August 1, 2021

New Hampshire primary: Trump, Sanders win; Kasich projected to take GOP 2nd place

TRUMP2MANCHESTER, N.H. — Sen. Bernie Sanders and billionaire Donald Trump have won the Democratic and Republican presidential primaries in New Hampshire, in victories so decisive that the drama of primary night shifted to the Republicans battling for second, third and fourth place.

Projected to finish in second was Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a relatively moderate candidate who might face a difficult time unifying the party behind him in the next few primary states. After Kasich, there was a close race for third between Sen. Ted Cruz (Tex.) — who won the Iowa caucuses last week — and former Florida governor Jeb Bush.Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks as former President Bill Clinton applauds at her New Hampshire presidential primary campaign rally, Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016, in Hooksett, N.H.

  • Behind all of them was Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.), who had been seen as the strongest challenger to Trump until a disastrous debate performance on Saturday, in which New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie attacked Rubio and the senator responded by repeating the same talking point over and over.
    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks – Elise Amendola/AP
  • Supporters of Democratic presidential candidate, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton attend a primary-night gathering at Southern New Hampshire University on February 9, 2016 in Hooksett, New Hampshire. Rival Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) was projected the winner shortly after the polls closed.
    Supporters of Democratic presidential candidate, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton attend a … – Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
  • Supporters wait for Republican presidential candidate, businessman Donald Trump to speak during a primary night rally, Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016, in Manchester, N.H.
    Supporters wait for Republican presidential candidate, businessman Donald Trump – Bill Sikes/AP
  • Resident Nancy Holmes, 77, hands her ballot to town moderator Leslie Schoof as she votes in New Hampshire's first-in-the-nation primary at the town hall in Hart's Location, New Hampshire, February 9, 2016. The community of Hart's Location is one of three tiny New Hampshire towns that cast the state's first votes of the primary, as the clock strikes midnight.  Adrees Latif/Reuters
    Resident Nancy Holmes, 77, hands her ballot to town moderator Leslie Schoof as she votes in New Hamp… – Adrees Latif/Reuters

But if Christie’s attack had hurt Rubio, it didn’t seem to have helped Christie himself: Christie was running behind Rubio in the early returns, last among the four “establishment” candidates.

That result seemed to be a good one for Trump, since it seemed likely that a large number of his challengers would continue on to the next primaries, dividing the voters who want to see Trump defeated.

In the Democratic race, Sanders was projected as the winner over former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, who had been seen as her party’s prohibitive favorite a year ago.

“Nine months ago, we began our campaign here in New Hampshire, we had no campaign organization. We had no money. And we were taking on the most powerful political organization in the United States of America,” Sanders said to his supporters. “And tonight, with what it appears to be a record-breaking voter turnout, because of a huge voter turnout – and I say YUGE! – we won,” Sanders said, poking fun at the New York City accent he shares with Trump. The crowd had yelled “YUUUGE!” along with him.

Sanders said that the enthusiasm his supporters showed in New Hampshire could be replicated in other primaries and in a general election, with a strongly left-wing message drawing out new voters who’d be left unenthused by a centrist.

“That is what will happen all over this country!” Sanders said.

Sanders is a self-identified “democratic socialist,” originally little known outside Washington and his home state of Vermont. But he built a massive movement with rousing attacks on the power of Wall Street, and a promise of a “political revolution” that would provide universal, government-run health insurance and free public-college tuition.

Sanders was also helped by Clinton’s struggles to explain why she’d used a private email server to handle government business while she was secretary of state, a scandal that has hung over her candidacy for months.

“Now we take this campaign to this entire country. We are going to fight for every vote in every state,” Clinton told supporters after conceding. She then returned to a constant theme of her campaign, which was that she — unlike Sanders — was ready for the long slog that politics demands. “People have every right to be angry. But they’re also hungry. They’re hungry for solutions.”

Clinton’s defeat in New Hampshire was so resounding – and so long anticipated – that Clinton’s campaign conceded immediately when the polls closed at 8 p.m. The campaign sent out a statement downplaying the importance of New Hampshire, which Clinton won in 2008. Her campaign promised to fight on through March, including the next-up contests in Nevada and South Carolina. The next states, Clinton’s campaign said, would be more likely to turn out her way.

“Whereas the electorates in Iowa and New Hampshire are largely rural/suburban and predominantly white, the March states better reflect the true diversity of the Democratic Party and the nation,” Clinton’s campaign manager Robby Mook wrote in the statement. Clinton’s campaign has said it expects to do far better among African American and Latino voters than Sanders will.

Exit polls reported by CNN showed that Sanders had beaten Clinton across a wide variety of demographic groups — including women, who voted for Sanders by a margin of 55 percent to 44 percent.

Sanders also won decisively among self-identified independents, taking that group by 72 percent. The two candidates evenly split voters who identified themselves as Democrats. Sanders also won all the ideological groups that the polls surveyed: Democratic voters calling themselves “very liberal,” “somewhat liberal,” and “moderate” all preferred him to Clinton.

Another telling detail: Clinton won handily among the voters who said the quality they wanted most in a candidate was “electability.” Her advantage among that group was 81 percent to 18 percent. But Sanders dominated in the group that said the most important quality was that the candidate “cares,” and in the group that said it was most important that the candidate was honest. In the group that cared about honesty, Sanders won by 92 percent to 6 percent, according to CNN.

Among Republicans, Trump’s victory — even though it had been predicted for weeks — is still a remarkable turnabout. Last summer, Trump had seemed like an afterthought in a race that seemed likely to be dominated by former Florida governor Jeb Bush, and the massive campaign warchest assembled to back Bush.

