Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Waiting for New Hampshire

The American tradition in recent years(and in the lifetime of all millennials) of having two lightly populated states set the tone for the beginning of the presidential primaries is certainly interesting and certainly odd.  New Hampshire will report results tonight, and it is unclear whether the results will be especially meaningful, interesting yes, but game changing?

On the Democratic side, the polls suggest a large victory for Bernie Sanders.  If Hillary Clinton is even close that would be considered almost as a victory for her at this point.  She is back on her heels and her campaign has done nothing to help her in recent days.  First, Bill Clinton broke his leash three days ago and made some impolitic personal remarks about Sanders.  Second, Madeline Albright's remarks about women being almost required to vote for Hillary were way off base, and Hillary having a good laugh on the stage with her over that was not smart.  Why seek to intimidate a voter base two days before an election.

Clinton's habit of yelling her speeches is truly annoying to many, even some of her supporters.  Does she think that she is a powerful speaker?  Even her husband had a cadence in speeches of balancing speaking strongly with speaking conversationally.  The contrast with Sanders on this quirk is huge. He is for the most part conversational and low key, with the exception of when he voices his extreme view on the financial industry.  He has no sense of balance on this issue.  Nevertheless, in this state where out of state voters can show up and claim that they are moving in and get the opportunity to cast a ballot, the bash Wall Street youth support for Sanders will likely be strong. South Carolina will become ever more important for Clinton.

For the Republicans this will be the second test of whether Trump supporters are dedicated voters, or more entertainment seekers who enjoy having someone famous doing their venting for them just as incoherently as they would.  It is suggested here that the polls will once again prove to have exaggerated Trump's voter support at the polls.  Ted Cruz's posture as the consummate cool liar may or may not catch up  with him here.  He claims to have massive grass roots support, a figure that can easily be manipulated(average contribution is one aspect of this) and cannot be verified(see January 27 post here about Cruz's real funding from a handful of fringe right wing billionaires to his PAC).

His claim that he had no knowledge that his staff was calling their supporters and others to let them know that Ben Carson was dropping out of the race in the next day or two is preposterous.  Anyone who has ever worked in a large organization in this country knows that the most senior person calls the shots unless they are totally out of it, and whatever one thinks of Cruz he most certainly completely dominates the running of his campaign like the debate stylist that he is.

For Jeb Bush this vote is essential and without a meaningful participation in the results he should pack it in, except that he still has money.  It is unlikely that Christie, Carson, and Fiorina can retain their support without a decent showing.  Their funding would begin to evaporate.  The focus on Rubio's scripted speaking in a debate and his glib approach to issues has been the case all along, but Christie forced viewers and pundits to notice.

Those are just a few thoughts as we await tonight's results.  Tuning in around 9pm should be about the right time to hear the beginnings of something meaningful, but if the turnout is large it could be a long night.

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