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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

January 24: Joe Biden Won Twice in New Hampshire

After watching the returns from New Hampshire on the evening of January 23, I offered a take on the rogue Democratic primary at New York:

Despite lots of irresponsible talk about Joe Biden potentially getting ambushed in an officially unauthorized New Hampshire primary where he wasn’t on the ballot, the president brushed aside two opponents and won a primary for the first time in this influential state. He won even though he didn’t campaign there and even though Democrats had to go to the trouble to write in his name. And he won about two-thirds of the vote against two challengers who essentially camped out in New Hampshire, hoping lightning would strike. Some predicted he would underperform and get knocked out of his reelection race like Lyndon Johnson in 1968. Instead Biden called into question whether Dean Phillips and Marianne Williamson have any reason to continue their unsuccessful candidacies.

In fact, Biden won a double victory in New Hampshire. Aside from winning his own primary, his general-election strategy is being vindicated by the continuing success of his preferred general-election opponent, Donald Trump. No, Trump didn’t (or so it seems) knock Nikki Haley out of the Republican race. But the former president’s nomination seems really inevitable now. And the fact that he may have to grumpily stalk the primary campaign trail for at least a month before it’s official will give the White House fresh opportunities to remind voters (including Haley supporters) of the fateful choice they will have to make in November.

Meanwhile, Joe Biden can move on to his first official, non-rogue primary in South Carolina, where Democrats will vote three weeks before the Trump-Haley battle there. The Palmetto State Democratic primary should be a real love-in as Joe Biden campaigns among the voters who absolutely saved his bacon in 2020 and put him on the path to the presidency. The contrast with the glowering Trump and the Republicans who are on a white-knuckle ride with him should be richly rewarding for the 46th president.


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