But Trump’s TV experience made him a commanding figure in early debates, where other candidates seemed unsure how to handle a candidate who insulted their looks and told them to shush. And Trump’s blunt message, which promised a massive wall on the southern border and a program to deport 12 million undocumented immigrants, resonated with voters who felt their party had ignored the issue for too long.

For Trump, the victory here in New Hampshire was a vindication of his unusual campaign style, which favored huge rallies and free TV exposure over the kind of data-driven, expensive voter-turnout efforts that mark most modern campaigns.

In Iowa, Trump used that approach and lost to Cruz and his high-tech “ground game.” But in New Hampshire, it was enough.

Trump’s approach is likely to be tested further in the upcoming contests in the South, starting with South Carolina’s primary on Feb. 20 and turning a week later to a group of “Super Tuesday” states.

One of the big New Hampshire surprises was Kasich, a pragmatic Midwesterner whose candidacy has been an afterthought nationally but who steadily built a pitch-perfect campaign for this state that roused mainstream voters with high visibility on the ground and a call to lift up people in the shadows.

But the race now moves south, where Kasich faces immediate hurdles to prove he is more than a one-state wonder and where Trump has found deep and enthusiastic support for his incendiary nationalistic platform. Cruz is well positioned to contend with Trump for the top spot in those states because of his broad coalition of movement conservatives and evangelicals.

Republican exit polls reported by CNN showed how dominant Trump’s victory in New Hampshire had been. Trump won among people who said they had been “betrayed by Republican politicians” – but also among those who didn’t feel betrayed.

Trump won both men and women, won the married and the unmarried, won college graduates and non-graduates, won high earners and low earners, and won both those who called themselves “conservative” and among those who called themselves “moderate/liberal.”

The few sub-groups that Trump did not win included those who called themselves evangelical or born-again: Cruz won that group with 24 percent. But his victory in that group – a core part of Cruz’s support – came by just a single percentage point. In second place, with 23 percent, was Trump. Kasich won among voters who said they were “somewhat worried” about the economy, though Trump won the group that said they were “very worried.” Trump lost among the voters who believed “electability” was the most important quality in a candidate: they went for Rubio.

One striking statistic in the poll came from a question that asked voters about what should be done with undocumented immigrants who were already in the U.S. Trump has said he would deport all 12 million of them. It was no surprise, then, that Trump won among the voters who supported mass deportation.

But he also won among voters who said that deportation was the wrong choice. Among that group of voters – the 66 percent of Republicans who supported offering legal status to undocumented immigrants, the exact opposite of Trump’s plan – 22 percent supported Trump anyway. That was enough to tie Kasich for first place.

The exit polls reported by CNN showed that 66 percent of Republican primary voters supported another idea that Trump has praised: a temporary ban on Muslim foreigners entering the U.S. In that group, not surprisingly, Trump was the most popular candidate, with 42 percent support.

For Republicans, the campaign trail in the final push was like a game of political billiards — with attacks flying fast and in all directions, reflecting the jumbled field and the uncertain fates that await so many of the candidates.

Bush fired at Trump, Cruz, Kasich and Rubio. Christie savaged Rubio. Rubio smacked back. Trump, for his part, slammed Bush and Cruz.

In Washington on Tuesday, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who won New Hampshire’s GOP primary in both 2000 and 2008, blasted Trump and Cruz on the Senate floor as being too quick to endorse the use of torture while campaigning for their party’s nod.

“It might be easy to dismiss this bluster as cheap campaign rhetoric,” McCain said, “but these statements must not go unanswered because they mislead the American people about the realities of interrogation, how to gather intelligence, what it takes to defend our security and, at the most fundamental level, what we are fighting for as a nation and what kind of nation we are.”

For the Republicans, the character of the race appeared to change over the weekend after a debate in which Rubio faltered in the face of stinging barbs from Christie.

Cruz, who spent the end of his Iowa campaign in a rhetorical splatter-fight with Trump, closed out his New Hampshire tour with only sparing mention of his rivals. But speaking to reporters Tuesday outside the Red Arrow Diner in Manchester, Cruz responded to the fact Trump had called him a “pussy” the day before.

“There is a reason Donald Trump engages in profane insults,” Cruz said, “because he can’t defend his own record.”

Trump said during two separate television appearances he just “having fun” by making the crude reference. “It was like a retweet,” he said on Fox News Channel’s “Fox and Friends.”

And even before the polls closed, at least one long-shot Republican contender made it clear he was not dropping out: retired pediatric neurosurgeon Ben Carson’s campaign issued a statement saying after New Hampshire “will be en route to South Carolina to continue his campaign for faith, integrity and common sense leadership,”

Eilperin and Fahrenthold reported from Washington. Jose A. DelReal in Portsmouth, Jenna Johnson, Sean Sullivan and John Wagner in Concord, Michael Kranish in Plaistow, Abby Phillip, Anne Gearan, Ed O’Keefe and Karen Tumulty in Manchester contributed to this report.

Dan Balz is Chief Correspondent at The Washington Post. He has served as the paper’s National Editor, Political Editor, White House correspondent and Southwest correspondent.

Juliet Eilperin is The Washington Post’s White House bureau chief, covering domestic and foreign policy as well as the culture of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. She is the author of two books—one on sharks, and another on Congress, not to be confused with each other—and has worked for the Post since 1998.

David A. Fahrenthold covers Congress for the Washington Post. He has been at the Post since 2000, and previously covered (in order) the D.C. police, New England, and the environment.

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