In New Hampshire, the Biggest Loser Was Establishment Politics

If Iowa was the state that raised the blood pressure of every voting-aged person in America, last night’s New Hampshire was the staycation in the fancy hotel downtown. We knew what to expect going in and, by the time the polls closed, the night had packed only a handful of surprises—including the 641 misguided souls who still voted for Martin O’Malley. As the candidates speed toward North Carolina and Nevada to campaign ahead of the states’ respective primaries in the final week of February, we’ve taken a deep dive into the data to figure out who won, who’s done, and what it all means.

The Winners

The biggest winner of the night wasn’t a Democrat or a Republican—it wasn’t even a person. Last night, people-powered politics won a huge victory over the establishment. A 74-year-old Democratic Socialist who’s calling for a revolution and a racist billionaire who has never held office in his life both won in their respective parties. The wins themselves came as no surprise, given that polling data showed them with double-digit leads in the week leading up to voting. The biggest shockers of the night came from exit polls on the Democrat side and the cagematch for second place for GOP contenders.

Bernie Sanders won the night with an overwhelming 60% win to Hillary Clinton’s 38%. But, again, that was the expected result. The juiciest political insight came hours after Bernie’s win when exit polls showed that he had won among almost every demographic. Hillary only won the majority of voters in families earning over $200K a year and with voters over the age of 65, which isn’t going to help her image as being out of touch with youth going forward.

For the Republicans going all Hunger Games to fight for second place, the surprise winner wasn’t Robo Rubio or Ted “Crazy Pants” Cruz. It wasn’t even Jeb! At The Disco. With 15% of the vote, John Kasich came out from his bubble of obscurity and won in a state that he’d bet everything on. The candidate had a strong debate performance last Saturday and used his momentum to push through the polls to prove that sometimes, nice guys don’t finish last—they finish second.

The memory of this image will probably last longer than Kasich's surge but at least he's getting some press, right?
The memory of this image will probably last longer than Kasich’s surge but at least he’s getting some press, right?

The Losers

Among all of the candidates that crashed and burned in the state, the biggest fall from grace came from the one candidate that the GOP bet on to salvage the race to the White House: Marco Rubio. The surefire bet to take second place gave a horrifying bad debate performances we’ve ever seen on Saturday night when his robot brain short circuited while trying to fend of Chris Christie—who is expected to join Carly Fiorina in ending their campaigns. It was bad enough that he repeated the same line three times but it was even worse given that the repeats came as he was in the midst of defending himself against the criticism that he just repeats memorized stump speech responses. Even Smarter Child from the AOL Instant Messaging days showed more life than Rubio—and that was a real robot.

For Hillary, the defeat to Bernie was a shock to the system, but felt more like a speedbump than a brick wall. She’s still ahead in national polls and in the next round of primary states. She still has the establishment supporting her. The real defeat came from the fact that women voters—a group she’s supposed to have a lock on—swung toward Bernie Sanders in the New Hampshire primary by a 55% to 44% margin. That’s probably not a shock given the uncomfortable shout outs by problematic white feminists like Madeleine Albright and Gloria Steinem who chastise and ridicule women who don’t support Clinton. If Hillary wants to keep her go-to support base, she should probably just use her strong policies on women’s issues to pave a path toward the White House.

What’s Next

If last night confirmed anything, it’s that the fear of a long race to the White House wasn’t unfounded. Bernie and Hillary are essentially tied moving forward on the road to March’s Super Tuesday showdown. For the GOP, we’re just as clueless as the Republican Party about who the fuck can stop Trump from turning America into a paradise for the racist and misogynistic. No matter what, this is set to be one of the most important presidential campaigns in our lifetimes.

Stay tuned to Milk for more political coverage.

Original imagery by Kathryn Chadason. Additional images via AP. 

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