Rewind back to April 2015 when Hillary Clinton announced her candidacy for President and Bernie Sanders was still on the fence. At that time, Clinton was the premier frontrunner, hands down, no questions asked. By the end of April, Clinton led the pack in Iowa with 61 percent of the support, followed by Biden with 8.5 percent. Sanders polled in third with only 6.5 percent, a virtual unknown. Clinton seemed unstoppable. She seemed inevitable.
Then the Iowa Caucus happened. Clinton, by the skin of her teeth, edged out Sanders to win by a razor-thin margin of 49.9 percent to 49.6 percent. Some Democratic insiders that night predicted Clinton would win by 2-3 percentage points, setting a smooth transition into New Hampshire next week. At one time during the evening, results had Sanders leading, casting grave doubts on the Clinton camp as another 2008 scenario. But as the night went on, Clinton held the steady .2 percent lead well into the early morning of February 2. Coin tosses were in order due to the razor-thin proximity in voters, which Clinton won. Her official declaration of victory didn’t come until just after 1 p.m. on February 2nd. That’s how this primary was.
The fact that a couple of coin tosses saved Clinton from an Iowa catastrophe is staggering, and it’s something Clinton should not take lightly. In essence, the Clinton campaign grossly underestimated the Sanders zeal, and now Republicans are bracing for the possibility of a Sanders campaign, should Clinton not be so lucky in New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada.
But with regards to future primaries, anything can happen, and Iowa is all the proof the Clinton campaign needs. Between April 2015 and February 2016, Clinton went from a net lead of 53 percent to just 4 percent, winning by only .2 percent. New Hampshire, which Sanders has been consistently leading in recent polls, will be an uphill battle for the former Secretary of State. Nate Silver’s website FiveThirtyEight gives Sanders almost a 100 percent chance of winning New Hampshire, up more than 50 percent from just two weeks ago. When it comes to South Carolina, FiveThirtyEight gives Clinton a 96 percent chance at victory. Nevada is still up in the air.
It’s safe to say Clinton will most likely lose New Hampshire, but the question is by how much? In 2008, Clinton beat out Barack Obama by 2.5 percent. Given her near loss to Sanders in Iowa, a deep loss in New Hampshire could be fatal to her campaign.
Hillary Clinton was once the frontrunner, and, after Iowa, technically still is. However, her support had diminished quite soundly in swing states like New Hampshire and Nevada. Her campaign took hard hits for her emails, her ties to Goldman Sachs, and her “flip-flopping” on certain issues such as same-sex marriage and the TPP. But her biggest setback was underestimating the tenacity and fierce dedication of the Sanders camp, much like she did with President Obama in 2008.
One thing is for certain: whichever one of our candidates wins this race, we will be lucky. The GOP’s primary is fraught with insanity and attacks. Bernie and Hillary have battled hard and been respectful to each other for the most part. And that’s how you know we, as a party, are on the right track.
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