Who will win the New Hampshire primary?

AFTER IOWA

If you remember my Iowa Caucus prediction article, a couple points were off. Senator Rand Paul ended up with an extremely disappointing night, forcing him to drop out days later. The reasons why Senator Paul failed to catch on for the entire cycle and fell flat in Iowa was an issue I later explored in an article.

Other big surprises included Senator Marco Rubio finishing in third, within striking distance of second place Donald Trump. Unsurprisingly, Ted Cruz turned out the evangelical vote and won a state that doesn’t elect many Presidents.

My prediction about the Iowa caucus for the Democratic side really can’t be decided upon, because there were so many problems with Hillary Clinton’s close “win” that even the Des Moines Register called for an audit.

But where do we stand now?

THE FIRST IN THE NATION PRIMARY

The New Hampshire primary really doesn’t have a strong track record in predicting the President either, which isn’t surprising given how early in the process it is.

On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton won in 2008 and would later lose the nomination to Barack Obama. John Kerry won the primary in 2004 and would later take the nomination, but fail to unseat incumbent George W. Bush. Al Gore won in 2000, but also failed to stop Bush in the general.

Going back in time, the result is generally the same. The last time the New Hampshire primary picked a non-incumbent Democratic president was in 1976, with Jimmy Carter.

On the Republican side, things aren’t very different. Mitt Romney won in 2012 and Senator John McCain in 2008, both going on to win the nomination, but failing to defeat then-Senator Barack Obama in the general election. Senator McCain also won it in 2000, but lost the nomination to George W. Bush.

The track record for Republican side is slightly better though. The primaries have predicted two non-incumbent presidents since the Democrats picked Jimmy Carter, but both were in the eighties: Ronald Reagan in 1980 and George H.W. Bush in 1988.

Bottom line though from the nineties onward, New Hampshire has been a mere show like Iowa. The most we will see is validated strategies and torpedoed campaign narratives, but nothing of great significance in the great scheme of things.

DEMOCRATIC PREDICTIONS

1) Bernie Sanders
2) Hillary Clinton

Added emphasis here: if this is a fair fight unlike Iowa was, Senator Bernie Sanders wins.

The appeal of Senator Sanders continues to spread among Democrats for a variety of reasons. He is a consistent and honest personality, and at the very least, doesn’t come off as disingenuous like Hillary Clinton. He also appeals to the fringe wing of the party that believes society is controlled by a small elite of billionaires on Wall Street who are pulling everybody’s strings.

REPUBLICAN PREDICTIONS

1) Donald Trump
2) John Kasich
3) Chris Christie
4) Marco Rubio
5) Ted Cruz
6) Jeb Bush
7) Ben Carson
8) Carly Fiorina
9) Jim Gilmore

Senator Ted Cruz will be the big flop tonight, from a purely numbers perspective. He relies heavily on the evangelical vote and leans on his hawkish religious leanings too much for any politician hoping to win a national general election. Senator Rand Paul being out of the race really doesn’t help him for reasons I discussed in my last article.

Ultimately, the former Bush lawyer has failed to convince many Republicans he’s truly anti-establishment and legitimately conservative. In terms of the anti-establishment vote, that’s largely tied up between other candidates.

One of those other candidates is Donald Trump, who has dominated the polls and escaped every controversy unscathed. Like in other primary states, he will dominate the turnout in New Hampshire.

A lot of reports out of the state seem to also indicate that the Governors will do well. It’s no secret that Governor John Kasich has put all of his eggs into this basket and as a result, is expected to do well. Governor Chris Christie has also put in more work here than in Iowa and is likewise, expected to perform better.

A week ago, I expected Senator Marco Rubio to perform better, but at this point it doesn’t seem as likely. The last debate was rough for him, as he was largely exposed as the programmed and over-rehearsed robot of a candidate he really is. The poor performance was significant, because the debates have largely been a theater for Senator Rubio to show off his crafty one-liners and ability to say a lot without saying much of anything at all.

GOING FORWARD

It’s important to emphasize that New Hampshire bears little significance on the overall presidential race itself. What will happen is largely just a narrative defining night. Those who continue to perform poorly will seriously be forced to drop out. This isn’t because New Hampshire means much of anything at all, but because candidates like Carly Fiorina are faced with clear inability to catch on.

It’s no secret that the Republican establishment hates Donald Trump and is actively searching for a viable opponent to rally around. Patience is going to start wearing thin with the lower tier candidates who refuse to cease the publicity tours and pledge their support against Trump.

If anything at all, expect the field to get thinner after tonight. But don’t expect any overall predictions to be formed just yet.

NEXT: Nevada Democratic caucus, South Carolina Republican primary on February 20

Chris Dixon

About Chris Dixon

Chris Dixon is a libertarian-leaning writer. In addition to writing "Undercover Porcupine", he is also the Managing Editor for The Liberty Conservative and writes for Cleat Geeks and Medium.