By Matt Rooney
They say victory has a thousand fathers but defeat is an orphan.
I think “misery loves company” is a much better fit for the 2020 New Hampshire Democrat Primary. Everyone who actually ran there tonight (an important caveat) lost. Big time.
Let’s break it down:
(1) As of this writing (it’s a bout 10:25 p.m. EST), Bernie is barely leading. NYT is projecting he’ll win by about a point and tie Pete Buttigieg in delegates (9 a piece). These are his people! He’s from nearby Vermont. Grandpa Munster fetched 60.14% of the vote here back in 2016; granted that was a two-way race but wow, this is still a major drop-off for a guy who romped through the Granite State and stunned Hillary Clinton a few short years ago. Does Bernie have a ceiling? We’ll know more as he moves to the western states.
(2) Mayor Pete can (and may) argue he’s the anti-Sanders with a strong second place finish on Tuesday night. What’s that really worth? Not much. Warren voters will prefer Bernie (probably). Klobuchar looks to hang around and cut into his game for at least a few more states. Ultimately, presidential politics in these early, low-delegate count states is an expectation game. He was supposed to do well here. He did well. Good for you, Pete. Merely meeting expectations is unlikely to provide much momentum and make much of a difference, for example, in a state like South Carolina where the ex-Indiana mayor is weak with black and brown voters.
(3) The last Democrat president to lose New Hampshire was Bill Clinton. The comeback kid finished second. Amy Klobuchar looks to be placing third. Thanks for playing! She’s too boring and, frankly, too un-angry for 2020.
(4) Warren and Biden… ouch. Both entered the primary season with sky-high expectations. Both will be lucky tonight if they end the evening in double-digit territory. Biden, a former vice president, risks gaining no delegates from the affair. The same goes for America’s most famous fake Indian since Iron Eyes Cody. They’re done. Over. Finished. Imploded!
(5) Steyer, Gabbard, Yang: probably more electable than the candidates who actually got votes. I’d have gladly knocked back a beer with the Yang Gang’s guru. Oh well. They’re all irrelevant now. Steyer should’ve kept his powder dry.
What it all means: a divided Democrat Party without a “mainstream” front runner might now need to rely on Mike Bloomberg (!) of all people to save them from a socialist candidate and socialist party platform. In fact, it’s a lot more likely than before after tonight. I don’t know if he can win the nomination. New Hampshire isn’t about who wins the nomination; the eventual nominee (e.g. McCain in 2000, Bernie in 2016) sometimes loses here. New Hampshire resets the chess board. I think it was reset tonight in Bloomberg’s favor.
The other big losers: early state nominating contests, at least for the Left. Iowa’s fumble and tonight’s mixed New Hampshire result – particularly if Bloomberg explodes onto the scene come Super Tuesday – might never recover their former importance.