UK, Manchester: Yesterday, Hillary Clinton defeated by Bernie Sanders in the New Hampshire primary, and Donald Trump also scored a big win in a triumph of two candidates who have seized on Americans’ anger at the Washington political establishment. Both outcomes would have been nearly unthinkable not long ago. By winning Tuesday, Trump will take the lead in the race for delegates for the Republican National Convention. But it won’t be much of a lead.
Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist, beat a former secretary of state and first lady once seen as the all-but-certain Democratic nominee. While Clinton remains the favourite in national race for the Democratic nomination, the win by the Vermont senator could be a springboard into a competitive, drawn-out primary campaign.
For Trump, the brash real estate magnate and television personality who has never held public office, the win was an important rebound after his loss to Texas Senator Ted Cruz in last week’s Iowa caucuses, the first nominating contest. Trump has led national polls for months and the New Hampshire victory reinforces his position as front-runner, proving he can win votes, and giving credibility to his upstart populist candidacy.
For some Republican leaders, back-to-back victories by Trump and Cruz, an uncompromising conservative, add urgency to the need to coalesce around a more mainstream candidate to challenge them through the primaries. However, Tuesday’s vote did little to clarify who that candidate might be. Ohio Governor John Kasich finished second after devoting almost all of his campaign resources to New Hampshire. Competing for third were Cruz, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and Florida Senator Marco Rubio.
All looked for a strong showing that would produce an influx of new donor money and attention as the election moves on to the February 20 South Carolina primary. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who had dedicated a significant amount of time to New Hampshire, lagged behind in the vote count, casting doubt on the future of his campaign. He told supporters that instead of going to South Carolina, he’ll head home to “take a deep breath” and take stock of his struggling presidential bid.
The day was also a blow for Rubio, who had appeared to be breaking away from the second-tier Republican pack after a stronger-than-expected third-place showing in Iowa. But he stumbled in a debate Saturday under intense pressure from Christie who cast the young senator as too inexperienced and too reliant on memorized talking points to become president.
Overall, Clinton has amassed at least 392 delegates and Sanders at least 42; the magic number to clinch the nomination is 2,382. There are only 23 delegates at stake in New Hampshire’s Republican primary, and they are awarded proportionally, based on the state-wide vote. Trump will win at least nine. A candidate needs 1,237 delegates to win the nomination.