Thoughts on the New Hampshire Primary

Bernie won, of course, but he was a loser in the news cycle, because his win was expected, but wasn’t as large as he wanted.. The biggest winners were Mayor Pete and Klobuchar. Biggest losers were Biden and Warren.

Biden’s poor showing wasn’t a huge surprise. His age and declining mental facilities have been on full display for a couple of months now.

Warren’s poor showing was a surprise. She sounded like she was ready to cry last night. I do feel bad for her, because she has put in 101 percent effort into this campaign. Why didn’t she do well? Were her politics too close to Sanders? Is she annoying people, who see her as another Hillary?

Another big winner wasn’t even the election last night. It was Bloomberg. People are starting to think that he has a shot, if moderates are showing up to vote.

Your thoughts?

50 thoughts on “Thoughts on the New Hampshire Primary

  1. As to Warren’s poor showing, people lie to pollsters? She’s too wealthy to be a convincing “fighter for the underprivileged.” She has no executive experience, and “gifted storyteller” is a euphemism…

    Intriguing that the three front-runners in New Hampshire are all estimated to be worth $2.5 million or less:

    Bernie Sanders: $2.5 M.
    Amy Klobuchar: $2 M.
    Pete Buttigieg: $100,000

    In comparison,

    Joe Biden: $9 M.
    Elizabeth Warren: $12 M.

    It’s still unknown if Bloomberg has a shot. The audio dropped this week should be a body blow. I wonder which campaign arranged that? There’s probably lots more. Although his team is arranging for ads to run on podcasts, which is interesting. Having “cut the cord,” we aren’t subjected to election advertising.


    1. Cranberry said, “Having “cut the cord,” we aren’t subjected to election advertising.”

      Bloomberg is spending crazy money on radio ads…on talk radio…in Central TX.

      It’s like listening to money burning. (Does Bloomberg have compromising photos of his celebrity endorsers? It’s otherwise difficult to understand their enthusiasm. NOBODY but Bloomberg likes Bloomberg that much.)

      With regard to Elizabeth Warren: she’s done a lot of shady stuff, burned up a lot of goodwill, and the recent sexism stuff against Bernie was a) not very honest b) made her look weak c) probably enraged Bernie’s people, whose support she needs.


    2. New York magazine quoted Bloomberg years ago: “What chance does a five-foot-seven billionaire Jew who’s divorced really have of becoming president?”
      So he’s claiming three inches more than Trump says he has. Does size matter? I hope not.


  2. Yes, Bloomberg is running ads in NYC. Normally we don’t see them this early. In fact, often the nomination is more or less decided by the time the primary rolls around, and it is a very expensive market, so often we don’t see them at all.

    Possibly the attacks of the Berniebros–which have been somewhat in the nature of an underground, spontaneous campaign not organized by the head honcho–have undermined Warren? That is the only theory I have come up with. (It comes from a friend who lives inside the bubble, in brownstone Brooklyn, the bluest place in the whole world.)


    1. I have come to see Warren as unpleasant, smug, petulant, and fraudulent. A scold. That seems like a poor constellation of traits to try and win an election. So if others feel as I do, that probably explains a lot of her trouble. She’s also way to my left, which is a lot of why I don’t like her candidacy, but if I were looking for somebody in the lefty nutball lane, it seems like Bernie would be more attractive and seem more consistent.


    1. Really interesting, given our discussions about the nuclear family in earlier posts, that neither of the “Young Vets” have children. At 38/9, the chances either will have children are slim. On that marker, I would not bet on the Young Vets, as I believe only five presidents have ever been childless. The last officially childless president was Warren G. Harding (1923), although apparently in 2015 DNA tests proved he fathered a child with a mistress.

      At present, I would bet on Klobuchar.


  3. I’ve forgotten where Cranberry generally is on the party spectrum, but y81, AmyP dave schulz aren’t Democrats so yeah. If you guys don’t vote for Trump, thanks for helping to keep things from getting worse, but otherwise what you have to say about Democrats needs to be filtered through the fact that you aren’t one.

