Ten candidates chugged in to New Hampshire after the Iowa caucuses with hopes of success.
But now that the primary results are in, who has a ticket on the presidential train as it rolls down the coast, to South Carolina and beyond?
There are seats available for some of the contenders, but others are going to be left out in the New England cold.
Who, if anyone, won the much coveted “ticket out of New Hampshire” and will go on to contest the next states more aggressively?
Will it be Bernie Express? What about the Trump train?
It’s clear at this point that the Vermont senator has become the leader of a movement within the Democratic party.
He’s pulling in record amounts of small-figure contributions and is rapidly building out a national campaign infrastructure. At this point he’s actually outspending Hillary Clinton in South Carolina, which holds its primary in just over two weeks.
He still has the so-called Clinton firewall to deal with, as his support among the ethnic minorities that play a large part in the coming states continues to be weak. His 21-point win in New Hampshire, however, will make headlines across the country, and Democrats of all stripes are going to take notice. They may give the septuagenarian “Social Democrat” another look.
Conductor’s call: The Democratic race is going to drag on for a long time, and people are climbing aboard the Bernie Express.
One of the last threads of hope for establishment Republicans was that the New York billionaire’s strong standing in the polls was an illusion. The supporters who flocked to his rallies and expressed their opinions in surveys, they hoped, would never materialise.
So much for that theory. Although Mr Trump underperformed in Iowa, where he made little investment in the ground game so essential to caucus success, his New Hampshire results exceeded expectations.
Mr Trump is rolling out of New Hampshire with a full head of steam. His lead in South Carolina all of a sudden looks very real and very formidable. The same goes for his solid standing across the South.
Conductor’s call: If the Republican establishment can find an emergency cord, now is the time to pull it.
For months the Ohio governor had been an also-ran, consigned to the far edges of the stage during Republican debates. While other candidates tussled, he tried to stay above the fray and offer a more optimistic alternative based on his record in Ohio and, before that, in the US Congress.
His strategy since late July, when he was the last major candidate to enter the race, was to put all his effort into New Hampshire. A solid finish there, he theorised, would give him a chance to compete in the slate of states that followed.
Even though he finished a distant second to Mr Trump, his New Hampshire gamble paid off. Thanks to Marco Rubio’s precipitous fall at the hands of Chris Christie, he opened some daylight between himself and the rest of the mainstream Republican field. He has his work cut out for him in the South, where his moderate views will be out-of-step with many conservative voters. But he’s bought himself the opportunity to make his pitch – and he’ll likely still be around when Ohio holds its winner-take-all primary in mid-March.
Conductor’s call: Kasich was on the verge of packing his bags for home, but instead he’s off to South Carolina.
Categories: America, The Muslim Times, US Politics, USA
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