic­an nom­in­a­tion that could well be de­cided at the Clev­e­land con­ven­tion.

Trump ex­ceeded the already high ex­pect­a­tions he faced in the state, win­ning with 34 per­cent of the vote. He will re­cov­er some of the mo­mentum he lost after fin­ish­ing a dis­ap­point­ing second in Iowa. Des­pite a light­er sched­ule in New Hamp­shire and vul­gar clos­ing rally Monday night, he’ll again have proven that the nor­mal rules of polit­ics don’t ap­ply in such an anti­es­tab­lish­ment year. He won nearly 30 per­cent of wo­men voters, 30 per­cent of col­lege gradu­ates, and 29 per­cent of voters whose fam­il­ies made over $100,000 a year. He broadened sup­port past his base and, if that holds past New Hamp­shire, he’ll be a for­mid­able can­did­ate to the end.

“We are go­ing to make Amer­ica great again!” Trump said as he began his vic­tory speech. “New Hamp­shire, we’re not go­ing to for­get you. You star­ted it.”

The equally sig­ni­fic­ant takeaway is that, con­trary to the in­dic­a­tions from Iowa, the so-called es­tab­lish­ment lane will be crowded un­til South Car­o­lina—and po­ten­tially even longer.  That’s a night­mare scen­ario for party lead­ers look­ing for the most elect­able nom­in­ee to emerge from the scrum.

Marco Ru­bio looked as if he had se­cured that role with an im­press­ive third-place fin­ish in Iowa, but his de­bate stumble knocked him all the way down to an em­bar­rass­ing fifth place in New Hamp­shire. He’s barely above the 10 per­cent threshold ne­ces­sary to win a del­eg­ate out of the Gran­ite State. His cam­paign was so fo­cused on mes­sage dis­cip­line even after his de­bate re­pe­ti­tions that it un­der­es­tim­ated New Hamp­shire voters’ ap­pre­ci­ation for un­var­nished au­then­ti­city. In­stead of jok­ing about his gaffe, he doubled down on his mes­sage.  That cost him badly in the fi­nal stretch of the primary.

Ru­bio is also can­celing a sched­uled ap­pear­ance in South Car­o­lina Wed­nes­day to vote on North Korea sanc­tions le­gis­la­tion. It’s a sign that his own cam­paign re­cog­nized that miss­ing Sen­ate votes only played in­to his biggest vul­ner­ab­il­ity—the idea that he doesn’t have the ex­per­i­ence to be pres­id­ent.

The res­ults also en­sure that Jeb Bush and John Kasich will re­main in the race for the long haul. With a strong second-place fin­ish, Kasich will now be mo­tiv­ated to stick around un­til (at least) Ohio’s win­ner-take-all primary on March 15. Be­cause the race is head­ing south, the un­der­fun­ded, out-or­gan­ized un­der­dog doesn’t ex­pect many op­por­tun­it­ies to win del­eg­ates be­fore then. But mark the March 8 Michigan primary as a test of his stay­ing power.

Bush didn’t have nearly as good a show­ing as Kasich, fin­ish­ing with just 11 per­cent of the vote—des­pite his cam­paign and al­lied su­per PAC spend­ing about $35 mil­lion in the state. But by fin­ish­ing ahead of his protégé-turned-nemes­is Ru­bio, Bush is likely to sol­dier onto South Car­o­lina, where he’s backed by Sen. Lind­sey Gra­ham and where his broth­er, George W. Bush, is ex­pec­ted to cam­paign on his be­half. Between his cam­paign and su­per PAC, he will also have the fin­an­cial re­sources to con­tin­ue at­tack­ing his es­tab­lish­ment-lane rivals, pre­vent­ing them from get­ting too much mo­mentum.

It’s the emer­ging Ru­bio-Bush clash that prom­ises to be a massive head­ache for prag­mat­ic-minded party lead­ers. Bush barely stayed in the top rung. If not for Ru­bio’s costly gaffe, his show­ing would have been seen as dis­ap­point­ing. Now the enmity between the two cam­paigns is even more pitched.

Ted Cruz is in the best shape go­ing for­ward of all the Re­pub­lic­an can­did­ates. He fin­ished in third place even though he barely spent any money in New Hamp­shire. He’s well or­gan­ized and well fun­ded head­ing in­to South Car­o­lina, where he will be en­gaged in a bru­tal battle with Trump. If he can beat Trump, he’ll be very well-po­si­tioned in the Deep South states that pre­dom­in­ate on Su­per Tues­day. “Wash­ing­ton lib­er­als may find South Car­o­lina far less hos­pit­able en­virons,” Cruz said in his postelec­tion speech, in a jibe at his more-mod­er­ate rivals.

Chris Christie, mean­while, an­nounced he was re­turn­ing home to New Jer­sey in­stead of head­ing to cam­paign in South Car­o­lina—a clear sign that the end of his cam­paign is near. If he drops out, it will be the ul­ti­mate in­sult to Ru­bio, whose cam­paign was wounded by a chal­lenger who did noth­ing for his own can­did­acy in the pro­cess. It was the ul­ti­mate murder-sui­cide.

The over­all post-New Hamp­shire win­ner is chaos. If the anti-Trump, anti-Cruz forces in the party can’t rally be­hind a favored al­tern­at­ive be­fore Su­per Tues­day, it’s in­creas­ingly likely that no one will be able to se­cure a ma­jor­ity of del­eg­ates at the end of the pro­cess.

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.