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Media pundits claim the real story of the New Hampshire primary is who came in second or third in the GOP race, meaning the remaining candidates should start thinking about dropping out. The real story though is that Donald Trump won his first primary decisively (+19 points) thereby finally earning him the status of a legitimate candidate. It also means the Trump revolution has finally lifted off, supported by people who are fed up with the incompetence and gridlock of Washington politics.
Like the Iowa Caucuses, New Hampshire set a record for voter attendance despite the winter weather. This is an important indicator of the mood of the people.
During the Granite State campaign, Trump happened to use some vulgarity a couple of times in speeches. I have never known an entrepreneurial businessman who didn’t possess a salty tongue. The media was outraged, his supporters laughed it off. I have always been of the opinion you should not trust anyone who doesn’t have at least one known vice, be it smoking, drinking or the occasional expletive. It means they are hiding some character flaw, which politicians are known for. Since Mr. Trump doesn’t smoke or drink, I can understand his limited use of profanity. He is less concerned with political correctness and more focused on getting the job done.
As an aside, Mr. Trump will be holding a campaign rally at USF’s Sun-Dome in Tampa this Friday, the 12th, beginning at 7:00pm.
As to the other GOP candidates, Gov. John Kasich upset the polls by taking #2, and Sen. Ted Cruz squeaked into third place. The top three finishers will inevitably see a bump in the polls, the others will now begin to fade from view. South Carolina will likely be their last hurrah for 2016. Mr. Trump’s long time adversary, Gov. Jeb Bush, still has considerable money in his war chest for advertising, but if he doesn’t score well in South Carolina, the party is likely over for him.
In terms of delegate count:
Donald Trump – 10 (17 total)
John Kasich – 3 (4 total)
Ted Cruz – 2 (10 total)
1,237 delegates needed to win nomination
Bernie Sanders – 13 (42 total)
Hillary Clinton – 9 (394 total)
2,382 delegates needed to win nomination
As to the Democrats, Sen. Bernie Sanders handily beat Mrs. Clinton (+22 points) who had hoped for a much tighter race. Between Sen. Sanders thumping her, and the rumored reorganization of her campaign staff, it appears she is on shaky ground regardless of her standings in the next few primary polls, which may very well change thanks to New Hampshire.
In his victory speech, Sen. Sanders pushed for his socialist agenda, providing a laundry list of free things he wanted to give the public, such as free college education. To pay for it, he proposed to raise taxes and redistribute the wealth. He also mentioned he wanted to release more people from prisons, claiming they were overcrowded.
In a way, the difference between Mr. Trump and Sen. Sanders is reminiscent of the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street movements.
Next up, the battleground state of South Carolina on Saturday, February 20th. Mr. Trump already has an impressive +16.3 point lead which will likely increase due to his victory in New Hampshire.
As for the Democrats, Mrs. Clinton holds a commanding +29.5 point lead over Sen. Sanders. It will be interesting to see if Sanders’ victory in the Granite State will make this a closer primary. If not, this could be the beginning of the end for Sen. Sanders.
Shortly after South Carolina, there is the Nevada Caucuses on Tuesday, February 23rd. Here again, Mr. Trump currently enjoys a +13 point lead, and Mrs. Clinton a +19.5 lead. These leads will also change based on the outcome of South Carolina. However, following the primary in the Palmetto State, some GOP candidates will likely drop out of the race, leaving only four or five in the contest. The polling numbers will then become more definitive in terms of loyalties.
Then we have “Super Tuesday” on Monday, March 1st, followed by the Florida primary on Tuesday, March 15th. Florida is likely to be the big prize. As of this writing, Mr. Trump has a +21.0 lead and 80,000 campaign volunteers, and Mrs. Clinton has a +39.0 lead.
It is very conceivable we will know who the Republican and Democratic candidates for president are following the Florida primary.
Keep the Faith!