New Hampshire Realities
Let's level-set the state of the race going into, and beyond New Hampshire this week. On the GOP side, and contrary to the expectations of the punditocracy, there may not be an exodus of several GOP governors or ex-governors from the race if they don't finish in the top 3 in New Hampshire. After watching the GOP debate last night, the conventional wisdom would only hold up if Marco Rubio came through as a strong Number 2 in the primary. After watching Chris Christie expose Rubio for the fraud he is, and after seeing Kasich take the optimist approach, it seems that perhaps all four of the insider candidates may go south. For his part, Bush's South Carolina hopes, money, and organization ensure he isn't exiting the race, and Cruz is aiming for victories elsewhere. So the GOP race may not change much for another several weeks.
On the Democratic side, the debate last week clearly revealed the differences between Sanders and Clinton. In a normal year, Hillary's speaking fee liability and "results over revolution" approach would carry the day. But we aren't in a conventional year, and the latest national poll shows that the party has Clinton fatigue. Her job clearly this week is to narrow the gap in New Hampshire to 10 points or less, claim victory, and move onto friendly terrain. Sanders for his part still needs to explain how he can get things done in a revolution if the party doesn't take back the Senate and House with him at the top of the ticket. He hasn't had to explain that yet, because Hillary hasn't forced him to tell voters how a Bernie-led party can carry down-ballot races in areas where there aren't thousands of younger voters for Bernie or liberals to storm the electorate.