Will the Sanders insurgency run aground in new terrain?

Hillary Clinton's husband, former President Bill Clinton, and daughter, Chelsea, join her Tuesday night in Hooksett, New Hampshire. The candidate vowed to take her message to the rest of the country.


CONCORD, N.H. — Sen. Bernie Sanders scored a decisive victory in Tuesday's New Hampshire presidential primary, embarrassing Hillary Clinton in a state she won eight years ago and upending the Democratic nominating contest.

Sanders' win confirmed the strength of his iconoclastic appeal and the power of an insurgent message that cast Clinton as a creature of the old guard.

"What began last week in Iowa, what voters confirmed here tonight, is nothing short of the beginning of a political revolution," Sanders said. "We will all come together to say loudly and clearly that the government of our great nation belongs to all of us, not just a few wealthy campaign contributors."

The outcome provides a fresh burst of momentum in a race that will soon broaden to more challenging terrain for Sanders — and that is widely expected to grow more combative as Clinton tries to regain her footing.

The former secretary of state now finds herself struggling to right her once-formidable campaign against a self-described democratic socialist whom she has accused of selling pipe dreams to his supporters.

"After splitting the first two contests, an outcome we've long anticipated, attention will inevitably focus on the next two of the 'early four' states: Nevada and South Carolina," Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook said in a memo released by the campaign as the polls closed.

"We've built first-rate organizations in each state and we feel very good about our prospects for success" there and in states that vote in March, the memo continued.

Sanders was written off as a fringe candidate when he launched his bid last spring against one of the best-known Democrats in the country. But in New Hampshire, even more so than in Iowa, Sanders found a receptive audience for his promised "political revolu-Clinton's campaign had been lowering expectations for New Hampshire, based largely on what Clinton called a "neighborly" impulse, although Sanders' appeal here cannot be chalked up to that alone.

"I will ask you, respectfully, to please consider giving me the chance to do this job for you," a subdued Clinton told supporters Monday night at her last get-out-the-vote rally.

"People have every right to be angry, but they're hungry. They're hungry for solutions," Clinton said in a brief concession speech shortly after she called Sanders to congratulate him.

"What are we going to do? That is the fight we're taking," to the rest of the country, she said.

Sanders's lengthy victory speech focused on his core issues of Wall Street greed and income inequality but also ranged to national security, immigration, Social Security and more. He told cheering supporters that the same improbable arc that brought him to victory here can happen across the country.

The Democratic race now moves to Nevada, which holds caucuses on Feb. 20, and then South Carolina, which holds a primary on Feb. 27.

Clinton and Sanders have spent much of the year courting largely white electorates in Iowa and New Hampshire, but the next two states will test their abilities to connect with Latino and African-American voters.

Clinton is better known among both key Democratic constituencies, while Sanders, whose represents a state that is 95 percent white, has been laboring to make inroads with both groups.

Sanders also faces a challenge as the playing field expands and the race starts moving more quickly. He benefited from sustained ground campaigns in Iowa and New Hampshire, which led to a greater familiarity among voters and more time to address misgivings about his political philosophy.

That luxury soon disappears, as candidates must hopscotch around the country and the race becomes far more dependent on TV advertising.

When her double-digit lead slipped last fall, Clinton's biggest boosters in New Hampshire insisted that it was a temporary dip, reflecting restlessness among an electorate that would ultimately return to the candidate best prepared to be president.

Commenting is limited to Omaha World-Herald subscribers. To sign up, click here.

If you're already a subscriber and need to activate your access or log in, click here.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Please keep it clean, turn off CAPS LOCK and don't threaten anyone. Be truthful, nice and proactive. And share with us - we love to hear eyewitness accounts.

You must be a digital subscriber to view this article.