The results of the New Hampshire primary arrived in fairly orderly fashion, with Bernie Sanders being crowned the victor on the Democratic side. Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar rounded out the top 3 respectively, with all of them within a 5 point spread.
That, along with some inexplicable decisions by lesser candidates, spells very bad news for Democrats as they head into the heat of the 2020 election.
We’ll start with who the new darling is after last night’s results, because media narrative rules mandate that it can’t be the guy who actually won (Bernie Sanders in this case).
From the corners of the Post, to a surprising number of conservatives, Klobuchar is the new flavor of the moment. It’s worth noting that the same people currently fluffing her campaign were almost universally proclaiming Joe Biden the nominee a month ago, so tread lightly.
There’s no doubt this is an effort to sandbag Sanders.
bernie won the most votes in iowa, has likely won NH, is has a good chance of winning nevada, and somehow the conventional wisdom is he is performing below expectations. it’s wild.
— b-boy bouiebaisse (@jbouie) February 12, 2020
But I think those believing a 5th and 3rd place finish by Klobuchar now makes her a player are falling for the same hype Marco Rubio got after his 3rd place finish in Iowa. At the end of the day, you have to actually start winning primaries and the path for Klobuchar is only going to get narrower.
If I had to put my money on it, I think this is more representative of reality.
Now, let’s get to why this is all very bad news for Democrats.
Last night made one thing certain. Bernie Sanders is in this until the convention and he has every reason to be. Pete Buttigieg has overperformed and has every incentive to take his campaign through the March primaries. Meanwhile, Klobuchar is the new hot ticket for those who want to pretend she’s a moderate and more electable. That’s led to an influx of cash into her campaign.
Then there’s Elizabeth Warren, whose continued march borders on delusion. But it does look like she’s in this until at least after Nevada. Last night, in a confusing, rambling message, she proclaimed that her campaign was built for the long haul. And lest we forget Joe Biden, and you’d be forgiven for doing so, he’s also in this until at least South Carolina. And if he squeezes out a win (very possible), he’s going to go through Super Tuesday.
You’ve also Bloomberg (who hasn’t even gotten started yet) and Steyer, with near-unlimited money streams, ready to create trouble for a while yet.
Add all this up and you get seven candidates all splitting the vote, creating a clear path to a brokered convention with Bernie holding a lead in delegates. That is the worst case, doomsday scenario for the DNC because there’s a high probability the other candidates will make deals to overtake Bernie. Then it’s full-scale nuclear war within the party and Bernie’s followers aren’t going to just shrug and fall in line.
I see no way out of the mess for the Democrats. Some can hold out false hope that Amy Klobuchar and her almost 0% support among minorities will save them, but I think the possibility is so remote as to be unserious. In the end, Bernie is the frontrunner, but he’s not a clear frontrunner. And that means the chaos is only ensured to get worse.