During the week after the unclear Iowa caucus, the results of that process finally came in, and it seemed to be close to a five way tie, but with Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg rising to the top of a crowded field. Going into New Hampshire, there was two questions: would the process be smoother than it was in Iowa, and would the field finally get clearified?
When talking about these states, I feel I should reveal my knowledge, or in most cases, ignorance of them. My time in New Hampshire consists of a weekend visit with a girl who I was going to college with in Vermont, and in some ways it was similar to the stereotypes of New Hampshire: conservative but reasonable people, "college educated Republicans", people who wanted low taxes but also liked museums, a group of people who I didn't know about growing up in Oregon. That was 20 years ago, my only visit to New Hampshire since then was to pass through it on the freeway to and from Maine. I am not an expert on Maine. But now, in 2020, no one else is either. The truisms and stereotypes about genteel New Englanders don't provide much guidance in the irreality of 2020. But election results are election results, and so the narratives about either summer home dwelling preppies and "White Working Class" junkies in the blighted bleakscape of New England can both be dismissed in favor of data.
And the data is a virtual tie between Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg, with Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar coming in a surprising third. Elizabeth Warren and Joe Biden, both considered to be front runners, received too few votes to gain any delegates. While there are, as always, talk about "momentum", the top voter got 26% of the vote. The field is still unclear. The next two states to vote, Nevada and South Carolina, are both more diverse and larger, so they might give us a better view of the state of the race.
Moving on from the results of the race, it is interesting to look at the candidates themselves. Much of the talk around the election has been whether primary voters will choose a centrist lane or a progressive lane. However, that leads to another question: why are they selecting these particular candidates? Why are progressives selecting Bernie Sanders, a senator from a very small, very demographically uniform state? And why are moderates selecting Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, which is literally just below the 300th most populous city in the US. Not that I think there is anything particularly lacking in their experience, but them being catapulted to the top of the race ahead of people with more wide-ranging experience seems a curious turn of fate to me.