It was the outsiders’ night, as Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders took home commanding victories in New Hampshire with the help of disaffected and frustrated voters. Exit polling showed both leading with nearly every demographic group, with the state’s Republicans deeply concerned about terrorism and immigration and among Democrats, the income inequality issue that has been at the center of Sanders’ campaign.
Now the race in both parties moves to more ethnically and politically diverse states—Nevada and South Carolina for Democrats, and South Carolina and Nevada for Republicans—where a wider range of issues and viewpoints will challenge candidates in ways not yet seen.
On the GOP side, John Kasich‘s victory is less about him as it is about his positive alternative to Trump and it remains to be seen if he can quickly build up a finance and ground campaign after running a New Hampshire-centric effort for months. His goal will be to deprive his rivals of a clear victory in his establishment-friendly lane. Marco Rubio‘s decline to fifth raises the stakes for him in South Carolina, where he needs a strong finish to alter the trajectory of his campaign. Acknowledging his poor debate performance is a start, but he’ll need to correct it in order to put doubts at ease. For Trump and Ted Cruz, the results were about as good as they could have hoped, with both on a collision course in South Carolina that will quickly turn nasty. And Jeb Bush is deploying his brother, former President George W. Bush to the Palmetto State in hopes of beating Rubio and Kasich here.
And then there were five? New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie canceled his events in South Carolina and prepared to end his campaign Wednesday after a disappointing sixth-place finish that disqualifies him from Saturday’s GOP debate in South Carolina. His initial all-in bet on New Hampshire became a play for governor-leading momentum play in Iowa that never quite materialized. He had a surge of support in the final days after his evisceration of Marco Rubio in the New Hampshire debate, but it proved to be more of a murder-suicide than a boost to his own candidacy. Ben Carson and Carly Fiorina are now in the race in name only. Carson will likely make Saturday night’s debate on the back of older polling, while Fiorina appears once again set to miss the stage. Neither has a path remaining to the nomination.
For Hillary Clinton, the results matched public polling going into the primary and there was little of the surge she hoped to find to narrow the gap in the final days. Her campaign is still struggling with how to define Sanders, but is betting that his weakness with Latino and black voters will do him in as the campaign turns south and west. She’s still the favorite to win the nomination, but these will be a trying few weeks for the Clinton campaign, as it seeks to reassure jittery donors and supporters who can’t shake the images of 2008.
Here are your must-reads:
New Hampshire Reveals the GOP’s Rifts
A divided party hands a victory to Trump [TIME]
Sanders and Clinton Prepare for a Long Fight
Sanders victory portends long race ahead [TIME]
Kasich Remains Stoic as He Heads to South Carolina
A tough test ahead [TIME]
Trump Gracious in New Hampshire Victory Speech
A quick victory lap [TIME]
Frustrated by 2016 Tone, Obama Returns to Political Roots
Speech in Springfield, Ill., where Obama launched 2008 campaign, starts week-long trip out of Washington [Washington Post]
“This campaign is not dead!” — Jeb Bush in New Hampshire after a fourth-place finish
“I don’t know what we’d have done tonight if we actually won.” — Hillary Clinton on taking the microphone at her post New Hampshire primary rally
Bits and Bites