POLITICS

40 Takeaways From The 2016 New Hampshire Primary, Ranked

Confused media offer the best observations they can.
For instance, Bernie Sanders could win more primaries.
For instance, Bernie Sanders could win more primaries.

America's quadrennial obsession with New Hampshire finally reached its anti-climax Tuesday night, leaving pollsters looking redeemed, party elites feeling dismayed, and the rest of us just grateful that important aspects of the contest weren't determined by coin tosses. Not that it was even close -- New Hampshire's late-breaking voters went with the herd this year, giving Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump blowout victories.

And yet, it's once again time to look to the media for "takeaways." How much variance can these takes exhibit, given the early finishes and the decisive wins? Let's find out who made the most incisive observations and who made the same point the most emphatically with Eat The Press' authoritative ranking of the day after's New Hampshire takeaways.

1. In the Granite State, Republicans wanted an "outsider" and Democrats wanted "honesty." But voters probably won't think like this in the primaries to come, right? (See also: "Clinton Has A Trust Problem" and "Hillary Clinton (Still) Has A Trust Problem.")

2. So much for Madeleine Albright and Gloria Steinem as surrogates. Hillary Clinton's proxies sent women straight to Sanders' camp. (See also: "Democratic Women Aren't Rallying Behind Clinton.")

3. In the end, it was hard to track the late-breakers. Voters who made up their minds in the days shortly before the vote edged toward John Kasich and Sanders. Voters who waited till the day of the primary "broke narrowly for Clinton and Trump."

4. Does Ted Cruz have anywhere to go? Last week's winner finished third in New Hampshire, but unlike Iowa bronze medalist Marco Rubio, nobody's talking about Ted the morning after. Perhaps the Granite State is a sign that Cruz lacks the means to "expand beyond his regional or ideological base."

5. Bad night for the aristocrats. The two winners oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal. Sanders' win will have Clinton upping the rhetoric against banks and influence peddlers.

6. It was an even worse night for Muslims and immigrants. New Hampshire voters really hate those guys.

7. Clinton's coalition has the potential to fray. With Sanders picking up the youth vote by the bushel -- and keeping young women in his camp to boot -- there's a chance that other Democratic voters will "give Sanders a second look."

8. Is Clinton going to panic? Given the fact that her campaign team really hates campaigning, it's anyone's guess.

9. Will Clinton stop alienating voters? By contrast, alienating voters seems to be her campaign's strength at this point. Perhaps that's why a "shake-up" is in the offing?

10. GOP is losing low-education voters to Trump. And also the well-educated.

11. Kasich kept political norms on life support ... at least for a night. "Trump won despite ignoring the traditional rules of primary politics, but John Kasich finished second -- injecting new life into his campaign -- because he followed them."

12. But Kasich is skint. Second place was sweet for the Ohio governor, but will he need to pawn his silver medal to keep his campaign going? A senior adviser says that he "expects an infusion of donations," though.

13. Sanders is likely to reap another wave of donations. He doesn't have Kasich's problem -- his supporters will keep him in the race to the bitter end. (See also: "Bernie Sanders is going national.")

14. Bush spent $35 million on ... whatever that was. Maybe give Kasich all that money?

15. Clinton "was smart to concede quickly." Now she has more time to figure out what went wrong.

16. Clinton will enjoy more diverse electorates pretty soon. Things get a lot less Caucasian in South Carolina and Nevada. What if they like Sanders, too, though?

17. It's Bloomberg o'clock again! "He may wait to see if South Carolina changes the race's momentum, but he can't/won't wait long." 

18. Hillary to veer left. "A different Hillary will emerge from this primary race -- one who is far less moderate and far more committed to economic and social justice than before." We saw this in her concession speech.

19. "'Not-Trump' Coalition In Disarray." How long does the GOP establishment have left to keep this from becoming a Trump-Cruz contest?

20. The GOP has until mid-March to figure out how to stop Trump. This is because eventually, these primaries stop dishing out consolation delegates to the losers and become winner-take-all affairs.

21. Trump won broadly, with almost every slice of the GOP base. But mid-March! They'll figure it out by mid-March for sure! (See also: "Trump voters are real" and "Donald Trump is for real.")

22. Clinton lost broadly, with almost every slice of the Democratic base. She kept old, rich people -- you know, the sort of folks who probably got to attend her Goldman Sachs speeches.

23. Rubio will have to "over-perform in South Carolina and/or Nevada" to have any shot. MID-MARCH, GUYS, IT'S GONNA BE FINE, YOU'LL SEE.

24. Clinton "can't afford to lose 80%" of the youth vote going forward. She probably can't afford to lose 50 percent of them, but baby steps.

25. "A Consistent Message Helps." But not too consistent, right, Marco?

26. Experience didn't matter. "Hillary carried voters who prioritize experience and electability," to no avail. (Also, Trump won.)

27. Alternatively, experience does matter. "While Mr. Trump and Mr. Sanders positioned themselves as political outsiders and won big, the establishment was not entirely demolished." Cool, cool, guess the "establishment" had another really great "experience."

28. Sanders' policies will "get a lot more scrutiny" from the media. This could be a bad thing? Or maybe "scrutiny" will reveal that he's a fairly conventional American liberal, as opposed to an anthropomorphic Billy Bragg songbook. (See also: "Brace yourself, Bernie.")

29. This was a pretty bad primary for Rubio. You think? (See also: "Marco Rubio's Bad Night.")

30. Voters are mad. Establishment: smash!

31. Debates are so important, man. Well, if one guy gets completely destroyed, it matters. But you'll notice that Chris Christie got no reward from voters for revealing Rubio's programming. (See also: "Debates mattered a lot" and "Debates can be game-changers.")

32. "Working white class voters are up for grabs." I don't know, man. If two-thirds of them went for Sanders and Trump, they look pretty grabbed to me.

33. Jeb Bush is "meh." THIS JUST IN. Still have to say that he was a beneficiary of Rubio's implosion, and Christie wasn't.

34. Kasich got 16 percent OMG! And it just took practically living in New Hampshire, spending all his money, and doing 100 town hall meetings to get drubbed.

35. Trump and Sanders could win. File under "Duh": "Trump and Sanders are the front runners, and could well win their parties' nominations."

36. You know, if you add up the votes that Kasich, Bush, Rubio, Christie and Carly Fiorina got, there's enough to beat Trump. Hey, cool, but you know that's not how voting works, right?

37. "Hillary Clinton's concession speech showed no adjustments." Uhm, were you watching the same speech as the rest of us? There was a huge shift to issues of social justice, economic populism, human rights and equality that hadn't been articulated nearly as forcefully in previous Clinton orations.

38. Hey, Kasich proved that nice guys don't finish last. Sure, I guess! They finish second and lose to "venal" by a 2-to-1 margin. All hail the New Niceness!

39. If a Republican wins, he should make Christie the attorney general. "Christie's takedown of Marco Rubio in Saturday's debate, which destroyed the Rubio candidacy, was worthy of Perry Mason." Sure, man. That's what legal genius is, pointing out a guy saying the same thing over and over again.

40. "Marco Rubio Isn't The Droid You're Looking For." Star Wars references are hack, sorry.

Jason Linkins edits "Eat The Press" for The Huffington Post and co-hosts the HuffPost politics podcast, "So, That Happened." Subscribe here. Listen to the latest episode below.

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