Five Fat Tuesday Takes From New Hampshire

Last night (AFTER Fat Tuesday celebrations) I decided I would follow up on last week’s Iowa results with another 5 takeaways from New Hampshire. After reading them, they were circular and contradictory – a lot like this Presidential race. So I’ve taken another pass. Now I think they’re just mostly circular. Consider it the start of a conversation, which you guys may finish. I’ve got to get back to Georgia matters.

1) Democrats have spent the entire year arranging a coronation. They need to fire their arrangements committee.

Hillary Clinton is not Bill Clinton, and she has never been a good – much less a great, candidate. It shows. The result is that many Dems have spent a year gloating at the GOP and enjoying fits of schadenfreude watching Trump lead a field of a half dozen or so Republicans. Meanwhile, Hillary can’t accept a gimme over a field cleared of everyone but a man that has served his career in the Senate not as a one of their own, but as a socialist. Republicans still have choices to make. That’s far superior to Democrats, who have a clear problem to solve. For it is now the Democrats, not the Republicans, that are desperately trying to nominate an establishment candidate over the wishes of their base.

2) Donald Trump and Jeb Bush both have roles, but neither will be the nominee.

Let’s start first with Trump. Iowa is the proxy for the GOP’s (social) conservative base. Trump lost that. New Hampshire is the proxy for the “Establishment” GOP, but occasionally decides to throw away their king-making status on a populist temper tantrum. If you doubt this, please visit your local Pat Buchannan Presidential Library. Trump has among the highest negatives among any candidate and will be unable to galvanize this field. He has no record of holding traditional GOP values. His only claim to fame is being an unmitigated jerk who has made slurs of religion and national origin semi-acceptable. Republicans will need to quickly collapse this field in order to offer a majority counter position to this traveling reality show of nativism masquerading as conservatism.

3) Jeb Bush is the walking dead.

Over $100 Million spent, much of it on negative ads aimed at Marco Rubio rather than asserting why a Governor of Florida with a good record should be the standard bearer. And for that great investment, Jeb is clustered with Cruz and Rubio in a battle for 3rd/4th/5th place as of this writing. No candidate has underperformed this race as much as Jeb Bush. He is the poster child for “the establishment” to too many voters. He’s not winning, but he now has a choice: He may end his campaign with dignity and possibly join with Chris Christie to play kingmaker, or he may continue to injure others on a path to irrelevance. Jeb will not be the nominee, but he still has the chance to help chose which non-Trump candidate that could be.

4) Republicans now have to decide if winning their way is more important than winning.

Jeb Bush is a solid Republican. Ted Cruz is a solid Republican. Marco Rubio is a solid Republican. John Kasich is a solid Republican.  Chris Christie is a solid Republican. Yet if you talk to the supporters of any of the above, they’re going to speak like some of the other candidates and those that support them are the devil.  And many would rather tank the entire party and turn the country over to an avowed socialist than to have to compromise with someone in their own party for the good not only of the GOP, but for the country. This is petty and childish.  There’s not room for all of these folks if anyone is serious about stopping Donald Trump.  Some of them are going to have to put the good of the party ahead of their own dreams and ambition.

5) John Kasich will get a moment in the spotlight.  Is he another comeback kid or Huntsman 2.0?

He came in second, and is now the Governor in the pole position. Can he demonstrate ability to be the “adult in the room”? Well, the last guy that used this trademarked strategy was John Huntsman, who also had Kasich’s campaign manager. Huntsman got 16.8% of the vote in NH. As I write this, Kasich has 16.2%. He’s in second place, and he’s got a brief period to try to bring others to his side. But the longer he, Bush, and Rubio fight it out, the longer Donald Trump continues to amass delegates.

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gcp
gcp

“John Kasich is a solid Republican” ?

John Konop
John Konop

Ohio was a mess when Kasich took it over, did a very good job by any measure. He is very much a pragmatist, not sure if he passes the purity test? Can a purist get anything done?

Calypso
Calypso

I don’t think that having the trait of empathy should preclude one from being labeled a Republican.

John Konop
John Konop

Very good post! I wonder has any candidates ever spent as much time, and money as Bush/Hillary, and had such bad results?

