What New Hampshire Tells Us About the 2020 Election
New Hampshire was the first clean test for the Democratic candidates. Here's an analysis of the results, and what they mean for the race.
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So we finally have actual election results from the state of New Hampshire. They are clear, and they are authoritative and they are a little bit complicated. “Hello, America.” “We are here to stay.” “Our campaign is built for the long haul.” “We’re going to Nevada. We’re going to South Carolina. We’re going to win those states as well.” Bernie Sanders has won the state by a little bit. Two other candidates who had quite a strong night — Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar. Not such a good night for Joe Biden or for Elizabeth Warren or for anybody else. “New Hampshire.” “New Hampshire.” “New Hampshire.” “We’re here together.” “New Hampshire.” “You all up here in New Hampshire.” After the debacle in Iowa, national attention has focused even more intensely on New Hampshire as the first real clean test of political momentum in this race. “People are still undecided.” “Uh, Bernie.” “Bernie Sanders, all the way.” “Mayor Pete.” “Amy Klobuchar.” “Oh, Joe Biden.” “I’ll just probably decide Tuesday, five minutes before I go in to vote.” New Hampshire is a classic swing state. “Ronald Reagan is the winner in the state of New Hampshire.” “Bill Clinton won it.” “It’s neck and neck.” “New Hampshire goes to Obama.” In 2016, Hillary Clinton prevailed over Donald Trump, but by a tiny margin. It’s a state that’s very much in play for 2020. “Four more, Trump. Four more years!” New Hampshire might gauge whether a candidate is able to appeal to certain other constituencies they will need in the general election. We have seen over the last week a real rivalry emerge between Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg. “Hot, fresh and vegan. Get your Bernie-on-a-stick.” New Hampshire is really home turf for Bernie Sanders. He comes from right next door in Vermont. And he also drew strong support, as he did in 2016, from younger voters and more liberal voters. “Young voters want Bernie because he’s fighting for their future. He's not fighting for his future. He’s in his future.” [cheering] Bernie Sanders came into New Hampshire claiming momentum out of Iowa, based on his lead in the popular vote. “Finally, the votes were counted in Iowa. Took them a little while. We won the vote by 6,000 votes.” He has been somewhat more aggressive with his primary opponents here … “We don’t have a Super PAC.” … talking about the difference between himself … “We don’t want billionaires’ money.” … and candidates in the race, like Pete Buttigieg, who take money from billionaires and other big donors. “We are running a campaign for working people, funded by working people. And that is why we are going to win here in New Hampshire and all over this country.” [cheering] The biggest thing this might mean for Bernie Sanders is that he has clearly reasserted himself as the dominant leader on the left wing of the Democratic Party. And then there’s Pete Buttigieg. “Back in the Obama campaign, we called it ‘no drama Obama,’ and I haven’t come up with the right rhyme for Buttigieg.” [cheering] Pete Buttigieg has claimed, among the moderate candidates, a sense of momentum in New Hampshire that other folks were not able to take. “We can’t risk dividing Americans further. The idea that you’ve either got to be for a revolution or you got to be for the status quo leaves most of us out.” His message here has been pretty similar to his message in Iowa, but really focused on the idea that he’s the candidate who can win crossover support in the general election. “We need a politics that brings all of us in because all of us need a new and better president.” After finishing at the top in both Iowa and New Hampshire, Buttigieg now has a tremendous opportunity to put himself forward at the national level as the leader of moderate Democrats. Announcer: “Senator Amy Klobuchar!” The word that Amy Klobuchar supporters are using to describe what happened here is ‘Klomentum.’ She came to New Hampshire after a fifth-place finish in Iowa without a whole lot of wind in her sails. “It’s been funny suddenly seeing media come to all of our events.” [laughter] Things just turned around for her dramatically. If Klobuchar had not finished so strong in New Hampshire, it might have been the end of her campaign. “If you are tired of the extremes in our politics, and you are tired of the noise and the nonsense, you have a home with me.” She gets the chance to fight onward to Nevada and South Carolina and Super Tuesday. I would not make any plans that are based on knowing a Democratic nominee anytime soon. Well, I am going to Las Vegas next, so I probably would have a chance to do that.