    Some people who spoke up on my social media when I said how much I like Warren — white, highly educated women who are regular Democratic voters — mentioned how thoroughly they were spooked by Medicare for All. Where they are landing varied, but that was the thing that gave them pause. (And there were more than three, so I can write it up as a trend story for the New York Times, right?)

    A Black friend from way back who still lives in the deep South said “Uncle Joe or Mayor Pete,” so there’s a data point.

    Universal sentiment among Democratic friends (except for perhaps one Berner, whom I have put on snooze for 30 days a couple of times in a row now) is that they will vote for a steaming pile of crap rather than see Trump win again.


  4. I think there are only two tickets out of New Hampshire – Sanders and Buttigieg obviously got them. Klobuchar wins the coveted candidate who most improved their national reputation and profile award, but a surprisingly strong 3rd in New Hampshire still isn’t enough to be a strong contender going forward.

    Bloomberg gets a wildcard, and Biden I guess has a slim chance of stealing the wildcard if he roars back to live in Nevada and South Carolina. There has not been any recent polling in either, so who knows what will happen there.

    I do think a lot of the very online Democrats are going to be surprised by Bloomberg’s strength. Money helps, but so does having spent years working on issues like gun control and climate change with other politicians around the country. It reminds me a little of Sanders supporters from 2016 wondering ‘why are all these people endorsing Hillary Clinton who campaigned with them and helped them raise money over the years.’


  5. Doug said,

    “otherwise what you have to say about Democrats needs to be filtered through the fact that you aren’t one.”

    I don’t think it’s a big secret what long-time posters’ views are.

    There are a lot of things that people on the outside will see better than people on the inside. For example, I’ve been saying for years that Biden is a weird old guy who says weird stuff…and lo, Democrats this year are just starting to realize that Biden is a weird old guy who says weird stuff. That’s who he’s been for a long time.

    Some more unwanted advice: I don’t think it’s done anybody any favors that Democratic primary candidates haven’t really taken the gloves off on issues or policy, so a number of pet issues have not been adequately stress-tested before the general election. Also, nobody (fellow candidates or media) has put Bernie Sanders’ feet to the fire and made him answer tough questions about his ideological history and his various plans. (That’s probably because Bernie’s die-hard supporters would make them pay.) The large debate panels have not allowed for much real back-and-forth debate practice. There are a number of Democratic candidates (Sanders, Warren and Biden) who are going to struggle in a two-person debate with Trump, by virtue of age and/or hard-to-defend positions. My suspicion is that either Amy Klobuchar or Pete Buttigieg would do better in debates. Trump is also obviously much more physically robust than Sanders (age 73 versus 78), and it’s likely that the campaign trail is going to continue to be hard on Sanders, especially since campaigning as a sitting president is inherently a lot cushier than trying to unseat one from outside.

    (And by the way, as a Texas voter, it’s not like my vote matters either way.)

    “And there were more than three, so I can write it up as a trend story for the New York Times, right?”

    Yeah, in fact it may be too late already!

    “Universal sentiment among Democratic friends (except for perhaps one Berner, whom I have put on snooze for 30 days a couple of times in a row now) ”



    1. “(And by the way, as a Texas voter, it’s not like my vote matters either way.)”

      In 2016, Texas was closer at the presidential level than Iowa was.

      There hasn’t been a Proposition 187 in Texas (yet), but I am old enough to remember when Republicans were competitive at the state level in California and even sent a former California governor to the White House.


    2. Half the new registrations in Texas are Dems (a quarter Republicans and a quarter Independents). The 2018 election doesn’t suggest that the numbers are enough to flip the state, but it’s not unreasonable to imagine changes in Texas in the years to come.


