The results from the New Hampshire primary are in.
Bernie crushed Hillary 60-38%, snagging 13 delegates to her 9, putting him ahead in the delegate race 34-30 (not counting super delegates).
This is bad for the Clinton campaign, although the entire Democratic ticket is in trouble. They get to choose between an economic ignoramus and utopian dreamer in Sanders, or a thoroughly corrupt and venal candidate in Hillary — a choice between “very bad” and “just a little worse.” Although Sanders is surging and he dominates Clinton in every demographic, the Democratic establishment is a force to be reckoned with, and I’m sure they’ll do everything possible to keep Sanders from gaining the nomination. It will be interesting how it all shapes up.
On the GOP side, things are about as bad as they come. Trump had a blow-out win taking 35% of the vote. Kasich was a (surprise) distant second with 15.8%; followed up by Cruz (11.6%), Bush (11.1%) and Rubio (10.5%). Christie was far back in sixth, and Fiorina and Carson even further behind. Look for the last three to drop out soon.
There are a number of unfortunate things about how the GOP vote turned out. It gives new life to Kasich and Bush, both of whom did poorly in Iowa; they will likely continue their campaigns, eating up much-needed votes for the two GOP candidates who could (and in my mind should) win: Cruz and Rubio. Let’s face it: neither Kasich nor Bush have a chance at the nominee, and their campaign organizers probably realize this by now. Yet humans have the incredible ability to rationalize and dream, simultaneously mixing the two so as to paint a possible future that isn’t likely at all.
Cruz had a better-than-expected night. His campaign looks strong going into Nevada and South Carolina, and expect him to continue to perform well. Rubio had quite a horrid night, taking fifth. His stumble in the debate over the weekend when Christie needlessly and stupidly attacked him (on that, see this and this) lost him some precious votes — which is why Kasich and Bush did so well. It is silly and frustrating to see how internecine fights and self-centered attacks by one candidate in order to knock out another candidate ends up damaging the entire party and really putting the country at risk by making Trump the clear front-runner. Had Rubio performed well in the debate, he might have taken third in New Hampshire, or even second. If Cruz were right there with him, the top three contenders (Trump, Cruz, Rubio), would have been solidified. This would have convinced Kasich and Bush to probably suspend their campaigns.
Why does this matter? Because Trump cannot be allowed to win. He would be a disaster, not just for the GOP, but for everybody in this country and for the direction of our country overall. As NRO has thoroughly pointed out, Trump is not a conservative; he is basically a political interloper and opportunist, using the Republican Party to further his own personal ambition and agenda. He could have just as easily run as a Democrat. He is a narcissistic, uncouth bully (I actually believe he has narcissistic personality disorder) who talks in endless vagaries in order to give himself plenty of flexibility to do whatever he wants and in order to avoid being pinned on any one thing (“America never wins. But we’re going to win” — what does this mean? How do you define “win”? This could be twisted to support any domestic or foreign policy, any statistic). Frankly, I’m appalled that Americans are voting for him, and make no mistake: citizens voting for Trump have been duped just as badly as citizens voting for Sanders.
Trump cannot be allowed to win. But in order to defeat him, the rest of the GOP candidates need to work together — a wish that will probably never come true. The rest of the Republican field needs to realize that Trump is playing them and their voters, and they need to kick him out in order to save the party and save America from major headaches. To do this, they need to decide who has the best chance of both beating Trump in the primaries, and then has the greatest electability in the general. This is obviously Cruz or Rubio. But instead of working for the greater good, Christie attacks Rubio, and Bush and Kasich doggedly stick it out. As long as these guys stay in the race, they are literally sucking up votes from Cruz and Rubio. Why? Because everyone who would vote for Trump has voted for him already. Does anyone really believe that those who voted for Christie, Bush, and Kasich, if these candidates had dropped out, would then cast their vote for Trump? No. They would pull for Cruz or Rubio.
David Bahnsen has summed up the situation well:
Donald Trump is going to win this nomination, unless a bad stumble takes place, or a quick coalescing takes place. Can Rubio really hit it out of the park in South Carolina and Nevada? Does Jeb love his country enough to get out sooner than later? At the end of the day, Trump cannot win this nomination if it were a one-on-one race (whether that be Cruz or Rubio), and probably struggles in a three-man too. BUT, he pretty much can’t lose in a four or five man race, and that is what we may have up through Super Tuesday. Everyone needs to realize that THAT is the math here. Stay in – help Trump. Get out – beat Trump. It’s as simple as that.
Unfortunately, this is probably too much to ask for from Bush or Kaisch right now (with such a poor finish, Christie is done). The Cruz-Rubio-Bush-Kasich fight in the next couple weeks will allow Trump to grab the nomination — baring some unexpected turn of events. It’s just that simple. I’m afraid for the future of the GOP, and ultimately, I’m deeply concerned for our country come November 2016.