February 12, 2020

New Hampshire Primary

“Bernie Sanders won New Hampshire’s presidential primary Tuesday night, edging moderate rival Pete Buttigieg and scoring the first clear victory in the Democratic Party’s chaotic 2020 nomination fight… Amy Klobuchar scored an unexpected third-place finish.” AP News

Also on Tuesday, Andrew Yang and Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) both suspended their campaigns. AP News

See past issues

From the Left

The left sees the results as a win for Sanders and Klobuchar.

“In 2000, designated Clinton successor Al Gore put down a challenge from liberal free-thinker Bill Bradley in the primary—a CNN story from March 1999 described Gore’s ‘orchestrated rollout of endorsements’ demonstrating his clear hold on the Democratic establishment—but lost, as it were, to George W. Bush. In 2004, John Kerry succeeded in reining in outsider candidate Howard Dean—who’d been denounced as an unelectable ‘McGovern-Mondale’ extremist by the Democratic Leadership Council—before Iowa but also lost to Bush…

“Hillary Clinton started the 2008 primary cycle with advantages in polling, endorsements, and large-donor fundraising, but lost to Barack Obama. She nearly lost an even larger lead in the 2016 primary, and then, in the general election … well, you know… [And now] yet another establishment Democratic frontrunner is failing to get the job done.”
Ben Mathis-Lilley, Slate

“Rather than risk alienating young Democrats and independent voters by seeking refuge in the comfort of a Michael Bloomberg or an Amy Klobuchar, party elites should instead stop worrying and learn to feel the Bern. All available evidence suggests that he's a very good bet to defeat the president… center-left Democrats need to get George McGovern and Walter Mondale out of their heads. 1972 was a lifetime ago. Sanders has been a national figure for nearly five years, and wall-to-wall hysteria about socialism has done little to dim the public's enthusiasm for him…

“We have a colossal amount of polling data stretching back many years which suggests Sanders would be a very strong general election candidate. Not only was he leading Trump by an average 10.4-point margin in June 2016 — 8 points better at that time than Hillary Clinton — but he has continued to lead now-President Trump in virtually every survey conducted over the past three years.”
David Faris, The Week

Meanwhile, “[Klobuchar is] not an incredible dynamo of charisma, but she does have a kind of charming dorky Midwestern shtick. She sticks to popular policy positions, and she has a strong track record of winning the kind of voters Democrats need to carry in November… Back in 2012, President Obama won 53 percent of the vote in Minnesota. Klobuchar won 65 percent…

“Earlier this year, FiveThirtyEight computed a ‘popularity above replacement senator’ score for every member of the upper house. It compares each senator’s home state favorable rating to the underlying partisan attributes of the state. Nos. 1 and 2 are West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin and Alabama Sen. Doug Jones, who’ve run and won in deep-red states. No. 3 is Klobuchar — a Democrat who is just really good at making Midwesterners like her… If [Biden's] basic message appeals to you — and clearly it does appeal to a lot of Democrats — you owe it to yourself to ask if Klobuchar isn’t the most effective vehicle for that message.”
Matthew Yglesias, Vox

Regarding Michael Bennet, some note that “In many ways, [Biden and Buttigieg] were worse avatars for Democratic centrism than Bennet, who crafted his ‘Real Deal’ with an eye to what his colleagues in the Senate Democratic caucus would rally behind… Bennet’s child allowance plan has 38 Senate Democrats backing it, far more than any other candidate’s trademark spending plan. At the same time, Bennet emphasized policies that don’t need congressional buy-in but which the rest of the field often overlooked…

“He, for instance, had the most aggressive monetary policy platform of any candidate, calling on the Federal Reserve to put workers and wage increases first instead of focusing on preventing inflation… Whoever the next president is, the odds are their eventual policy record may look more like Bennet’s platform than their own.”
Dylan Matthews, Vox

Finally, many point out that while Yang’s campaign has ended, “[his] remaining rivals bought in to his pitch months ago. Elizabeth Warren spoke about automation at the October debate; Joe Biden discussed the fourth industrial revolution on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert. As for Yang’s $1,000-a-month idea? His campaign’s pollsters put together a memo showing that support for the plan in Iowa grew from 17 percent of expected caucus-goers in September to 60 percent in January. And he managed to do it without winning a single delegate.”
Edward-Isaac Dovere, The Atlantic

From the Right

The right sees the results as a loss for Biden and Warren, making Sanders the favorite to win the nomination.

