Trump and Sanders won, as expected, Trump with 35.3% and Sanders with 60.4%.

Although they are often dismissed by the intelligentsia as little more than infotainment, debates really do matter, as we saw from the likely impact of Donald Trump’s absence from the pre-Iowa Caucus debate. Marco Rubio’s pounding by Chris Christie in the February 6 debate badly shook his campaign. Rubio crawled in at fifth place with less than 11%. Unfortunately for Christie, Rubio’s loss wasn’t Christie’s gain. After placing sixth with just 7.4%, Christie has withdrawn.

Speaking of intelligentsia, Trump won the college-educated Republican vote by a margin of 14%. But among those with no more than a high school education, Trump really trumped, winning 46%, compared to next-place winner Ted Cruz, who attracted 16% of those voters.

Clinton did worse than expected among women, who made up 55% of the Democratic vote. The reasons for her 11-point loss are complex, but she was not helped by scolding remarks by icons Gloria Steinem and Madeline Albright directed at women voters who have little experience of earlier feminist struggles.

How much does money matter? Immediately following his win, Sanders raised a whopping $6.5 million, a one-day record. He’ll need that money and more as he heads into South Carolina and Nevada, where Clinton expects her message to resonate with African American and Hispanic voters.

Still, “Jeb!” hasn’t seen much benefit from his massive spending, nor from the country-club demeanor that contradicts his exclamation mark. Even after his 11% showing, Bush surrogates predicted the campaign’s “resurrection”—a hopeful though hardly flattering characterization of its status.

Perhaps the biggest surprise of the day was the 15.8% second-place showing by Governor John Kasich of coveted swing state Ohio. Does this mean that the second-biggest voting block of New Hampshire Republicans actually prefers a more moderate voice? No. Hard-righters Trump (35.3%), Cruz (11.7%), and Rubio (10.6%) garnered a combined 57.6%, while relative moderates Kasich (15.8%) and Bush (11%) totaled just 26.8%–not a ringing endorsement of the GOP’s supposed voices of reason.

Nonetheless, after delivering what sounded like a victory speech, Kasich headed to South Carolina, where he will try to build on his sudden relevancy, stretch his campaign’s strained coffers, and blunt Trump’s expected strong support from Evangelical supporters.

Finally, Christie was not the only candidate to withdraw in the wake of the New Hampshire primary. Carly Fiorina has also packed up and gone home, much to the relief of voters who wondered whose marriages she would be disparaging next.

Gail Gottlieb
Public Policy Committee

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