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 Was The GOP's Worst Nightmare

It was bad enough that Donald Trump won, but that wasn't even the worst of it. The New Hampshire primary was supposed to bring clarity to the Republican nomination process. It didn't. It made the situation worse. What the Republican leadership desperately wants is for all but one of the "electable" candidates to drop out so it can pour money and resources into the survivor in order to take down the much-hated Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and the mercurial Trump. The game plan was for Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) to execute his 3-2-1 plan: third place in Iowa, second place in New Hampshire, and first place in South Carolina. Rubio came in fifth in New Hampshire and a 3-5-1 plan seems less likely at this point. Rubio admitted that acting like a broken record at Saturday's debate wasn't a smart move and promised not to do it again. The trouble with that is once an image of a candidate has started to solidify, it is very, very hard to reset it. In 2006, George Allen could have promised 100 times not to say "macaca" to anyone else but it would not have been of any use. In 2012, Rick Perry could promise he would memorize the three cabinet-level departments he would abolish, but it wouldn't have done him any good. When a gaffe reinforces an existing suspicion, it doesn't go away easily and in Rubio's case, the underlying suspicion was that he is a lightweight who is not ready for prime time.

The runner-up in New Hampshire was Gov. John Kasich (R-OH). He is the opposite of Rubio: the heaviest of heavyweights (except for Chris Christie, but that kind of heavyweight is not a plus). Kasich served 18 years in the House of Representatives and was twice elected governor of the second-most-important swing state. He has more government experience than any other Republican. In theory, the GOP leadership should like him—and probably on some level it does. His problem is that he is a normal politician who says sane and realistic things in a party that wants lots and lots of red meat. He is also out of money and has no organization in South Carolina, Nevada, or the South. He's not likely to repeat his second place finish anywhere except maybe winner-take-all Ohio on March 15.

What about Jeb Bush, then? He has 100% name recognition, a huge network, and plenty of money. His problem is that he isn't a very good candidate. So therein lies the dilemma: Each of the challengers to Cruz and Trump is deeply flawed. Maybe South Carolina will sort all this out, but more likely, Trump and Cruz will be #1 and #2, with everyone else down in the weeds. If that happens, the fight could go on for months and a brokered convention is a real possibility.

The Republicans' only consolation is the Democrats have a real fight on their hands as well. (V)

Trump Had Broad and Deep Support in New Hampshire

The exit polls in New Hampshire showed that Donald Trump had support from a broad spectrum of New Hampshire voters, not just angry blue-collar men. He was the favorite of both Republican men and women by 2 to 1 margins over Kasich. He had over 30% support from every age group. He won big time in cities, suburbs, and rural areas. He won with voters who cared primarily about the issues and with voters who cared mostly about leadership qualities. Amazingly, he won with every income range, although his margin over Kasich was the smallest (32% to 20%) among voters making $200,000/year. He won with very conservative, conservative, and moderate voters. He was victorious with people worried about terrorism and also those worried about the economy.

Among voters who said their biggest issue was immigration, he got more votes than all the other candidates combined. That was also true for voters who want to deport illegal immigrants back to where they came from. One of the few demographics he lost was people who oppose banning Muslims from entering the United States. In short, he was supported by a huge cross section of the Republican electorate. (V)

The Democrats' Moaning is Maybe a Tad Premature

The Democratic establishment has the same problem this year it has every election when there is no Democratic incumbent: a passionate, progressive challenger comes up out of nowhere to threaten the established order and young voters fall head-over-heels in love with him. In 2016 it is Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT). Before Sanders they had Barack Obama (2008), Howard Dean (2004), Bill Bradley (2000), Bill Clinton (1992), Jesse Jackson (1988), and Gary Hart (1984). Sometimes they win, but usually they lose. This year passionate young Democrats are flocking to Sanders, but the many reports of Hillary Clinton's demise are much too early. She is still way ahead with minority voters, few of whom live in Iowa or New Hampshire. If Sanders wins Nevada or South Carolina, that will be an earthquake; a tie in Iowa and even a blowout in 94% white New Hampshire is not.

A big difference between the Democratic and Republican races is that Sanders is broadly acceptable to the Democratic Party leadership. Their only real problem with him is not his plan for a $15 minimum wage or taking on Wall Street. They are afraid the Republicans will paint him as Joseph Stalin in the general election, when he is really Franklin Delano Roosevelt. These attacks are already underway, in fact. For example, Paul Sperry (who is, admittedly, something of a kook) recently had a piece in the New York Post painting Sanders as a "diehard Communist." They even Photoshopped the Bern's head onto Lenin's body, so it must be true.

The Republicans' problem is very different. A Donald Trump nomination could rebrand the Republican Party as a racist party that hates foreigners. That is not a formula to win general elections, and the damage could linger for multiple cycles. (V)

Sanders a Good Thing for Hillary?

That's the argument of Politico's Howard Gutman, who presents his thesis thusly: "If Sanders hadn't existed, Clinton should have paid big money to invent him."

