The New Hampshire primary has dealt a hefty blow to “establishment” politics, with outsiders Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump both cruising to big victories in the northeastern state.
The results will not come as a surprise to either candidate, with recent polls showing that Sanders held a significant double-digit lead over Hillary Clinton in the Democratic race, while Donald Trump also led the GOP field with almost a third of the votes. Having said that, with neither candidate winning in the Iowa caucuses, the NH primary was expected to be an acid test of whether Sanders and Trump would actually make their vocal support count; by all accounts, both candidates have been able to do so with some flair.
It also sheds a wider light on the state of affairs on the ground, with both Democratic and Republican voters clearly preferring a more “anti-establishment” candidate.
CBS News pulled out some numbers which attest to this fact.
On the Democratic side, six in 10 voters said that they were dissatisfied or angry with status quo at the federal level — and some 70 percent of those voters cast a ballot for Bernie Sanders. On the Republican side, almost 40 percent of voters said they were angry with the way federal government was working, and 42 percent of those voters cast a ballot for Trump because of their “anger.”
It is evident that both Sanders and Trump managed to successfully strike a chord with voters across state lines, but it remains to be seen if they can carry on with the same populist rage as the battle for nomination heats up in the days and weeks to come.
Speaking to his supporters Tuesday night, a jubilant Bernie Sanders said the NH primary results will send out a strong message to voters across the country.
“Together, we have sent the message that will echo from Wall Street to Washington. And that is, that the government of our great country belongs to all of the people and not just a handful of wealthy campaign contributors and their super-PACs.”
Donald Trump also told cheering supporters that the NH primary results will give his campaign the momentum they need to win in the southern states.
“We are going to make America great again. We are going now to South Carolina. We are gonna win in South Carolina!”
But more than anyone, the NH primary results will hurt Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton the most. The sheer margin of her defeat — more than 20 points — is likely to be met with disdain within the Democratic party, but more importantly, it could fuel rancor that will not bode well for the future of Clinton’s campaign.
Having said that, Clinton was in no mood to relent after the first results came out, saying that her prospects remain “very good” in South Carolina and beyond.
“I want to say I still love New Hampshire and I always will. Now we take this campaign to the entire country. We are going to fight for every vote in every state.”
On the Republican side, Donald Trump’s thumping victory will also send shudders down establishment Republican spines, as party heads fear his inflammatory rhetoric against women, Mexicans, and Muslims could prove detrimental to GOP’s chances of appealing to a general-election audience, according to CNN.
Moreover, with John Kasich coming in second in the Republican race, and a fierce battle ensuing for the third place — with Ted Cruz, Marc Rubio and Jeb Bush all in with a shout — it is evident that Republican voters are viewing the “establishment” choices they have at their disposal as not worthy for the battle.
Now, with the battles moving south, the race for nominations will heat up undoubtedly, but Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump have sent out strong messages to their respective parties and voters across the country with the NH primary results. While the “establishment” got a vigorous thumbs-down from the voters, Sanders and Trump will hope that New Hampshire will not be a one-off.
[Image via Joe Raedle/Getty Images]