New Hampshire voters say no to establishment candidates

EDITORIAL

Strong wins for Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders in the New Hampshire presidential primary suggest that American voters are angry and suspicious of the political establishment.

The two men are clear outsiders — a brash billionaire businessman who seems to have his foot permanently in his mouth, and a septuagenarian who describes himself as a Democratic Socialist and would not be out of place in our Green Party. Trump was enrolled as a Democrat from 2001 to 2009, while Sanders is the longest-serving independent in US Congressional history and only joined the Democrats last year.

Both men were convincing winners. Sanders collected 60 percent of the votes in the Democratic primary, swamping former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton with 37. In the much more crowded Republican primary, Trump had 35.4 percent — more than double any of his rivals.

Their wins in New Hampshire were not unexpected but some of the stats from the exit polls will have party strategists scratching their heads. Half of the Republican voters said they were seeking a candidate outside the establishment, as did a quarter of the Democrats.

The New Hampshire primary has been the making or breaking of presidential candidates in the past, in a state where 44 percent of voters identify as independent, 30 percent Republican and 26 percent Democrat.

A major problem for the Republicans is that away from the party primaries, Trump’s support is much less broad — particularly among Hispanic and black voters.

The Republican establishment would love to see Ohio governor John Kasich, Florida senator Marco Rubio and former governor of Florida Jeb Bush making more of an impact.

There is still a long way to go in the campaign for the party’s nominations, which now moves to South Carolina. The key date ahead is March 1, Super Tuesday, when about half of the delegates for both parties are decided.

Until then we can look for many more twists and turns as the two mavericks try to build on their New Hampshire momentum.

Strong wins for Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders in the New Hampshire presidential primary suggest that American voters are angry and suspicious of the political establishment.

The two men are clear outsiders — a brash billionaire businessman who seems to have his foot permanently in his mouth, and a septuagenarian who describes himself as a Democratic Socialist and would not be out of place in our Green Party. Trump was enrolled as a Democrat from 2001 to 2009, while Sanders is the longest-serving independent in US Congressional history and only joined the Democrats last year.

Both men were convincing winners. Sanders collected 60 percent of the votes in the Democratic primary, swamping former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton with 37. In the much more crowded Republican primary, Trump had 35.4 percent — more than double any of his rivals.

Their wins in New Hampshire were not unexpected but some of the stats from the exit polls will have party strategists scratching their heads. Half of the Republican voters said they were seeking a candidate outside the establishment, as did a quarter of the Democrats.

The New Hampshire primary has been the making or breaking of presidential candidates in the past, in a state where 44 percent of voters identify as independent, 30 percent Republican and 26 percent Democrat.

A major problem for the Republicans is that away from the party primaries, Trump’s support is much less broad — particularly among Hispanic and black voters.

The Republican establishment would love to see Ohio governor John Kasich, Florida senator Marco Rubio and former governor of Florida Jeb Bush making more of an impact.

There is still a long way to go in the campaign for the party’s nominations, which now moves to South Carolina. The key date ahead is March 1, Super Tuesday, when about half of the delegates for both parties are decided.

Until then we can look for many more twists and turns as the two mavericks try to build on their New Hampshire momentum.

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