The right sees the results as a loss for Biden and Warren, making Sanders the favorite to win the nomination.

Joe Biden is, if not toast, on life support. On paper, he’s only 15 delegates or so back behind Buttigieg, and only 14 behind Sanders. But getting nothing out of New Hampshire, when he had remained among the front-runners in mid-January, means the bottom has fallen out… Exit polls suggested more moderates were voting for Bernie Sanders than him. His plan is apparently to hope that he still has enough oomph to win South Carolina by a wide margin, and that that win somehow turbocharges him to a good performance on Super Tuesday three days later. That is not a high-probability path to victory…

“Elizabeth Warren, by comparison, is toast — or like a character in an M. Night Shyamalan movie, she’s already gone, and is walking around not knowing yet. Her third-place, 20 percent, eight-delegate finish in Iowa was pretty ‘meh’ considering she once led the state, and finishing in fourth place, below the 15-percent threshold for delegates, is pretty disappointing. As a Massachusetts senator, this is her backyard. She’s Biden without the theoretical firewall of South Carolina.”
Jim Geraghty, National Review

“Biden maintained a steady frontrunner status when he had the centrist vote pretty much all to himself. But as he showed weakness, culminating in a similarly dismal showing in Iowa last week, electability-minded Democrats began to shop around. That has benefited not only Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, but also Klobuchar who actually improved on her Iowa showing and improbably broke into the top three. The proliferation of alternatives to Bernie, even before we get to contests where Michael Bloomberg is on the ballot, is bad news for Biden… Centrist Democrats are abandoning Biden at an alarming rate. If African-American voters are next, he is doomed.”
W. James Antle III, The American Conservative

“Many Sanders supporters are going to resent that, in the second contest in a row, he won the most votes yet his performance was seemingly discounted. Some other person (first Buttigieg, now Amy Klobuchar) will be declared ‘the winner of the night’... In fact, the emergence of Amy Klobuchar may be a godsend to Bernie’s campaign. Klobuchar directly targeted Buttigieg in the last debate, and she prospered. She will command serious media attention and may very well prevent donors and leading Democratic officeholders from endorsing Buttigieg to stop Sanders…

“Right now Bernie Sanders has the highest approval rating among Democrats of all the remaining candidates. He is the second choice of most Biden and Warren supporters… Roughly two in five Democrats are willing to support a non-Sanders candidate such as Pete Buttigieg or Amy Klobuchar, but crucially, they are not consolidating and granting either of them a full 40 percent in any one state. Which of these candidates can and will consistently beat Sanders? And when?”
Michael Brendan Dougherty, National Review

“In crucial respects, [Sanders’s] performance this time around has been more like Trump’s in 2016. Trump had a strong core of support and the gift of a divided opposition. New Hampshire didn’t help the opposition coalesce behind anyone. Republicans who hoped there was time to stop him kept finding it impossible to unite, and while they scattered Trump kept building momentum… anti-Sanders Democrats, too, may find that it is later than they think.”
Ramesh Ponnuru, Bloomberg

Regarding Yang, “[he] was a technocrat who married utopianism and realism in a race devoid of both. But Yang differentiated himself by broadcasting as wide a net as possible, drawing supporters spanning from those formerly of President Trump to Bernie Sanders. Yang was happy to appear on right-wing shows such as Ben Shapiro's while running for the Democratic nomination. He would tout contemporary feminism while also noting that full-time mothers such as his own wife deserved a seat at the table in our political debates too…

“This is not the last we've seen of Yang, who now is a celebrity in his own right. He has an ample fundraising base and platform to run in nearly any race in his home state of New York that he wishes to. And everyone, conservative and liberal alike, ought to hope he will. Politics need more men such as Yang, those with razor-sharp knowledge to back their proposals, but those who even so, put humanity first.”
Tiana Lowe, Washington Examiner

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