5 Takeaways From New Hampshire
1. For Republicans, the Iowa Caucuses Are Virtually Meaningless
It is clear that what happens in Iowa stays in Iowa, as the results from Ethanolandia were quickly forgotten by everyone except for Ben Carson, who is still smarting over Cruz’s dirty tricks. The only news lingering is the insane process used to award delegates. Four years ago, it took Republicans literally weeks to determine their winner, and this year it is the Democrats’ turn to haggle over the results. Months of media coverage, polling and political analysis are spent on this totally unrepresentative slice of the electorate that seems purposely designed to pull candidates away from the center — particularly on the Republican side. Fellow Americans, how long are we going to tolerate this monumental waste of time?
2. Cruz Is On the Same Dead-End Path as Other Iowa ‘Winners’
Just prior to primary day, Cruz supporter Steve Lonegan made the bold prediction that his candidate would score an “upset victory”. When first place failed to materialize, the Cruz campaign immediately began spinning the Texas senator’s third place showing as a great achievement, given how little time and money their candidate spent in New Hampshire, and held it up as evidence of his appeal beyond the conservative base. However, a quick review of history reveals that there is nothing remarkable about Cruz receiving 11.7% of the vote in New Hampshire. The Iowa winners from the previous two cycles performed just as well: Rick Santorum received 9.4% in 2012 and Mike Huckabee received 11.2% in 2008 — and they, unlike Cruz, had no ground game. Cruz’s result is dismal when one considers that he presents himself as both an evangelical and libertarian candidate. Ron Paul received a staggering 22.9% of the vote in 2012, showing that there is a large pool of libertarian votes in the Granite State. Ted Cruz managed barely half of Paul’s showing.
3. Another Pseudo-Victory for John Weaver
Are you a candidate interested in winning roughly 16% of the vote in New Hampshire and having no path to the GOP nomination afterward? John Weaver is the campaign manager for you! He pulled off this feat for Jon Huntsman in 2012 and has done it again for John Kasich this year, respectively garnering 16.9% and 15.8% of the vote. After vowing to use his New Hampshire momentum to storm into South Carolina, Huntsman dropped out after a few days and endorsed Mitt Romney. Governor Kasich is likely to do the same after holding a couple of town hall meetings and savoring some chicken bog and sweet tea.
4. Do New Hampshire Voters Really Care About ‘Retail Politicking’?
Did you know that New Hampshire voters want to personally meet and even look into the eyes of every candidate? They want to ‘kick the tires,’ so to speak, before deciding for whom to vote. For an entire week, the media never missed an opportunity to repeat, in a Robo-Rubio fashion, every lazy, stereotypical aspect of the narrative New Hampshire tells itself about its status as the first in the nation primary. Reporters acted like they were contractually obligated to constantly remind their viewers about the importance of retail politics in the Granite State, just like they droned on about the importance of visiting all 99 counties in Iowa. In the end the winner, Donald Trump, did not spend one night in New Hampshire, only managed to do a couple of town hall meetings in the final days, and yet carried the state, winning every region and every voting group. What’s the point of kicking tires anyway?
5. Time for Bill Clinton to Take a Vacation
After the squeaker in Iowa there was a brief moment during which some polls were showing Hillary closing the gap with Bernie. That was before Hillary brought out the Big Gun — Bill Clinton. Bill was unleashed on the campaign trail supposedly to boost his wife’s credentials, but ended up torpedoing her. Looking frail and with his voice barely audible, Bill launched a fierce attack on the Bern, painting him as hypocritical, sexist and “hermetically sealed,” but his most memorable line was a gaffe about wishing that he weren’t married to Hillary.
The entire rationale of the Hillary campaign is that electing her would be historic, like the election of Obama was historic. But it is hard to present oneself as an historic candidate while standing on someone else’s legacy and brand. Hillary needs to formulate her own persona, brand and political identity — separate and distinct from Bill Clinton. It is long overdue for Hillary to let go of the security blanket and be the trailblazer she claims to be.