Tuesday’s outcome in New Hampshire means two things: First, Donald Trump, while not unstoppable, is more likely than any other Republican to be the GOP nominee. Bet on Donald, but heavier on the field. Second, Bernie Sanders will win plenty of delegates, enough to influence the Democratic platform.
Mr. Trump had a very good night. He outperformed his poll numbers, receiving 35% of the vote, four points higher than his Real Clear Politics average going into Tuesday. The businessman ran equally well among Republicans and independents (who can vote in the state’s open primary).
The Donald’s tone in his victory speech was much improved. He movingly paid tribute to his parents. Gone were incessant references to polls. So, too, were insults about his competitors, replaced by praise of them as “really talented people . . . terrific.”
Mr. Trump even strung together a rudimentary platform, pledging to negotiate better trade deals, take care of veterans, build a border wall, replace ObamaCare, create jobs and “knock the hell out of ISIS.” He now must flesh out and defend these platitudes, as Republicans hit him for supporting single-payer health care and saying that he won’t increase the defense budget.
Second-place finisher John Kasich benefited enormously from having hosted 106 New Hampshire town halls, a feat he cannot replicate in South Carolina before its Feb. 20 primary. The Ohio governor is likely a one-state candidate—or, at best, a regional one, with future strength only in the central Midwest.
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