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Thomas Gallatin / Feb. 12, 2020

Sanders Takes NH but Dems No Closer to Consensus Candidate

Sanders, Buttigieg, and Klobuchar have strong showings, while Warren and Biden continue to fade.

Socialist Bernie Sanders won the New Hampshire Democrat primary last night, taking in almost 26% of the vote. Nipping at his heels came Iowa caucus winner Pete Buttigieg with 24%, followed by the surprising late-surging Amy Klobuchar, who garnered nearly 20%. The slumping Elizabeth Warren and the “most electable” Joe Biden limped in at fourth and fifth place, respectively. Biden quickly jetted out of New Hampshire even before the polls closed, hoping to find greener pastures in Nevada and South Carolina.

The good news for Democrats is that, unlike in Iowa, voters turned out in higher numbers, matching 2008 totals and running well ahead of 2016. However, the bad news for Democrats is that President Donald Trump also had a good night, setting a record for an incumbent president in the New Hampshire primary with more than 120,000 votes and demonstrating that voter enthusiasm for Trump has grown significantly in a state that went for Hillary Clinton in 2016 by just 0.4%.

As the Democrat candidates shift their focus to Nevada and South Carolina, a clear division has formed within the party. It doesn’t appear it will be resolved anytime soon, either, given that none of the Democrat primary states are winner-take-all. The division is between the socialist candidates like Sanders and Warren versus the “old guard” liberals like Biden and Klobuchar. Buttigieg is trying his best to straddle both sides. This dynamic will allow these candidates to stay in the race longer, preventing the party from coalescing behind a clear front-runner. Additionally, late-coming Michael “Moneybags” Bloomberg will factor in the primaries going forward and the candidates may find themselves duking this out all the way to a contested convention.

It has also become patently obvious that the Leftmedia is seeking to influence the Democrats’ choice of candidate. While Sanders has consistently polled at the top of the Dems’ list of candidates — borne out by his strong showings in Iowa and New Hampshire — the Leftmedia has attempted to prop up more “electable” candidates like Biden out of concerns that Sanders’s socialism makes him unelectable. It’s not a bad read, but the problem is it threatens the party’s ability to build a coalition behind the eventual nominee strong enough to take on Trump.

(Updated.)

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