Gutman's main point is that, if not for Sanders, the only media attention Clinton would be receiving right now would be negative stories about Emailgate. But with the Bern around, she gets to sharpen her debate skills, hone her message, keep her name in the headlines, and push most of the email stories out of the papers.

This argument is probably sound. The last non-incumbent Democrat to run effectively unopposed was Al Gore (sorry, Bill Bradley!), and certainly the lack of a serious Democratic challenger hurt him—he didn't build up much excitement around his candidacy, and his messaging was flabby and unfocused. Further, despite what DNC chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) may think, a spirited primary is also good for the Democratic Party. It allows the blue team to present themselves as serious people who engage thoughtfully with substantive issues, as opposed to arguing over who can build the biggest fence along the border or who can make the sand in the Middle East glow most brightly.

Gutman even believes that tying in Iowa and losing heavily in New Hampshire had silver linings for the Clinton campaign, since those results will keep Sanders viable for the long haul, thus giving Hillary a foil until she doesn't need one any more. She might not see the wisdom in this particular opinion at the moment, but maybe after the Nevada caucuses she will. (Z)

Obama Will Probably Endorse Clinton Sooner Rather than Later

Customarily, sitting presidents avoid making an endorsement in primary season, so as to avoid unduly influencing the process. Not always, though—Bill Clinton endorsed Al Gore, and LBJ endorsed Hubert H. Humphrey, among others.

So, will Barack Obama sit the primaries out or not? It appears that the answer is "no." To a large extent, his preference is already known: He feels a sense of loyalty to his former secretary of state, and he also hasn't forgotten that Bernie Sanders tried to recruit a more progressive challenger in 2012. Further, he's dropped increasingly less subtle hints as to his favored successor in interviews and in speeches. On Wednesday, he delivered an address that argued for the importance of flexibility and compromise over rigid adherence to ideology, and essentially invoked Hillary's debate line: "Progressives are people who make progress."

On March 15, Obama will vote in the primaries in his home state of Illinois. At that point, he will almost certainly have to let the Hillary out of the bag. The only question, then, is if he will lay his cards on the table sooner, perhaps in hopes of influencing the outcome on Super Tuesday. (Z)

Sanders Raises $6 Million Since the New Hampshire Primary

There is nothing like a smashing victory in a primary to make the money roll in, as Bernie Sanders demonstrated yesterday. In the 24 hours after his gigantic win over Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire, he raised $6 million, with an average donation of just $34. Sanders is proud of the fact that all of his money is coming in small donations from ordinary Americans, not from megadonors who give megadonations to mega super PACs. A more practical advantage of small donations is that the donors can give again and again without hitting the $2,700 legal limit on donations. (V)

Fiorina and Christie Are Out

The New Hampshire Primary wasn't completely worthless to the Republicans. Two candidates dropped out yesterday: Carly Fiorina and Chris Christie. Fiorina wasn't welcome in the first place and had no chance to start with, so she won't be missed. Fiorina labored under the illusion that having been fired in a very public way by one of the most respected companies in America and then crushed in a Senate race made her presidential material. Guess what? It didn't.

Christie is a different story. A couple of years ago, he was the establishment favorite, but began slipping after "Bridgegate," a nasty little dirty trick in which some unknown person closed three lanes of the George Washington Bridge and generated a massive traffic snarl. No one who knows anything about Christie believes for a second that anyone in his office would dare give such an order without his full backing.

But even Christie's withdrawal is a mixed blessing for the GOP. With Kasich too moderate for the base, Rubio now labeled as an empty suit, and Jeb being a poor campaigner, Christie is the one candidate the establishment could have rallied around. Unfortunately, the voters didn't like him. (V)

Sanders Is the First Jewish Candidate Ever To Win a Presidential Primary

One of the most underreported stories of the New Hampshire primary is the fact that Bernie Sanders is the first Jewish candidate in history to win a presidential nominating contest in any state, and he did it by a massive margin against a strong opponent. In the Republican contest, religion is a huge issue, with the candidates falling all over themselves to proclaim their faith. On the Democratic side, it played no role at all. Furthermore, Jews are so well assimilated into American society that no one even notices that they are hugely overrepresented in Congress, with 10 Jewish senators (10%) and 19 Jewish representatives (4%). About 2% of the U.S. population is Jewish. Unlike Joe Lieberman, who was Al Gore's running mate in 2000 (but who never entered or won any primaries), Sanders is not religious and under pressure will admit that he believes in God, but there is a fair chance that he knows while the country might be ready for a Jewish President it is most definitely not ready for atheist President, with 70% saying they would never vote for an atheist. (V)

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---The Votemaster
Feb10 New Hampshire Voters Poke Establishment in the Eye
Feb10 IRS Deems Karl Rove's Attack Group a Social Welfare Organization
Feb10 Clinton Praised Goldman Sachs in Her Speeches
Feb10 Sanders Supports Big Defense Spending If It Is in Vermont
Feb10 Government Wants to Give Politicians $300 Million but None Want It
Feb10 Carson Violates the Protocol, Says He Would Be Trump's Veep
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