Today, New Hampshire's large bloc of independent voters cast most of their ballots for Democratic candidates, which would be great for the Democrats if repeated nationally. Senator Hillary Clinton edged out Senator Barack Obama for the number one spot mainly because women voters moved overwhelmingly toward her over Obama, which was a significant reversal from Iowa. Clinton showed that gender will continue to play a powerful role in the fight for the nomination.
The New Hampshire results illustrated the fact that the prospect of electing the first woman president in U.S. history could be just as exhilarating as the possibility of electing the first African American. It seems that gender trumped youth. The troglodyte who held up the "Iron My Shirt" sign at the Clinton event must be tearing his hair out tonight, (if he wasn't a Clinton campaign plant).
Obama finds himself in a strong position having finished a close second behind Clinton and he promises to keep the heat on the former First Lady. He can still thwart what the chattering class has called Hillary's "coronation." The Obama forces will redouble their efforts in the next few weeks now that they've seen that there are limits to their candidate's magic.
Coming in second might end up helping Obama by energizing his supporters in the remaining primaries. It was kind of amusing while channel surfing through the television coverage to see Brit Hume at Fox News cut into Obama's speech in mid-sentence to throw the show over to Hannity and Colmes. (Did anyone notice how the Fox News channel used lighting effects to make Obama's skin look a little darker than it looked on any of the other networks?)
Hillary Clinton has had a superb organization in New Hampshire for a long time and being from nearby New York helped her too. The tiny black population in the state also helped her. Older voters came out for Hillary today. Bill Clinton's last minute attacks on Obama in areas of the state where Obama was ahead might have swayed some voters. Hillary Clinton promised in her victory speech to "end the war in Iraq the right way." I don't know what she means by the "right way," but I fear it means the lengthy, expensive, bloody way.
The hatred of Hillary Clinton among the right wing is palpable even when just whizzing the channel changer past Fox News. There I saw the pasty sweaty Frank Luntz compare Hillary Clinton to an insect infestation, or "Friday the 13th." The problem for the Democratic Party if it does quash Obama's politics of hope and nominates Clinton is that she energizes the Republican base in a way that is almost unique in American politics.
Obama is still alive and well and his second-place showing tonight just shows that his supporters must fight all the more tenaciously. California will be crucial for Obama on February 5th.