The Republicans and Democrats have each held two contests for the selection of delegates to their national conventions: Their Iowa caucuses and their New Hampshire primaries. President Trump has won all four contests.
In Iowa, President Trump won the popular vote with 31,464, with only 426 votes going to former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld. He thus earned 39 delegates to Weld’s 1.
In New Hampshire, President Trump won the popular vote with 192,696, to Governor Weld’s 13,769, and thereby earned all 22 of New Hampshire’s delegates.
The results of the Republican contests were not considered sufficiently newsworthy for the media to report, yet they are significant. They reflect one of the President’s greatest assets going into the general election—a united and enthusiastic Republican Party. Indeed, the turnout for the President in New Hampshire is the greatest earned by any incumbent President since Reagan.
For the Democrats, the story is different. In Iowa, Senator Bernie Sanders won the popular vote (45,842, or 26.5%) and 12 delegates, while former Mayor Pete Buttigieg came in second in the popular vote (43, 274, or 25.1%), but earned 13 delegates. Senator Elizabeth Warren came in a distant third, with 34934 votes for 8 delegates. Former Vice President Joe Biden won 23,630 votes for 6 delegates, and Senator Amy Kobacher won 21,121 votes for 1 delegate.
In New Hampshire, Sanders won the popular vote over Buttigieg, 76,352 to 72,443. Each won 9 delegates. Klobuchar, won 6 delegates with a popular vote of 58,774. Neither Warren nor Biden, both of whom distantly trailed Klobuchar, won any delegates.
So how did Trump benefit from the results in the Democrats’ Iowa and New Hampshire?
The real news coming out of Iowa was the chaos and confusion into which the Iowa vote counting and reporting sank. The fiasco, fairly or unfairly, reflected gross disorganization and incompetence within the Democratic Party. Normally, the more disorganization and incompetence one party shows, the more support the opposition party gains. The contrast between the Democrats and the Republicans in Iowa will not be lost on the voters, to the advantage of the GOP.
And the fact that Sanders won the popular vote in both Iowa and New Hampshire increases the chances he will emerge as the Democrats’ presidential nominee this summer. As is customary for winners in the early contests for convention delegates, he may well start gaining momentum as he attracts more supporters and their money. For example, polling shows he is now favored to win the Texas Democratic primary. This is especially good news for Trump since of all the Democrats still in the race for their party’s presidential nomination, Sanders is the most radical, and therefore the easiest for the President to defeat this fall.
Indeed, the possibility of Sanders’s nomination, followed by Trump’s subsequent victory, is already leading many Democrats and their supporters in the mainstream media to look hopefully to Senator Klobuchar or even former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg for rescue, the theory being that either candidate is more moderate than Sanders and more experienced and credible than Buttigieg. But before either Klobuchar or Bloomberg can come to the rescue, they must start winning. Klobuchar must start doing better than placing third, and Bloomberg, who has not yet been in any contest at all, must start showing his vote-getting capacity.
It’s still too early to be 100% certain about the outcome of our presidential nomination and election contests. But with a united Republican Party and an economy still going strong, and a Democratic party with the potential to sink into chaos or nominate a radical, the race for the White House is increasingly becoming Trump’s to lose.
Malcolm L. Cross has lived in Stephenville and taught politics and government at Tarleton since 1987. His political and civic activities include service on the Stephenville City Council (2000-2014) and on the Erath County Republican Executive Committee (1990 to the present). He was Mayor Pro Tem of Stephenville from 2008 to 2014. He is a member of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church and the Stephenville Rotary Club, and does volunteer work for the Boy Scouts of America. Views expressed in this column are his and do not reflect those of The Flash as a whole.