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New Hampshire votes today, ending the excessive media coverage of the first two election contests. The expected victories of Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump leaves the race largely unchanged since last fall, as they join Hillary Clinton and Ted Cruz in the group that will be the next president.

New Hampshire Primary

Will New Hampshire Matter?—Randy Shaw

A week ago, everyone was focused on Iowa. Yet the only impactful Iowa result was Marco Rubio’s third-place finish, which he and the GOP Establishment falsely spun as a victory.

Last October, I argued that Rubio-Kasich was the Republicans’ strongest ticket. I soon realized Rubio was not ready for prime time. Rubio was not going to be the GOP presidential nominee even before he crashed and burned in last Saturday night’s debate, but that performance was fatal.

Rubio’s shellacking by Chris Christie was far worse than Dan Quayle’s Vice-Presidential debate failure against Lloyd Bentsen in 1988. There was no Internet in those days. People who missed Bentsen’s putdown of Quayle for trying to wear John F. Kennedy’s mantle could not watch it whenever they wanted or send the video out to friends (nor was Quayle in a race to be the GOP presidential nominee).

Barack Obama’s 2008 election failed to provide the transformative presidency that young voters sought. Now Hillary is not even promising a game-changing presidency.

Rubio’s video went viral and he cannot recover. The Republican base was not going to accept the Establishment choice in 2016 anyway, so the debate did more to stop media narratives of a Rubio revival than change the ultimate outcome of the race.

After New Hampshire the Republican race will be where it was before Iowa: a battle between Trump and Cruz. Democrats will be happy with either as the nominee.

Sanders-Clinton

Sanders will win big in New Hampshire. Polls have him so far ahead that Clinton will claim any victory margin under 20% as a momentum builder.

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While the real test of Sanders’ strength remains Super Tuesday, New Hampshire has again shown Clinton’s inability to win young voters. This includes younger women, who many assumed would want to elect the first women president but are instead feeling the Bern.

I think Hillary Clinton’s problems have far less to do with any specific failings on her part. Rather, we are seeing the same grassroots resistance to Clinton that helped spawn support for Ralph Nader against Al Gore in 2000.

It’s the “Is That All There Is?” response to eight years of an incumbent Democratic Administration.

Barack Obama’s 2008 election failed to provide the transformative presidency that young voters sought. Now Hillary is not even promising a game-changing presidency.

randy shaw

Obama’s presidency has been significantly more progressive than Bill Clinton’s. History will show Obama to be the greatest Democratic President since FDR. But young people facing high student debt and growing inequality want to vote for someone who aspires to a political “revolution,” not a candidate vowing to be a “pragmatic progressive.”

New Hampshire matters only if Sanders’ victory changes the dynamics for Super Tuesday. Because if he gets hammered in those March 1 races his success in the overwhelmingly white states of Iowa and New Hampshire will have meant little.

randy shaw

Randy Shaw

I still vividly recall believing in 2008 that if Barack Obama could fight Clinton to a draw on Super Tuesday he was assured of the nomination. Sanders faces a tougher challenge, but a split on Super Tuesday would ensure a race that goes down to the wire.

Randy Shaw
Beyond Chron