Saturday, February 13, 2016

The Pundits are Getting New Hampshire All Wrong

I haven't been hanging on the news over the past week or so, but what I have seen and heard bugs me in a way I've been wanting to comment on for a while (and just haven't had time).

Where's what I am TOLD by pundits:
  1. There is more "excitement" on the Republican side resulting in a larger turnout in the Republican Primary 
  2. The "excitement" for Bernie and Trump is great as evidenced by their respective wins.
But here's what I SEE.
  1. New Hampshire has an open primary, like my home state's (South Carolina). You don't have to declare party affiliation to vote in either the Democratic or Republican primary.
  2. Voting in the Democratic Primary was weak.
  3. Voting in the Republican Primary was strong.
  4. Democrats are more deeply divided than they themselves know:
    1. Many voters will not vote for a publicly avowed Socialist, no matter how you 'splain it. Some will, but many will not
    2. Clinton is facing a crisis of scandals. The classified document scandal alone presents a reasonable doubt as to whether she'd actually be indicted before the general election. People don't like that, and some would not vote for her under any circumstances.
  5. Trump is widely acknowledged to be as un-Republican a Republican as has run in recent memory. A number of his positions aren't terribly different from Clinton's.
Now here's what I THINK.
  1. The people of New Hampshire weren't particularly excited about Bernie Sanders at all. Rather, they were disenchanted with Hillary Clinton. But even though they couldn't vote for Clinton, they found themselves left with an alternate choice (Bernie) that they couldn't vote for, either.
  2. Nevertheless, they didn't stay home. The voting in the Republican primary was above expectations because many of those voters were Democrats.
  3. Those Democrats voting in the Republican primary voted for Trump.
I think that the New Hampshire election is evidence that there are a large number of Democratic voters who can not bring themselves to vote for any of the candidates currently fielded by their party. These disenfranchised voters are inclined to defect to the Republican side if they don't simply stay home.

This did happen for Ronald Reagan; and despite his personality it could possibly happen for Trump. In fact, as I was preparing to post this I went searching, and a poll last month concluded the same thing... as many as 20% of Democrats would defect if their own candidate wasn't on the ballot. That spells bad news whether your name is Clinton or Sanders. As Trump would say, 20% is HUGE. It's far greater than the difference in raw numbers between the two parties. And Trump, thus far, has a commanding lead on the Republican side, as much as that makes me shudder.

As to why the talking heads aren't paying attention to this during the actual primaries, your guess is as good as mine. Maybe all of them are except for every last one of them I've seen.

I have no idea why these two are smiling.
The chances are very good that both of them are completely screwed.

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