Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders have won the New Hampshire presidential primary elections by wide margins.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich, the GOP’s most moderate candidate, placed a distant but respectable second to Trump on the Republican side. With 85 percent of precincts reporting at 11:45 p.m. CST, Kasich took about 16 percent of the vote. Trump more than doubled that, at around 35 percent.
Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio jostled for third place; each had about 11 percent of the New Hampshire vote. UPDATE, 2/10/16: After all votes were tallied, Cruz made it to 12 percent (rounding up).
Among Democrats, Sanders beat Hillary Clinton by over twenty percentage points: 60-38 at the moment. Yes, Sanders is a senator from neighboring Vermont. But he’s also a democratic socialist whose candidacy was considered absolutely marginal just a year ago. No longer. UPDATE, 2/10/16: The final tally was 60.4 percent to 38.0 percent.
There will be plenty of discussion about these results tomorrow. Right now, I just suggest you read Matthew Yglesias at Vox.
Whether Sanders wins or not, Yglesias argues, he’s already remaking the Democratic Party:
To Clinton, Democrats are the party of progressives, and so stuff that Democrats routinely do is, by definition, compatible with being progressive.
But though Democrats are certainly the more left-wing of the two parties — the party of labor unions and environment groups and feminist organizations and the civil rights movement — they’re not an ideologically left-wing party in the same way that Republicans are an ideological conservative one. Instead, they behave more like a centrist, interest group brokerage party that seeks to mediate between the claims and concerns of left-wing activists groups and those of important members of the business community — especially industries like finance, Hollywood, and tech that are based in liberal coastal states and whose executives generally espouse a progressive outlook on cultural change.
Sanders’s core proposition, separate from the details of the political revolution, is that for progressives to win they need to first organize and dominate an ideologically left-wing political party that is counterpoised to the ideological right-wing Republican Party.
And Donald Trump? Oh, he’s winning, all right.
Last week’s humbling second-place finish in Iowa reinforced the party’s assumption that Trump will inevitably implode, even now, and that another candidate (one who isn’t Ted Cruz, that is) will stand to consolidate the anti-Trump contingent in the GOP once other candidates begin dropping out. That may happen. Then again, it might not, Yglesias writes:
[T]here’s little reason to believe that actual voters endorse the “lanes” schema that political journalists have embraced. Voters who like Christie’s tough-talking persona may be drawn to Trump as the next best thing. Kasich and Trump stand out as the two candidates in the field who are a bit soft on the welfare state. Rubio and Trump are running on similar themes of rescuing the United States from Obama-induced decline. And then of course national polling still shows a healthy ten percent of Republicans backing outsider figures Ben Carson and Carly Fiorina, who may naturally gravitate toward Trump.
Finally, though it’s surely a sin to revel in the sheer chaos of it all, read these “9 things we learned about American politics this February,” including:
1. Party elites don’t really matter and endorsements are a terrible predictor of primary outcomes.
2. Retail politics isn’t important, especially in New Hampshire.
3. Socialist is a winning affiliation in American politics.
9. Being a member of the political party whose nomination you’re running for confers absolutely no advantage in winning said nomination.