  6. I am going to vote Warren until the bitter end. I see her as pro-woman, earnest, learned, able to negotiate, and not afraid to call BS when needed. Both Sanders and Bloomberg are poor listeners, which bodes ill for policy design and implementation. I remain impressed that Warren started out centrist until she gained — through research into legislation and through interviewing families — an understanding of how tweaks and band-aids will never help the little guy and realized that she had to move left. I told my daughter yesterday that I am now quite certain we will never see a woman President in my lifetime. Good luck, y’all.


    1. “I am going to vote Warren until the bitter end…. I told my daughter yesterday that I am now quite certain we will never see a woman President in my lifetime. ”
      Christiana, yours is an interesting statement – is it your expectation that Warren will not gain the nomination, but a non-Warren Dem may possibly win the nomination, and perhaps the Presidency? Or that you are hoping to help Warren gain the nomination but you are then sure she will lose to Trump? If the first, it seems like you are deciding to have no voice in who the nominee ultimately is.


      1. I think we had two qualified women take a shot at the Presidency. The first lost to an unqualified man in 2016, and the second, who was once a frontrunner to be the Dem nominee, is now being beaten by a qualified man and an unqualified man. So I predict a non-Warren Dem for the nomination. No idea whether the Dem will beat the Trump. But the country doesn’t seem to want a female President, Klobuchar’s weird NH showing notwithstanding. I will vote for Warren in my state’s primary, but my voice may be one in wilderness by then. Frankly, I find it hard to get a bead on what people really think given the mediatized polling reification machine.


  7. Me too, Christiana. I like Warren the best of the candidates. She is a policy wonk who seems willing to change her mind. I value that in people and in a candidate. In classic expression of a “woman” characteristic that I adore about women, she is quoted as saying that if her policies were enacted and worked, she wouldn’t care whether she was the one who made them happened. That can never be entirely true, but that she would say it at all means something to me. There’s a delightful twitter thread in which her “niceness” is celebrated. It’s a joke, but I appreciate people who take the time to be kind when they can. I plan to vote for her unless she takes the choice away from me by leaving the race.


      1. That is a really funny thread, which would appeal to every 11D reader, but calls to mind Adlai Stevenson’s famous (perhaps apocryphal) remark: “But madam, we need a majority.”


      2. That thread is a little bit uplifting to read. And, I really would admire a person who had never gone over their allotted time in a conference :-).


  8. I’m not voting for him in the primary, but Bloomberg’s ads that I have seen are mostly attacking Trump. That seems like a good idea.


  9. But, my big point about New Hampshire is that the primary electorate was 91% white, while only 61% of Democratic electorate is. CNN was unable to exit polling of African-American voters because there were so few (and 20% of the Dems are). I don’t know which candidate this helps, but it would be foolish to not see the shakeups coming (including the addition of Bloomberg).

    Someone did a calculation of how much Bloomberg’s spending would be, if translated into regular people money and he can afford the spending. We don’t know what else he would do with it (many folks I listen to say he should be spending it on state, house and senate elections. But, as it is his money, he gets to decide.


  10. The stop & frisk & the statements at the Aspen institute & the more recent video about fingerprinting those in public housing are problematic for the African-American NE urban vote (i.e. New York city), but Lucy McBath endorsed him this morning. I don’t know how the A-A vote will play out in other primaries.

    Yes, the ads I’ve seen also attack Trump, and not the Democrats and I appreciate that.


  11. Also, Max Boot had a column trying to reshape the Democratic party into a party he can support. And, as I’ve said before, John Kerry couldn’t beat George Bush. A necessary component of a Democratic candidate is that the Democrats have to support him. The primaries are how we decide who we support. If you live in a state where non-Democrats can vote in the Dem primary (I think my state is one), and you would vote for one of the Dems, by all means, weigh in.

    Mind you, I think that’s wrong if you wouldn’t vote for any of them, but you could do it anyway.


  12. ” otherwise what you have to say about Democrats needs to be filtered through the fact that you aren’t one.”

