Just so we’re clear, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) won the New Hampshire Democratic presidential primary. He received the most votes. He won.
But you might not know that if you were watching cable news.
Michael Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York City who is pumping millions of dollars from his own fortune into the presidential race, was not on the ballot in New Hampshire.
Sanders’ victory was narrower than it was in 2016′s primary, when he beat Hillary Clinton in the state. But it was also just a two-person race that year.
Former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg is currently leading in the delegate count from the chaotic Iowa caucuses, but Sanders won the popular vote there. Both men have declared victories in the state. In New Hampshire, both Sanders and Buttigieg will emerge with the same number of delegates.
Sanders maintains an online fundraising operation unmatched among the Democratic field. And he is one of only a few candidates with significant support among black voters.
No one knows who will get the nomination, but Sanders is the frontrunner for now.
Yet cable news pundits went to great lengths to explain why even though Sanders won in New Hampshire, it was actually really bad news for him. A few examples:
The Moderates Are The Real Winners
“I think you have to give Bernie Sanders amazing credit for winning because he did have a bunch of moderates who did really well up against him. But one thing to look at in the rearview mirror is these exit polls on his positions on the issues. Buttigieg ― the question was, Buttigieg’s positions on the issues were too liberal, not liberal enough or about right. ... Buttigieg, 68% said about right. For Bernie Sanders 43% said about right. For (former Vice President Joe) Biden, 45%. ... But you can see that the Democratic Party, at least in New Hampshire, liked what Buttigieg was saying to them. ... You can’t discount how well the moderates did in this race tonight.” - CNN, 2/11
“But Buttigieg and Klobuchar and Biden split the moderate vote, with their combined percentage overwhelming that of Sanders, who got 26%.” - MSNBC, 2/12
Sanders’ Win Wasn’t Big Enough
“There are warning signs in these first two races here, too. We can say that he’s bringing the people along with him but 75% of them didn’t come. And that’s true in Iowa as well. ... If there is a center-left candidate around whom people gravitate, there is a majority of voters there to take him on ― whether that happens is a big question. We’ve got two moderate candidates who have come out of this in very strong shape tonight.” - CNN, 2/11
“The story of the Sanders campaign so far this year is how much ground he’s lost from four years ago.” - MSNBC, 2/11
Voters don’t neatly break into ideological boxes. Plenty of voters in New Hampshire said they liked a number of the candidates, who were both moderate and progressive. The Democratic field is not Sanders versus everyone else.
The Sanders skepticism didn’t start on Tuesday. On Monday, MSNBC host Chuck Todd read an article asking whether Sanders supporters were akin to Nazis.
And last week, MSNBC host Chris Matthews expressed his skepticism of socialists, wondering whether Sanders would like to see people executed in Central Park.
One New Hampshire woman told MSNBC Tuesday afternoon that she was voting for Sanders. Why?
Because she was so fed up with MSNBC being so negative against him.