Tuesday, January 08, 2008

New Hampshire's Primary -- and Don't Forget Wyoming

It's late, and I'm tired.

Quickly: the New Hampshire primary has finally ended, results are in, and I have a few concluding comments. (My pre-vote thoughts are here.)

1. I am sick of the media coverage already, and the primary season's barely begun. I'm sick of the the endless talking by an endless parade of pundits, experts, analysts, etc. etc., blah blah blah. A great percentage of them are completely out of touch with the ordinary voters of "Middle America" anyway. I don't care about pundits.

2. Why do reporters insist on "projecting" winners when only 25% of the total vote has been tallied? Sometimes I think that the media's premature "projecting" is just not very...OK...not very democratic. What about the other 75% of the vote?

3. The winners in terms of numbers: on the Dem side, Hillary (39% of the total Dem votes). On the GOP side, McCain (37% of the total GOP votes). In primaries, almost nobody ever gets a real majority (51% or more) of the votes; 39% and 37% are pretty big pluralities.

4. The other Dem winner: Obama. He received a good solid percentage of the Dem vote -- 37%. As far as I'm concerned, that's a tie with Hillary. Obama's strong showing in New Hampshire serves only to increase his momentum from his clear Iowa win.

5. The losers. On the GOP side: Romney comes in second with 32%. This is not terrible, but I'm sure he hoped for more -- a clear, decisive numerical win of the kind that McCain got. New Hampshire was a McCain-Romney race. Huckabee comes in third with 11%. On the Dem side: the first loser is Hillary. Wait, wait, you say: silly MM, you just said she was the winner by the count! Yes, she was. But Obama's clearly a contender, he is more popular now than ever, and he almost caught her in this primary. This makes his Iowa win look like not a fluke, but the beginning of a trend among Dem voters. In future primaries, if Hillary is ahead of Obama in the polls, she'll be constantly looking over her shoulder, worrying about him catching up. And if she falls behind him, there will be the rising desperation. She's already changing her campaign staff. She's worried, and you can see it. This win tonight keeps her competitive -- even as it builds up Obama as her huge (and increasingly big) main competitor. She's the winner-loser. Her tiny 2% win gives her no room for relaxation at all, and in fact it makes her situation even more stressful. She's vulnerable, and she can't hide it.

6. MM says "It's time to think about going home" to: Ron Paul, Dennis Kucinich, Duncan Hunter, and -- to a lesser degree -- Bill Richardson. I'll say it too to John Edwards (even though he got 17%) mainly because I find him as pleasant as a hat made of angry wasps.

7. Tomorrow we can expect the media's "talking heads" to be "interpreting" tonight's vote results in all kinds of interesting and contradictory ways. Some will probably try to re-crown Hillary. Some will try to crown Obama. Meanwhile, the GOP race for the nominee is still wide open, though right now McCain is cheerfully giving victory speeches.

8. Wyoming. Spare a thought for the little western state of Wyoming, as on January 5 it had a GOP caucus that nobody really covered! (Some newspapers did, but the TV news didn't very much.) Wyoming "fell between the cracks" while everybody was yelling about Iowa and New Hampshire.

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