Tentative Primary and Caucus Schedule
  March 1 (Super Tues)
  March 2-14
L blue   March 15-31
Delegates needed for nomination:
GOP: 1237,   Dem: 2242
Map explained
New polls:  
Dem pickups:  
GOP pickups:  

News from the Votemaster

New Hampshire Voters Poke Establishment in the Eye

In a night that will leave both RNC Chair Reince Priebus and his DNC counterpart Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) with headaches, outsider candidates were triumphant in the Granite State on Tuesday, with Democratic Socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) crushing Hillary Clinton by 22 points, and Donald Trump tallying nearly as many votes as the next three finishers combined. Here are the results and elected delegates with 100% of the votes counted. Unpledged delegates who have stated a preferences are counted below.

Rank Candidate Pct Delegates
1 Donald Trump 35.3% 10
2 John Kasich 15.8% 4
3 Ted Cruz 11.7% 3
4 Jeb Bush 11.0% 3
5 Marco Rubio 10.6% 3
6 Chris Christie 7.4% 0
7 Carly Fiorina 4.1% 0
8 Ben Carson 2.3% 0
9 Jim Gilmore 0.0% 0
Rank Candidate Pct Delegates
1 Bernie Sanders 60.4% 15
2 Hillary Clinton 38.0% 9

For Trump, the outcome is an overwhelming validation of his candidacy. After a second place finish in Iowa, many wondered if The Donald's campaign was losing steam, or if his supporters weren't really "serious." On Tuesday, he outperformed nearly every poll that had been taken of New Hampshire, doing four points better than his 31% average across all polls. "We are going to start winning again and we are going to win so much," crowed the billionaire. He may be very well be right—New Hampshire Republicans are much more mainstream than those in Iowa, and the primary system is much less susceptible to being gamed than the caucus system. At very least, Trump looks like he's going to be around for a long time—only once in the past half-century has a GOP candidate won the New Hampshire primary and dropped out before the convention (John McCain in 2000).

The New York Daily News, which endorsed Mitt Romney in 2012, had this to say about its home-town boy:

NYDN front pahe

The Daily News does not seem to like Trump much and has had similar front pages before. It is also not wild about Ted Cruz.

On the Democratic side, Sanders' victory is not quite so large as the polls predicted a few weeks ago, but it was about as resounding as he could have hoped for when we awakened on Tuesday morning. Certainly, the Clinton campaign is very unhappy, and staffers are openly discussing plans to retool, with their messaging focused much more on racial justice. One or more prominent advisers could also find themselves on the unemployment line by the end of the week.

With that said, the Democratic result tells us much less than does the Republican result. On one hand, Clinton invested heavily in New Hampshire, with huge ad buys, 50 paid staffers and 10,000 volunteers. She had the endorsement of nearly every prominent Democrat in the state, including the governor. It was not good to lose by so much under those circumstances. On the other hand, New Hampshire's fundamentals heavily favor Sanders. He's a neighbor and, more importantly, the Granite State is one of the whitest in the Union (94.2% white; a figure that trails only Maine and the Senator's home state of Vermont). Iowa, meanwhile, is the nation's seventh-whitest state (92.5%). Sanders is going to have to win some more diverse states before he can be viewed as a serious threat to dethrone Clinton. And in an indication of how little was really decided on Tuesday (and of the fact that Clinton has quite a bit of room for error), the current delegate tally for New Hampshire actually stands at 15 for Clinton and 13 for Sanders, given her support from the six Democratic superdelegates who have already declared (another two are undecided).

Beyond Trump and Sanders, the other big winner, of course, was Gov. John Kasich (R-OH). Not only did he finish second place, but he cleanly outpolled all of his competitors for the "establishment" vote. This may not mean all that much, since he was only separated from the rest of the pack by a few points, and New Hampshire's fundamentals are very friendly to him. However, Trump's result is going to scare a lot of important people on the red team. They know that they will soon pass the point of no return for settling on a champion (if they haven't passed the point of no return already). And when those kinds of discussions are going on, it's a very good time to be ahead of the pack, even if it's only by a nose. Certainly, the result is enough to keep Kasich going until March 15, when his big, juicy home state of Ohio will award its 66 delegates in winner-take-all fashion.

The biggest loser on Tuesday, even bigger than Clinton, was Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL). Though it's only by a few points, a fifth-place finish is dismal. At best, he lost his chance to deliver a knockout blow to his establishment competitors, two of whom beat him on Tuesday. At worst, he and the voting public will spend the next 10 days (and probably more) hearing that he's no longer a candidate who voters take seriously. The Senator blamed his poor debate performance for the loss:

Our disappointment tonight is not on you. It's on me. It's on me. I did not—I did not do well on Saturday night, so listen to this: That will never happen again."

