The Thinker: Rich Galen


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Mullings by Rich Galen ®
An American Cyber-Column By Rich Galen
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New Hampshire

Rich Galen

Wednesday February 12, 2020

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  • This is why primaries are better than caucuses. By 9:00 PM 40 percent of the vote was counted in the New Hampshire Democratic primary. That's 9:00 PM of the same night as the voting.

  • By that time, two candidates had already dropped out of the race: Andrew Yang and Sen. Michael Bennet.

  • Before you (or I) add to the Grand Pronouncement Chorus about making long-term predictions based upon two states with a total of 65 delegates, remember there are a total of 3,979 at stake.

  • To win with the barest majority, according to CNBC a candidate needs 1,991 delegates.

  • So, 65 divided by 3,979 = 1.6 percent of the delegates.

  • Did I do that right?

  • Reed Galen, The Lad, said
    "The primary season is like being inside your opponent's 10 yard line. Time and space compress and there is room for only a few people to gain ground. The rest are left without a clear path to the end zone."

  • Yang and Bennet limped to the sidelines. Warren and Biden were slow getting up.

  • Having said that, if last night was tough for Elizabeth Warren to swallow - coming in fourth with less than 10 percent of the vote - it was a disaster for Joe Biden. With about two-thirds of the votes counted he was in fifth place with 8.5 percent of them.

  • Wayback Machine Moment.

  • In 2000, George W. Bush had won Iowa with 41% of the votes. Steve Forbes came in second with 30.5%. I remember writing at the time that Bush won, but it was not the WOW victory he had been hoping for.

  • Moving into New Hampshire, Bush, then the Governor of Texas, was counting on his being considered the only real possibility for President to carry him through a string of victories.

  • That string snapped in New Hampshire where Sen. John McCain gave him (as one of Bush's senior aides put it in a briefing for the press corps) "a good old-fashioned ass-kicking."

  • McCain beat Bush in New Hampshire by about 18 percentage points: 48 - 30.

  • Then the scene shifted to South Carolina (after a brief and under-reported stop in Delaware which Bush won) where the Bush team ran a vicious campaign and ended up beating Sen. McCain by 11 percentage points.

  • The South Carolina firewall had held. Bush went on to win the nomination and, after a slight delay to recount the votes in Florida, the Presidency.

  • I am reminding you of this history because Biden is putting all his marbles on a big win in South Carolina after a brief stop in Nevada to revive his campaign.

  • Four years ago, Jeb Bush was the front runner until people started voting. Jeb dropped out after the South Carolina primary.

  • The question is: Which Bush will Biden's campaign mirror: W's or Jeb's?

  • To show how quickly the political tide can change, on January 13, just four weeks ago, Biden was polling at 23 percent in New Hampshire essentially tied with Bernie Sanders who was about one percentage point behind. Elizabeth Warren was in third with 17 percent.

  • Pete Buttigieg went from 13 percent a month ago in New Hampshire to about 24 percent last night - good enough for a very close second place.

  • The big mover in New Hampshire was Sen. Amy Klobuchar who finished in third last night with about 20 percent having come from just five percent on January 13.

  • Bernie Sanders won New Hampshire, but by a whisker. There are many who put it down to Sanders being the U.S. Senator from neighboring Vermont, but Warren is the U.S. Senator from Massachusetts, also a neighboring state and look how she did.

  • Four years ago, Sanders got 60 percent of the vote in what was basically a head-to-head race against Hillary Clinton. His victory last night with about 26 percent of the votes is good enough to claim the win, but far from good enough to take a Rocky Balboa bow.

  • With good election results comes closer scrutiny. Both Buttigieg and Klobuchar had better bone up on the oppo research on themselves and be ready to answer tough questions from the press and from their remaining opponents.

  • NOTE: As I finish this, about 70 percent of the votes have been counted. Sanders is leading Buttigieg 26.0% - 24.2% and it is not unlikely that they will flip positions when all the votes are in.

  • Also, Warren is leading Biden by 9.3% to 8.6% so they might switch as well. But, neither of them can claim a victory by saying, "Well, we beat Tulsi Gabbard."

  • As we have discussed before, after we are done with these four small, easy-to-organize states in February, Super Tuesday looms on March 3: 14 States (and Democrats Abroad) including Texas and California.

  • On the Secret Decoder Ring page today: A link to a great website via NPR and AP which will track delegates throughout the primary season and a list of the Super Tuesday states.

    The Mullfoto is of the full moon. It's not very good.

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