After several months of preamble, the nominating process to find the next president of the United States officially started this week with Monday’s Iowa caucuses. The theme on both sides of the political divide was of outsiders breaking down barriers. Hillary Clinton became the first woman ever to win in Iowa, while Ted Cruz went one better, becoming the first Latino to win a presidential primary or caucus in any state.
With the New Hampshire primary two days away, it seems this theme will continue, with real estate mogul Donald Trump and democratic socialist Bernie Sanders the unlikely frontrunners in their respective primaries. While the arrival of the outsiders will likely dominate the headlines of Wednesday’s newspapers however, of perhaps more importance to the race is the ‘parallel primary’ taking place within the Republican field: a four-way battle for the support of the establishment.
In my first post on this blog, I asked the question ‘Who Really Won Iowa?’. Well we now have an official answer: nobody. Following a recount, Mitt Romney’s 8-vote lead now appears to be a 34-vote lead for Rick Santorum. However, due to a number of ‘missing votes’, the decision has been made not to declare a winner.
Ranking up there with Mitt Romney winning New Hampshire and bears shunning public lavatories in terms of pure shock, Jon Huntsman has withdrawn his candidacy for the Republican nomination. His supporters in South Carolina will hold a meeting in a phone box later to decide how to proceed.
Yesterday, the voters of New Hampshire went to the polls and acted exactly as they were supposed to. Mitt Romney strolled to victory, Ron Paul fended off Jon Huntsman’s weak attempts to take second, the conservative vote was split almost equally between Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum, and a few people threw a pity vote Rick Perry’s way. But still, there were lessons to be learned: not from what happened, so much as what didn’t happen in New Hampshire.
I first must congratulate anyone who managed to sit through both of the Republican New Hampshire debates this weekend. They seemed to alternate between being boring and nauseating to such a degree that a Keith Moon situation was a real possibility. But what is to be taken from them?