    But so many states have open primaries. Having worked the elections in our town, there are many “unenrolled” voters who pick the primary they’ll vote in when they arrive at the polls. A contested election is more interesting to vote in than an election with a strong incumbent. The three top candidates in NH were tightly clustered, (25.7%, 24.4%, 19.8%). The next strongest candidate, Warren, only received 9.2%. New Hampshire does not have a closed primary. Many New Hampshire voters work in Massachusetts. Warren should have done well, as it’s her backyard.

    Like it or not, the primaries will be decided by voters who are not Democrats. Or they are Democrats sometimes.


  13. I looked up how our open primary works — and we have a primary now. Every registered voter gets a ballot. To vote in the primary, you have to declare a party, and your candidate must match that party. “You must mark and sign the political party declaration”. So certainly independents and sometimes Democrats will easily be able to pick a party. But they’ll have to declare a party.

    Our other elections are runoffs in which the top two candidates advance.


    1. At one point in the past, it worked like that in Massachusetts. So the unenrolled would declare a party, their party registration would be officially changed to that party. They would vote in the election.

      On their way out the door, the vast majority would pick up, fill out, and turn in the form that reset their party registration to “unenrolled.” Eventually, I suppose the state realized that this just created extra work for town clerks, so they no longer have to go through the rigamarole.

      My impression, from family members, is that most people who are “unenrolled” are either not strongly tied to either party, or they really don’t want to be subjected to the barrage of get out the vote calls politicians send registered voters, nor do they want to deal with the mountains of junk mail that politicians send.

      Unenrolled is now the largest “party” in Massachusetts:


      1. I’d say recorded “get out the vote” phone messages, junk mail, and spam email encourages registering as unenrolled. Voters who are unenrolled are not hiding their party affiliation, for the most part.


  14. The primary voting process is new in WA. I don’t know what Republicans did, but Democrats used a caucus to allocate delegates + a popularity primary (that did not allocate any delegates). I suspect that the declaration will not have any consequences and will not be recorded.

    So the only way to find out if people are Republican or Democrats is to poll them. in WA, apparently it’s 41% Dem, 21% Rep, now — though apparently that trend is in Presidential election years. In other years, independents outnumber the Democrats.


  15. i’m in Vermont now. Badly in need of a vacation. It’s going to be Bloomberg. i’ve been chatting with his campaign manager. i need to follow up ASAP.


    1. I would like to say, as gently as I can, that:

      —”it’s going to be Bloomberg” because, “I’ve been chatting with his campaign manager” —

      is just not wildly persuasive.

      And I agree, that if by some chance he does get the democratic nomination, we will have another four years of Trump.

      (And also, hope Vermont is a great family trip!)


      1. “…if by some chance he does get the democratic nomination, we will have another four years of Trump…” That’s actually my view of Sanders. I don’t know, some days I think Trump has made everyone so tired of the continual drama that the voters will choose any Dem, and sometimes I think the disarray on the Dem side will give Trump a reelection he doesn’t by any rational measure deserve. But it does seem to me that running a conspicuously centrist candidate is the best strategy. I think we are all influenced by what our friends think…


      1. Probably should read purported, not purportedly: it’s not whether they are offensive, it’s whether they are actual quotes that is in question.

        FWIW, that sort of thing has no effect on this child of the sixties. Tell it like it is, I say. I also say, The revolution will not be televised. No one believes either of those things anymore.


    1. I will point to Jeb Bush as an example that spending lots of money does not mean that a candidate will win. Opposition research on Bloomberg is already dropping old video clips across the internet. If they’re opening with the clips released so far, I wonder what else they have in the hopper?

      Although the clip that purportedly shows Bloomberg stating that farmers aren’t smart is actually nothing of the sort. It’s cleverly clipped. He’s actually talking about the development of human technology over centuries. He is not saying that today’s farmers just drop seeds in the ground.

