With the Darwinian efficiency that characterizes our modern electoral system, voters representing less than 1 percent of the American electorate may by Wednesday have effectively spoiled the chances of a half-dozen people who hoped they’d be the next American president.
The financing machine that drives America’s political system rarely produces sleepers later in the year. If candidates cannot strike a winning chord in the early contests, Iowa and New Hampshire, the money often dries up.
New Hampshire voters are notorious last-minute deciders, giving the final hours of Monday’s campaigning special urgency. Having ceded first place to Donald Trump, the Republicans are scrambling for second — and also for enough votes to maintain their plausibility going forward. On the Democratic side, the main interest is seeing by how much Hillary Clinton can control the damage of an expected Bernie Sanders victory.Mr. Kasich shares stories of loss and ideas for change; he implores his audience to slow down, and reach out to those among them who are struggling. “I like that he puts the country before politics,” said one attendee. Whether he can replicate this winning formula in other states, he doesn’t yet know. Mr. Sanders, who is about 16 points ahead of Mrs. Clinton, had one of the best weekends of his campaign, speaking to packed rallies and a rock concert. Mrs. Clinton could not have been helped when, on Saturday, Gloria Steinem and Madeleine Albright scolded young female Sanders supporters, Ms. Albright telling them, “there’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other,” an old line of hers that the many young women who back Mr. Sanders find offensive. Then on Sunday Bill Clinton lit into Mr. Sanders as hypocritical — a defense of his spouse that may also have betrayed the Clinton campaign’s fears about Tuesday’s outcome. The pace and expense of modern campaigning means candidates have less time than ever to break through. The vote in New Hampshire on Tuesday will almost certainly narrow the field — but still not produce anyone with a surefire winning formula. NYT