Bernie Sanders beats Hillary; Trump triumphs in New Hampshire

10 Feb 2016


Donald Trump won the Republican primary in New Hampshire while Bernie Sanders defeated Hillary Clinton on the Democratic side, indicating massive public support for the unconventional politics that they both represent.

Clinton's financial and organisational might appears inadequate against Sanders. With her husband Bill Clinton by her side, she conceded defeat and agreed with Sanders on most things, particularly the campaign finance system. The differentiation that she made from Sanders was that she was better at getting things done.

Going on, she has her task cut out. "I know I have some work to do, particularly with young people … now we take this campaign to the entire country. We're going to fight for every vote in every state." Indications are that Sanders leads Clinton by a huge margin among younger voters, including women.

Sanders's victory speech clearly aimed at the general election, which is no longer beyond his reach. He congratulated Clinton for the robust campaign she ran and did not personally attack her. Instead, he focussed on the need for uniting the ''progressives and the Democrats'' ahead of the November general election to ensure that the ''Republican right'' does not occupy the White House.

Asking his supporters to contribute to his campaign, Sanders said his increasing popularity was a message that ''the government of our great country belongs to all of the people, and not just a handful of wealthy campaign contributors''.

Ted Cruz slumps

On the Republican side, Trump, who had come second in the Iowa caucuses on 1 February firmly established his dominance in the race. Ted Cruz, who stood first in Iowa, slid to the third position. Ohio Governor John Kasich finished second, emerging as the new alternative to Trump. Florida Senator Marco Rubio, who was considered a potential challenger to Trump after his strong third-place finish in Iowa, collapsed after a disastrous debate performance in New Hampshire.

''Maybe, just maybe, we are turning the page on a dark part of American politics because tonight the light overcame the darkness of American campaigning,'' Kasich, who has been running a positive campaign of hope rather than anger, said in a jubilant speech after the results.

But Kasich has a long way to go before he could challenge Trump as former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, the best-funded candidate, has no plans to quit the race. ''This campaign is not dead. We're going on to South Carolina (the next primary state),'' Bush said.

Altogether, the commotion in the Republican Party continues after the first primary, ruling out any immediate threat to Trump.

Trump, a billionaire and Sanders, the poorest candidate in the fray, said strikingly similar things in their victory speeches about the American campaign finance system that funnels huge sums of money from corporates into its politics, in exchange for policy favours. ''These are special interests groups that don't care for the country,'' said Trump. ''We will change this corrupt system of campaign finance,'' said Sanders.

While Trump underscored the point that his campaign was self-financed, Mr Sanders reminded his ebullient supporters that his campaign was financed by 3.5 million contributions, each worth an average of $27.

But these similarities apart, Sanders and Trump are hardly birds of the same feather. While Sanders spoke about the future of America where migrants, homosexuals and blacks can be fearless and women will have equal pay, Trump focused on ''beating China, Japan and Mexico''.

''I will be the greatest jobs president that God ever created. Remember that,'' Trump said, adding that Sanders was planning to ''give away America'', referring to the string of welfare measure that he promises.

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