It's an honest assessment, perhaps, but also one that's a bit tone deaf. First of all, he might want to talk to Howard Dean about how much it helped to never do the "Dean scream" again, or to Dan Quayle about how much it helped to never misspell "potato" again. Beyond that, Rubio's supporters and his potential supporters are not really interested in hearing that he won't make the same mistake. What they want to hear is a plausible explanation for how that moment (actually, those moments) do not reflect who the Senator really is—that he's not merely an empty suit who thoughtlessly repeats whatever his advisors tell him to say. He's going to struggle to regain his momentum, particularly since the pressure (which he does not handle well) is going to be dialed up to 10 at the GOP debate on Saturday.

The other candidate who was plainly in the loser column was Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX). Yes, he spun his third-place finish as a win; an interesting choice given that he mocked Rubio for doing the exact same thing after Iowa. But he's wrong: Tuesday makes clear that the Senator is unlikely to be able to fight off Donald Trump, and also that he does not do well in states without large numbers of evangelicals. South Carolina has a large evangelical population, and so, too, do some of the Super Tuesday states, so the Texas Senator may have a mild "resurgence" in March. But beyond that is a non-dogmatic wasteland for Cruz made up of the Californias and the New Yorks and the Michigans of the world. Not only is he not going to be the Republican nominee, he may not even make it to the convention.

The results were mixed, meanwhile, for Jeb Bush and Gov. Chris Christie. They seem to have stolen a bit of support from Marco Rubio, allowing them to slightly outperform their poll numbers. Still, a fourth and sixth place finish are a fourth and sixth place finish. Bush has enough money in the bank and establishment support that he might as well keep going until Florida, to see if his home state saves him. In fact, he should probably spend all of his time there leading up to Super Tuesday. Christie, for his part, is going to have a hard time making a case that not only will Rubio continue to fade, but also that he can pass Bush and Kasich to take the lead in the establishment lane. With the money running out, he might well decide the game is up. For what it's worth, he changed his travel plans and headed back to New Jersey, rather than to South Carolina. Of course, maybe he's just getting some clean clothes.

And speaking of candidates who fly home to change their socks, Ben Carson had a terrible night. So did Carly Fiorina; neither result was a surprise. Both the former CEO and the former surgeon say they plan to carry on, nonetheless. Jim Gilmore, for his part, made no statement—perhaps he was too busy personally thanking the 125 people who voted for him.

Actually, Gilmore wasn't last. There were 30 people on the Republican ballot. Last place was a three-way tie between Matt Drozd, Robert Mann, and Peter Messina, each of whom got 5 votes. Of the better-known candidates, Bobby Jindal (who withdrew weeks ago), came in last with 44 votes. On the Democratic side, there were 28 candidates on the ballot. Last place went to Raymond Moroz and Richard Well, each of whom got 7 votes. Vermin Supreme made a surprisingly stong finish in 4th place with 243 votes, about half of what Martin O'Malley (who is also no longer running) got.

Voters will next go to the polls on Feb. 20, with Nevada Democrats caucusing and South Carolina Republicans holding their primary on that day. There's plenty of time for the needle to move, between any continued RubioGlitch fallout, the New Hampshire results, and another debate for each side. Current polls, for what they are worth, predict a rebound for Clinton, another big win for Trump, and a crushing defeat for Kasich. But Feb. 20 is more than a week away and of course a week in politics, as Marco Rubio learned the hard way, is a lifetime. (Z)

IRS Deems Karl Rove's Attack Group a Social Welfare Organization

Karl Rove's Crossroads GPS, which spent tens of millions of dollars from secret donors in 2012, applied to be a 501(c)(4) "social welfare" group five years ago. The IRS has finally gotten around to making a decision on the application and has concluded that the group meets the requirements. By law, 501(c)(4) groups must be organized exclusively for the purpose of promoting the social welfare of a community, state, or the nation. Such groups may engage in political activities but their primary mission must not be political. The reason Rove applied for this status is that organizations who have it do not have to report their donors to anyone. (V)

Clinton Praised Goldman Sachs in Her Speeches

Hillary Clinton received $225,000 for a single speech to Goldman Sachs executives in Oct. 2013. What she said has become a flashpoint in the campaign. She has been tight lipped about her speech and not willing to release the transcript. Now the cat is out of the bag. One of the attendees has spoken off the record and said she praised the bank for raising capital and creating jobs. At no time did she mention that the big banks, including Goldman, wrecked the economy in 2008. The source said that she sounded like a Goldman Sachs managing director. Clinton made other speeches to Goldman executives and earned $675,000 in total from them.

In itself, an international company like Goldman needs to know what is going on in the world and paying $200,000 or so to a former secretary of state to tell it whether it should invest, in say, Russia or Brazil, is money well spent. But Bernie Sanders is going to hit her over the head with this, saying this proves she is with the banks rather than with the people. (V)

Sanders Supports Big Defense Spending If It Is in Vermont

Bernie Sanders is not clean as a hound's tooth either. While he generally is not a big supporter of wasteful defense spending, and has often railed against big defense corporations, his actual track record is more complex. When he was mayor of Burlington, VT in 1985, for example, and protesters showed up at General Electric plant in Burlington that manufactured Gatling guns to fight socialists in Central America, Mayor Sanders sided with GE and called the police to forcibly remove them, saying GE was providing good jobs for Burlington.

