Here are my immediate reactions to both the Democratic and Republican side. I’m writing this on my phone so apologises for any problems with spelling and grammar.
REGARDING THE DEMOCRATS:
Sanders’ position regarding the results of the New Hampshire primary was a lot like mine waiting for my A-level results.* I knew I wanted to apply to Oxford, so I needed 3 As. This was before the A* was introduced. So there was no way for me to overachieve. I could either get what I needed or I could fall short.
With a 20% win Bernie got what he needed from New Hampshire. He needs to be wracking up big wins in the handful of states full of the white liberals that make up his base. Not doing so would have been a disaster, so he can be grateful to have avoided that. But is it really a positive indication for his chances of becoming nominee? Not really. For example, in 2008 Clinton leveraged her support amongst white blue collar democrats to crush Obama by more than 2 to 1 in West Virginia. He still won because his lead with demographics underrepresented in West Virginia allowed him to surpass her nationally.
To demonstrate he is not playing Clinton to Clinton’s Obama, he will need to perform credibly in Nevada and South Carolina.
REGARDING THE REPUBLICANS:
You would not expect Norwegian or Farsi to have all that much in common. However, both use the word ‘Texas’ to mean crazy. As in ‘it was when the gatecrashers turned up that the party went all Texas’. Norwegians and Iranians observing the Republican race are, therefore, likely to be commenting that it’s ‘completely Texas’.
After Trump underperformed his poll ratings in Iowa, it seemed that a chunk of his support existed only in polls. Indeed many had long assumed this was the case. His decisive win in New Hampshire confirms that in fact, at least in primary states his voters will turn up. In short, this Trump thing is really happening.
Trump is of course a force for chaos all by himself. But the candidates supposed to represent order within the GOP are themselves in a mess. New Hampshire had looked like being the point where Rubio emerged as the sole standard bearer for the ‘establishment’. Instead he seems to be languishing not only behind Trump, Kasich and Cruz but also the guy begging his audiences to clap.
Despite this I still feel that Rubio is the only candidate who is acceptable to Republican primary voters, party elites and the broader American public. So in my judgement he remains the candidate best placed to become the establishment standard bearer. The question is if that happens fast enough to prevent the race coalescing into a fight between Trump and Cruz from which other participants are squeezed out.
In any event this isn’t going to be boring for a while.
For the benefit of non-Brits: A-levels are the exam you sit in your final year of Uni and on the basis of which you apply to universities.