Trump. Cruz. Marco. Jeb. Carson, Christie, Carly and Kasich.
Eight Republican presidential hopefuls are on the ballot today in New Hampshire, the country’s first primary vote in the race for the White House. The winner may well shape the Republican Party’s collective identity crisis.
This time last year, the party establishment had seemingly chosen its man and message. Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, a centrist Republican, the son of one former president and brother of another, was positioned to be the Republicans’ choice to shape the post-Obama era. But something happened that no one predicted. The party was crashed by two outsiders: businessman Donald Trump and Tea Party leader Ted Cruz. The United States was in very bad shape, they proclaimed, and drastic measures were needed.
That message found traction and Bush’s star faded. Today, establishment Republicans are said to be panicking, particularly over Trump’s unshakeable frontrunner status. By tomorrow, the path ahead for America’s conservative party may be set in stone.
New Hampshire Primary Isn’t About Trump
Sara Fagen – CNBC
As New Hampshire voters head to the polls, there seems to be consensus on two things: 1) Donald Trump will be the victor, and 2) Who will finish second and third is truly a jump ball. And, whoever finishes second or third in New Hampshire, will likely be the GOP nominee….
I’ve long thought Donald Trump wouldn’t be the GOP nominee, yet a lower than expected finish in New Hampshire will probably seal his fate…. It’s not enough to have people love you, they need to be inspired to show up when it’s time to vote. If I’m wrong, and he dominates his opposition taking a larger than 35 percent vote share, watch for him to continue to win in the South.
[T]he much more interesting story will be what happens below Donald Trump on the ballot.
Trump Will Lose in New Hampshire
Lance Simmens – Huffington Post
Trump is destined to disappear from this Kafkaesque nightmare that has captivated media coverage over the past half year or so — and the sooner the better.
He is boorish, uninformed, illogical, inconsistent and a bully. Not one of these attributes have any endearing qualities attached to them at all. Donald Trump will lose in New Hampshire and America will benefit. And if my prognostication is wrong, I will continue to insist that it is only inevitable in hopes of not losing my own mind or soul.
Why Jeb Bush Went Horribly Wrong
Matt Latimer – Los Angeles Times
During one of many harangues against Donald Trump, Bush told a small gathering in New Hampshire, “We’re not electing a personality. We’re electing someone who has to sit behind the big desk and make tough decisions.” …
There is no more important role for a president than that of a performer. A leader who will vow to avenge “a day that will live in infamy.”
Or go to Berlin and call on a Soviet leader to tear it down. Or stand on a pile of rubble with a bullhorn and promise to bring the bad guys to justice.
Does anyone other than Jeb Bush believe that Americans marvel at how efficiently the president cleans out his inbox?
Or applaud him for successfully refereeing a dispute between the secretaries of commerce and agriculture?
The voters aren’t looking for an administrator-in-chief.
Christie Earned It: Best Candidate to Take on Hillary
The Editorial Board – The New Hampshire Union Leader
Chris Christie offers the GOP its best chance to keep the Clinton machine out of the White House….
The Republican field is deep and talented, but most of them have been playing home games in Republican states like Texas, Florida and Ohio.
As the two-term governor of deep-blue New Jersey, Christie has grappled with a Democratic legislature and the constant sniping of the New York Times. He alone is ready for the media onslaught awaiting the eventual Republican nominee.
Compare Christie’s strength and poise to Donald Trump’s empty bluster.
John Kasich, Mainstream Outsider
Margaret Carlson – Bloomberg View
This is glory time for Kasich. Often in danger of being relegated to the kiddie-table debate of Republican candidates, he is now polling at No. 2 with an asterisk in New Hampshire (it’s the new No. 1, with the Trump discount). During his last presidential foray, in 2000, he was so unknown outside Washington that voters thought that he’d come to an event “to shovel the snow.” Running as a compassionate conservative, he ran smack into another better-financed one named George W. Bush and quickly dropped his bid.
This time, he’s got enough money. What’s more, there’s lots of money being spent against him on ads in New Hampshire and South Carolina suggesting that compassionate conservative really means “Obama Republican” (a reference to Kasich’s decision to accept federal Medicaid expansion funds as part of Obamacare). “Imagine,” he says smiling, “I’m enough of a threat they’re going negative on me.”
New Hampshire Vote will Set Terms of the Debate
Kennebec Journal / Morning Sentinel – The Editorial Board
There is still a gulf between establishment candidates like Rubio, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and the insurgent campaigns of Trump and Cruz, who criticize Republican leaders as much as they attack Democrats.
If Republican voters believe that America just needs a change of parties, they will reward the establishment. If they believe that the country needs to be changed from the roots, they will support Trump or Cruz…. It’s a much bigger choice which person should represent the party in November, and the whole world, including Maine, will be watching closely.