      I wonder what effect the coronavirus will have on the race? It’s reportedly much more dangerous for those over 56, which includes most of the field.


  16. Bloomberg is yet another PRE-Boomer presidential candidate, born 1942!

    Ay yay yay!

    What is the deal with all of these power-mad 70-somethings? Don’t they have grandchildren and golf to entertain them?


  17. The recorded quotes on African-Americans and stop and frisk are terrible. My kiddo and I watched them on Trevor Noah last night. I’d heard of them and knew approximately what was said, but to hear them, with my kid, who comes from a different time was eye-opening. We talked a bit about how one moves forward from statements like Bloomberg’s “you throw them up against a wall . . . .” and Bloomberg hasn’t done it. First, five years isn’t long enough ago to dismiss it by time (certainly not when you are in your 70’s; my 16 year old thought it should be an excuse for him). Second, he hasn’t clearly stated that his position has changed, say, based on new evidence or that he was wrong or that he has learned. Will I vote for him anyway if he were the Democratic candidate? Yes. Because he is better than Trump. Even if Bloomberg is as racist as Trump, Bloomberg’s base will be less racist than Trump’s.


  18. “What is the deal with all of these power-mad 70-somethings? Don’t they have grandchildren and golf to entertain them?”

    It’s an interesting phenomenon. I’m guessing they feel pretty good and think they have at least another 10 good years in them and that they like all the perks being in the eye of the storm brings, most notably that people pay attention to you, which they are very used to. I think faculty members have the same issue. I was reading the obituaries of two graybeard Nobel Laureates who died in the last month, and one of them retired, in his 70’s, because, he had [by choice] a small lab where he did the work. The other said, that it would be wrong to make him stop and continued working into his 80’s. He had a huge lab, in which I would question what he provided, other than a name that generated funding.


    1. I think the Boomers have consumed enough of society’s resources that the generations behind them will have lower life spans, at least in America.


  19. Here’s my theory, after reading the Atlantic’s story on the Republican campaign to manipulate people via social media in 2016: Bloomberg comes in and spends an equal amount on social media manipulation in 2020, and it’s anybody’s guess who wins. Everything we tweet, post, like, buy online, comment on, mention to Alexa, etc., etc. – all of it is analyzed six million ways and we get just precisely the ads we need to convince us to go vote for the person who right now we’re inclined to vote for. (Because that’s where the election will be won: turning out people who are already inclined to vote one way or another.)

    Then maybe, maybe, Americans decide we should do some regulating of this kind of advertising. Or maybe we get used to it the way we’ve gotten used to other forms of advertising.

    Here’s the Atlantic story:

    As someone with parents whose friends are all getting dementia or other illnesses, I share the skepticism about electing someone in their late 70s.


    1. Some people get to 80 with all their flags flying. Biden is clearly not one of them. Sanders and Bloomberg seem remarkably with it – but this can fade, and fast, any time. Biden was seemingly doing pretty well couple years ago when the risky-and-now-clearly-disastrous decision was taken by the Clinton wing of the party to put a lot of chips on his run. It’s a crap shot.
      China did remarkably well for years with 80+ gerontocrats, USSR less so. Duke Short was widely considered to be the real Senator from S Carolina for years as Thurmond became a less and less relevant prop. One of the worries with the old guys is who would be Duke Short? (or, Edith Wilson


      1. anonymous was me – I went off to check the name of Woodrow Wilson’s puppet mistress wife and somehow posted.


    2. It’s post-debate, and I rescind my previous prediction about Bloomberg. I know people don’t watch debates and it’s all about money, but oof, can he come back from that?

      I did, however, receive 3 ads from him on Words With Friends towards the end of the debate – and I believe that’s the first time I’ve seen an ad from him on WWF. Usually it’s insurance or some new tv show. Two were about beating Trump and the other was about being “calm.” He’s everywhere, including the wonky low-tech blog I follow on Illinois politics – on that blog, he has wonky, low-tech ads that are like posts.


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