Calypso
Calypso

A Trump v. Sanders contest scares the hell out of me.

Davo65
Davo65

Kasich is finished. All his efforts went into New Hampshire. He has nothing going into the SEC states…his good finish was all about the ‘none of the above’ voters. Trump goes on to be the nominee…easily. Clinton won this before it even started…look at the super delegates. Why the dems even bother to go through with the process is beyond me….be honest about it and do the coronation.

Saltycracker
Saltycracker

With this stumbling on both sides it is a tremendous opportunity for some Democrat like Bloomberg to step in and make it a race. His deterrent may be a suspected black block vote coming for Clinton.

Noway2016
Noway2016

Dems have to be literally horrified by last night’s results. The Old Coot is quite charming and his message will play well outside of The Northeast. I’d never heard what was essentially his stump speech. It Works. She got smoked by 20+ points by a man who was behind her by 40+ points when this whole process started. He has allllllllll of the Mo right now. For the Hillary supporters what do you all ask her to do this morning? Seriously… Trump was a force of nature last night. Lapping the field was gigantic. For those of us who thought… Read more »

xdog
xdog

“Ted Cruz is a solid Republican.” It must have hurt to type that.

I’ve got no problem with SC but you have to wonder about a polity that holds ex-President Pinhead in such high regard that his brother will parade him around the state.

Kasich will get hammered in SC. That’s what no money and no organization will get you. But he’ll hang in, do well in Michigan, should sweep Ohio. Those two states have more delegates than IA, NH, SC combined.

Trump and Cruz are grinning today and should be grinning even more after SC and NV.

Raleigh
Raleigh

Well then, I take it you don’t like Trump. BUT while you are telling us why Trump is the Republican Antichrist you think maybe there is a reason that he is still around? For full disclosure I think I said on another site that Trumps star would have faded long before now. I underestimated the anger your voting base has for the establishment. However you can keep complaining about Trump or put you energy into addressing the dissatisfaction. Of course the establishment can keep its head in the sand and try to wish it away if they chose but I… Read more »

Bart
Bart

Time to get used to saying President Donald Trump. As the GOP field narrows, Trump will start to improve his numbers. This goes against the talking head narrative being pushed by most pundits, but he will benefit from each ‘establishment’ candidate exiting from the race. For example, when Christie waddles home today, where do his supporters turn? Cruz? Rubio? Not hardly. The majority will likely move to Trump. Shortly after Christie bails, Fiorina will exit and her supporters will be looking around. Then Kasich will run out of money so he will be headed home. Bush or Rubio depending on… Read more »

John Konop
John Konop

I agree with you, I also think one cannot under estimate how much the field hates Cruz. It is obvious in the debates they really do not like him.

Lady T
Lady T

It’s time to get used to saying President Hillary Clinton if Trump is the nominee.

Bart
Bart

#1 – If (BIG IF) Hillary somehow overcomes all her ethical/legal transgressions to fool enough black dems into supporting her, she might be the nominee. But she is hardly a sure thing as she can’t even count on her normal base of hell bound women who went for the socialist in NH.

#2 – If/when Trump becomes the nominee, whoever the dems put forward will lose in a landslide. The other options (Cruz, maybe Rubio, possibly Bush) will have a much tougher battle against the dem nominee.

John Konop
John Konop

I know I will killed saying this, but I agree again, I do think Trump would win against Hillary/Bernie.

xdog
xdog

“Fat boy”? “Waddles home”? How about showing a little deference to one of the few gopers I could see myself voting for? I like a little heft in my public figures. Taft, Clinton pre-bypass, W.C. Fields, Solomon Burke, all great Americans, and they didn’t get there by passing on seconds.

MikeSilver
MikeSilver

The “Republicans” destroyed their brand when they passed Omnibus.

Lady T
Lady T

Great comments, Charlie. NH was pretty much the worst case scenario for those like me that are Anyone but Trump GOP voters. The GOP is too fractured to unify around anyone at this point and time, and it is going to hurt the party on the national scale for some time to come, as our good candidates get destroyed in the circular firing squad. Which is sad, because Hillary Clinton is so beatable.