As a reasonable person, I often try to put myself in the shoes of others to consider their point of view. If I’m Donald Trump going into the New Hampshire Primary, I’m thinking, “Okay, this is what I want to happen …”
- Win in dominant fashion. Obviously.
- Have someone innocuous come in second.
- Keep the establishment lane jumbled.
So with the results pretty much in (based in CNN’s estimate of 97% reporting), how did The Donald do?
Step 1 – Win in dominant fashion
Check. 35% of the vote. That’s more than one third of voters in an eight horse race. His nearest challenger got less than half the votes he did.
Step 2 – Have someone innocuous come in second
Check. Other than Carson or Fiorina, neither of whom had a real shot, I don’t there was a better person from Trump’s perspective to finish runner up than Kasich. He’s got almost nothing in the bank and virtually no presence in the upcoming primary states. Talk about being in a woefully bad position to capitalize on momentum.
Step 3 – Keep the establishment lane jumbled
Check. I don’t know how Trump would fare one on one with a single candidate who had the full backing of the Republican party, but I do think most reasonable people would say that he is benefiting from that backing being fractured. If you’re Trump, you gotta love the establishment on establishment crime of Christie taking down Rubio. Instead of the highest placing Approved Candidate in Iowa capitalizing on momentum, you have him falling to the back of the legit contenders in New Hampshire. If Kasich had flopped, he’d probably be out of the race. Bush finished strong enough to keep him going forward but not high enough to produce a ton of momentum. Literally the only thing that could have gone a little better in this regard would have been for Christie to have drawn in some of Carson’s and Fiorina’s support in order to keep the governor around longer.
It’s a long race, and Trump by no means has anything sown up. But I don’t think you could have scripted a better night for him.