Biggest thing for me about it is that 42,000 fewer people participated in the Democrat primary than in 2008; the returns aren’t 100% yet, but my calculation is that about 245,000 people voted in the Democrat primary last night, in 2008 it was 287,000. That is a 15% decline – rather large. What is shows that the Democrats are not enthused about 2016 – and the Democrats need at least most of 2008’s enthusiasm to carry their nominee – still almost certain to be Hillary – over the finish line. Meanwhile, over on the GOP side, a bit more than 280,000 people participated, while in 2012 it was 248,000 – showing GOP enthusiasm is up. If this sort of turnout prevails over the primaries (and I suspect it will), then it will demonstrate that the Democrats are in deep trouble.
From what I’ve seen, Sanders didn’t just beat Hillary, he crushed her. But, will it matter? Next up is South Carolina where the Democrat electorate is heavily African-American and African-Americans have been Clinton loyalists since 1992 – with the exception of 2008. But was 2008 merely a reflection of running against Obama, or an indication that African-American loyalty to the Clinton’s isn’t as deep as people think? We’ll find out in South Carolina – if Sanders can peel away even 35% of the African-American primary vote from Hillary, then we might not have Hillary as the Democrat nominee. And that, actually, worries me a bit. I know that the official line is that Hillary is impervious but I’m starting to suspect she’s a loser – against any GOPer. Sanders, the Socialist, is allegedly the George McGovern of 2016…but with his populist, anti-Establishment credibility, he might actually be harder to beat, especially if the GOP nominates someone like Jeb or Kasich.
On the GOP side, the only remarkable thing for me was Cruz coming in strong third – he spent little time or resources in New Hampshire and did very well. Meanwhile, Jeb poured in resources and came in fourth. It is time for Jeb to pack it in – though I suspect he’ll hang around until Florida. Rubio had a bad night – fifth place behind Jeb, of all things. Some say it was the debate and maybe that did it; I don’t really know. Maybe 2016 just isn’t Rubio’s year. Right now, I think it shapes up as a battle between Cruz and Trump, with a slight chance that Rubio rebounds as the Great Establishment Hope.
Get ready for a strange political year…