Monday, February 8, 2016

The Campaign Trail 2016: Sliding Into New Hampshire

New Hampshire is on the cusp of the first in the nation primary and the second stop in the Presidential election process. The herds have thinned on both sides. On the Democratic ticket only Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders still remain. Well out of the candidates that will be appearing nationally, the ballot actually contains 25 additional candidates, most of which only appear on New Hampshire's ballots. Martin “Who?” O'Malley dropped out after the Iowa caucuses. Clinton and Sanders squared off for the first time as just the two of them at a debate held at my alma mater The University of New Hampshire's Johnson Theater. For excellent coverage of the debate, please check out the coverage by tomorrow's journalistic stars at The New Hampshire ("Democrats showdown on campaign finances, foreign policy"). What waits to be seen is if Sanders can use his momentum to continue to offer Clinton a major challenge in this election or whether he stumbles in the Granite State or whether Sanders being in the backyard of Vermont will bolster his performance or whether Clinton will win out.

The Republican ticket has thinned far more than the Democratic one with Rick Santorum, Mike Huckabee, and Rand Paul all having suspended their campaigns. Santorum and Huckabee I understand, they both were in their element in Iowa and did horribly. Paul pulled the pin too early in my opinion since his Republican/Libertarian blend was unlikely to do well in Iowa, he should have waited for a more Libertarian minded voting pool to see how he would have done. The Republicans also had a New Hampshire debate at Saint Anselm College in Manchester. What waits to be seen is if Marco Rubio can use his better than expected third place spot in Iowa to take the Granite State or whether his poor performance at the New Hampshire debate will hurt him. Will the voters will go for Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, or John Kasich – all three of which along with Rubio are in their political environment with New Hampshire Republicans. Donald Trump currently leads in the polls, but Iowa has already proven once that his high poll numbers don't actually equate to a high number of voters. The U.S. will have to wait and see if his throwing a temper tantrum tactic over loosing Iowa will bring out more of his fans or cause his numbers to shrink even more or whether his subdued persona at the debate will help him.

Of course the most important part of February 9th is that the voters of New Hampshire go out and vote, regardless of which ticket you vote on or which candidate you vote for. And vote for whomever you like, on both tickets the playing field is wide open. Your vote could be the decisive one for your candidate.

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