Start with the winners. Bernie Sanders won the New Hampshire primary. In 2016, he won with approximately 60% of the vote. In 2020, he won with less than 28% of the vote. My first reaction was that 2020 was different. Candidates who didn’t want to vote for Hillary had nowhere else to go. There were only two candidates.
One analyst gave this a different emphasis. Half of Bernie Sanders’ support came in 2016, not because they were for him, but because so many opposed Hillary Clinton. That just might be the right emphasis. Against attractive candidates, Bernie Sanders might have a ceiling of 30%. Other analysts point out that the number of young voters declined. Of course, says the response. New Hampshire has made it much harder for college students to register to vote. Voter suppression was the culprit for the reduced number of young voters. What then is the analysis? Bernie might have a ceiling of 30%.
Pete Buttigieg lost to Bernie by slightly more than one percentage point. That is a strong showing. He got a lot of those who would have gone to Hillary. And a lot of those who would not vote for Bernie. And a lot of those who liked him. He is, after all, the most articulate among the Democratic candidates.
Amy Klobuchar was a smidge below 20%. Another analyst suggests half her support came from those who might have supported Elizabeth Warren. So much for talk about left lanes and center lanes. Like Buttigieg, some came from those who did not like Hillary (it wasn’t all sexist); some from those who did not want to vote for Bernie; and some liked her debate Friday night before the vote.
If Biden is done, can Mike Bloomberg displace Pete and Amy? He will spend a lot of money on Super Tuesday. More than either of them will spend between them. Will there be an alternative to Bernie who is much more appealing than Hillary was? If Bloomberg bulldozes Buttigieg and Klobuchar, he is on his way to the nomination. If he does not, Klobuchar and Buttigeg will probably remain too close to knock off Bernie. Bernie gets to the convention a winner. He has to find a way to be acceptable to those who vote in the general election (I don’t mean he should change; he can’t and shouldn’t.) Or he gets to the convention with a plurality, which means that the only alternative is that slim chance that Elizabeth Warren is holding onto – as the person who can unify the party.