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Monday, February 15, 2016

New Hampshire Primaries: Trump wins big and the irony of Bernie Sanders

It's been a week since the New Hampshire primaries, but I wanted to give another round of political commentary regarding these races because a couple interesting things happened in both parties.  New Hampshire, much like Iowa, is another "first in the nation" contest.  But instead of being absolutely first like Iowa, New Hampshire is the first "real" primary since Iowa is a caucus and technically  not a primary.  And while there are some differences, they're not big enough really to make much of a difference to the common voter.  Anyway, to the results.  This week, I'll start with the Republicans.

Donald Wins Big

The biggest news with the Republican races is that Trump won and he won big.  Not only did he have more than double the second place vote, he always won in every demographic. There have been a lot of snobby, disparaging remarks from political elites and some other candidates about Trump's supporters such as they're mostly "uneducated"(aka stupid according to the snobby types).  Yet, that's not what the demographic results show.  Even though he did win the biggest among those without a college education, he still won the demographics of those with some college and also a degree. He won among male and female, young and old.  

Unlike Cruz's win in Iowa, this win by Trump is very convincing as it completely dominated.  And unlike in Iowa, Cruz only managed to get 12% for a third place finish.  Trump's win here is very reminiscent of eventual nominee status and I'm sure he'll point that out over this week leading into South Caroline and Nevada where he's leading polls by double digits.  

Of course, there is a valid point that can be made by pointing out the difference in Iowa's and New Hampshire's results.  From a Christian standpoint, one could say that Iowa still largely retains strong core Christian values while New Hampshire is more secular, which isn't necessarily a good thing for our continually morally declining culture.  And this point could be reinforced if Trump has another round of convincing wins in South Carolina and Nevada.  

Personally, while I've always liked Cruz, whom I voted for in the Iowa caucus, and think he'd be a fine president, I'd be blind and ignorant to simply dismiss Trump simply because he doesn't necessarily share the same core Christian values I do.  The results in New Hampshire show a candidate uniting people from different walks of life and generating enthusiasm that hasn't been seen in a Republican candidate in a very long time.  Whether you personally like Trump or not, simply writing him off for his Big New Yorker persona is a mistake.   I know he has a lot of undesireable things regarding his stance on social issues and is anathema to values voters. Keep in mind though, God can use anyone for his desires.  And while yes, that means he could even use someone like Bush, the type of authenticity Trump generates is clearly resonating.  And if he receives the nomination, I will vote for him, but I'll also write a post making a case for those turned off by Trump to still give him a chance.

Bernie ironically feels the bern of socialism

Bernie Sanders thoroughly trounced Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire.  In a two person contest, he nearly doubled Clinton in total votes.  So he should have received 2/3 of the state's delegates, right?Nope!  See, the Democratic primary process has these things called super delegates.  Super delegates are individuals that can cast their delegate for whomever they want and are not bound by the results of the people's vote.  Because of this, Hillary, despite losing gloriously, managed to get the same amount of delegates as Sanders because all of the super delegates are voting for Hillary.  

In other words, the Democratic nomination system slaps its own party base in the face by indicating that there are certain individuals whose choice matters more than the every day, common citizen the party so vocally claims to support.  To put it another way,it's saying these super delegates know what's best for the party than the party's general public base.  Sound familiar?  Why, yes it does! Socialism, with its heavy emphasis on central planning and programming does the exact same thing.  A small few, many times unelected, tell everyone else what's best for the country.  

So, Bernie, an unabashed socialist, ends up being the victim of a rigged socialist Democratic nomination process.  Oh, the irony.  It'll be interesting to see how many times Bernie trounces Hillary in a state, but somehow doesn't manage to pull ahead in delegates thanks to these super delegates.

Looking forward

The Republican field trimmed down a bit more after New Hampshire.  Two establishment candidates, Chris Christie and Carly Fiorina, both dropped out.  Will we see a bump in Bush or Kasich's numbers as a result? And while it's possible Trump could win big again in these states, the bigger number to pay attention to is the total of Bush and Kasich's votes.  When one inevitably drops out. chances are most of their supporters will go to the other or even Rubio, which is a problem for Trump.  While he is winning now, an argument can be made that it's because support is spread across all the other candidates.  While those candidates can be seen to gain from other candidates dropping out, it's hard to see how a Kasich supporter would rally to Trump instead of Bush or Rubio.  In other words, Trump is unlikely to gain more support from candidates dropping out.  So, it'll be interesting to see what happens after South Caroline and Nevada if other candidates, such as Carson and Bush or Kasich, drop out.

The implications of super delegates giving Hillary the nomination is a recipe for revolt far more than anything that's happened on the Republican side, including the dirty tricks the RNC has pulled to keep Ron Paul from getting the nomination.  If Hillary gets the nomination this way, will Bernie run on an independent ticket?  Even if he didn't, I could still see many fervent Bernie supports simply not voting for someone they see an entitled, out of touch, career politician that never really cared about her constituents.

Once again though, in both parties, the "authentic outsider" won big.  This upcoming weekend will see if this is the beginning of a trend or just a fluke.