More recently, in his 2012 Senate reelection campaign, his Republican opponent opposed the F-35 stealth fighter, which will have a lifetime cost of over $1 trillion, is billions over budget, has a gun that won't even work until 2019, and lost a battle with the 40-year-old F16. Sanders supported the F-35 on the ground that it will provide jobs. Residents of Burlington sued to keep the F-35s out of the Burlington airport (against Sanders' wishes) but lost. So although Sanders is generally against wasteful defense spending, when that spending creates jobs in Vermont, he is OK with it. A lot of politicians are like that. (V)

Government Wants to Give Politicians $300 Million but None Want It

In the aftermath of Watergate, in 1974, Congress passed a law providing public funding of presidential campaigns, as a way to eliminate corruption. In the early years, politicians generally accepted public financing of their campaigns. In 2008, George W. Bush began the exodus from the public-financing system when he turned down the money in the primaries. In 2008, Barack Obama became the first candidate to turn it down in a general election. The pot is now $292 million and no candidate wants any part of it. Even Bernie Sanders, whose campaign is largely about the corrupting influence of money in politics, is raising his own money. The main reason candidates turn down the free money is that it puts limits on how much they can raise from donors and they don't want to live with those limits. (V)

Carson Violates the Protocol, Says He Would Be Trump's Veep

Ben Carson is very naive and doesn't seem to know how the game is played. You're not supposed to say you are interested in being anyone's Veep, but yesterday Carson came out and said that he would consider being on Trump's ticket. Of course, given Carson's knowledge of politics and history, it is entirely possible he is unaware that a former Vice President, John Nance Garner, said the vice presidency was, "not worth a bucket of warm piss." Some reports replace the last word of the quote with "spit," but Garner, known as Cactus Jack, was a hard-charging, hard-drinking, Texas pol and not at all given to euphemisms, so the bowdlerization was no doubt done later by editors who didn't want to offend their readers. (V)

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---The Votemaster
Feb09 New Hampshire's Turn at the Plate
Feb09 New New Hampshire Voter ID Law Goes Into Effect Today
Feb09 Does Bush Still Have a Shot at the Nomination?
Feb09 How to Really Make America Great Again
Feb09 Does the Republican Establishment Actually Want to Win?
Feb08 Republican Debate Postmortem
Feb08 In New Hampshire, It's Trump, Then a Four-way Tie for Second
Feb08 Myths about the New Hampshire Primary
Feb08 Sanders Outspending Clinton 3-to-1 in New Hampshire
Feb08 Trump's Draft Deferments Could Be an Issue in South Carolina
Feb08 Clinton Still Ahead in Iowa
Feb07 A Bad Night for GOP Frontrunners in New Hampshire
Feb07 Another National Poll Says Clinton and Sanders Are Tied
Feb07 Kasich Says He Would Be a Terrible Vice President
Feb07 Is There A Special Place in Hell for Women Who Don't Help Each Other?
Feb07 Gloria Steinem: Young Women Support Sanders to Meet Boys
Feb07 Get-Out-The-Vote Operations Have Become More Sophisticated
Feb06 Democratic Debate Postmortem
Feb06 GOP Candidates Take Their Turn in New Hampshire
Feb06 New Poll of New Hampshire Puts Rubio Second
Feb06 Sanders Catches Clinton in New National Poll
Feb06 Why Do Millennials Love Sanders?
Feb06 Trump Will Appear at March 3 Debate Moderated by Megyn Kelly
Feb05 Democrats Duel in Durham
Feb05 Trump Barely Ahead in New National Poll
Feb05 Rubio in Second Place in New Hampshire
Feb05 Powell and Rice also Used Personal Email Accounts for Classified Data
Feb05 Barbara Bush To Campaign for Jeb in New Hampshire
Feb05 Cruz Raised $3 Million Since Iowa Caucuses
Feb04 February Lineup for the Republican Nomination
Feb04 Could the Republicans Be Down to Three Serious Candidates Already?
Feb04 Santorum and Paul Call It Quits
Feb04 Rubio is Gaining Momentum, Though at What Cost?
Feb04 Trump Says He Will Sue Over the Iowa Caucus Results
Feb04 Ted Cruz Has Another Misunderstanding
Feb04 In New Hampshire, Sanders Leads Clinton by 33 Points
Feb04 Clinton Raised $27 Million from State Parties
Feb04 Additional Democratic Debates Are a Go
Feb03 Clinton Barely Edges Out Sanders in Final Iowa Tally
Feb03 Clinton and Sanders Voters See Issues Differently
Feb03 Republican Voters Also See Things Differently
Feb03 It's a Marathon, Not a Sprint
Feb03 Is Cruz Like Santorum?
Feb03 Bush, Kasich, and Chrisie Are Going to Aim Their Arrows at Rubio
Feb03 Devil Is in the Details for Democratic Debates
Feb03 MacFarland Has a Message for Cruz
Feb03 Sanders Has Yet Another Multimillion Dollar Day
Feb02 Let the Spin Begin
Feb01 Caucus Day Is Upon Us
Feb01 Monday Is Also Judgment Day for Microsoft