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And Then There Were Some: The Race After New Hampshire

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The New Hampshire primary is now well in the bag, and candidates are down here in the Carolinas campaigning. Some folks are out, and others had a bad week. Who has room to complain? Nobody. Except Carly. Maybe.

First of all, the casualties: Both Christie and Fiorina are out. That’s the main shake-up. But there is also karma to deal with. After all, Bernie got burned and Rubio got roboted. But neither one should complain. Let me explain.

Bernie. He won handily in the popular vote, but thanks to the Democrat rules, he and Hillary basically tied when it comes to delegates. Ouch. Bernie spent months pounding pavement up there. He worked hard for it. Harder than Hillary. And in the end, he did in fact get more votes. He deserved the most delegates. He earned them.

But Bernie has no room to complain about that. Because according to Sanders’ own view of the world, spreading the delegates around is the right thing to do. Moe Lane brought this up last night:

… from each according his ability, to each according to her need. Bernie Sanders had the ability to get the votes necessary to acquire delegates; and Hillary Clinton clearly has a more pressing need for them

He’s the socialist. These are his beliefs. So by his own system, New Hampshire worked out exactly right.

Marco. Rubio repeated himself, and after Christie attacked him for it, he did it again. He paid the price. He owned up to it. He even had a great quip about what happened. But he shouldn’t complain. At least, not yet anyway.

Every politician in this race is repeating himself. Even petty Chris Christie, the United States Attorney. Did you know he used to be that? A United States Attorney? Because he was. A United States Attorney I mean. Also governors are executives. Because governors are executives, governors do executive things. It comes with being a governor. Which is an executive you see.

Trump, too, repeats himself endlessly. Often, often, it’s in the same sentence, right in the same sentence, he does it in the same one. The same sentence and the next one or two. Both. Often. Repeats himself. If you don’t believe it, go watch the videos. Or make Mexico watch them. Whatever. I’m not your Google.

But look, the truth is Rubio was repeating himself a bit too much. A bit. Yes, you can be too on-message; especially this election, which is an anti-politician election (at least on the right). It’s a valuable lesson and probably came early enough. (Which doesn’t excuse Christie resorting to knee-capping while waddling out the door.)

So why shouldn’t Marco complain? He already wasn’t distinguishing himself enough. Now that the mylar seal has been opened, it’s his chance to really make his case. We should all hope that he does. In my view, we need Marco and Cruz to hang on and get rid of Jeb!, Kasich, and even kindly Dr. Carson. That gives Republicans the best opportunity to coalesce around the two people who I believe are A) most likely to stop Trump and B) have a real shot at taking the whole thing.

Marco’s numbers after Iowa were exceptionally good versus the Democrats, and he is (or was) easily the most liked candidate. The grim view that he is wounded beyond repair by Chris Christie’s traitorous, party-immolating attack is not the only view. It’s not my view. So don’t complain. Retrain. Reframe.

And speaking of Christie, he’s gone now. Gone not at all gentle into that good night, taking his parting shot at, of all people, Marco Rubio, who it seems he personally blames for his own failure to catch fire. He and Rubio and Jeb! all shared a similar space, and Rubio is just plain easier to like.

I’ve always been a fan of the way Christie takes on the left. I’ve never been a fan of unnecessary and vicious friendly fire, especially when it hurts the message as much as the messenger. So good riddance Governor. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out. Mainly because we paid good money for that door and don’t want you to crush it to smithereens.

Now we come to Carly, who ran an admirable campaign that also never caught fire. She got in the first and best shots against The Donald. She’s a fierce debater, she knows how to stay on message, and she is a pro at handling the press. My only hope is that her political career is neither over, nor on a long hiatus. Oh, and that she endorses Cruz or Rubio.

So finally and at last: TED. Ted Cruz came out of New Hampshire pretty much unscathed. With the campaigns headed to South Carolina, he’s coming to territory that will be naturally friendly for him, assuming that Trump hasn’t poisoned the well too toxically. He is the anti-politician politician, at least in the eyes of a large part of the electorate if not jaded D.C. hallways and dank political blogger alleys. He has all the right notes. But a Trump problem for sure. South Carolina will be a test of his message, having won in Iowa and placed third in crazy-land.

That’s my summary of the race as it stands. I’m sure the Washington insiders would dispute every bit of it. But it’s not their year is it?

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