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Trump, Sanders Win Decisive Victories In New Hampshire's Primary


Let's sort out what happened in New Hampshire yesterday. Huge, huge wins for Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, two men whose candidacies were not considered all that serious a year ago. I'm joined by NPR national political correspondent Don Gonyea. Hey, Don.


GREENE: So what happened yesterday? You've covered New Hampshire a couple times. What's your overall impression?

GONYEA: Well, we had candidates coming here ready to put Iowa behind them. We had New Hampshire voters ready to say, hey, quit telling us what Iowa did. We do what we do here in New Hampshire. And they kind of did what they did, which is ignore Iowa, but they did something they don't usually do is they picked the most non-establishment candidates you can imagine on each side and very, very, very decisively. You know, we might have, at least looking at polls in recent weeks, predicted this outcome, but still, it was pretty stunning to watch those returns roll in last night.

GREENE: Well, stay with me. Let's listen for a few minutes here to how the candidates themselves framed last night, depending, of course, on how they did and also get an idea of where the campaign is headed from here. This is our colleague Mara Liasson.

MARA LIASSON, BYLINE: The night belonged to the two outsiders in the race. Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders both won by large margins. In Iowa, Trump had led the polls but came in second. In New Hampshire, he showed that he could turn his supporters into voters, an important victory for a candidate whose brand is all about winning.


DONALD TRUMP: Oh, wow, wow, wow, wow, so beautiful, so beautiful.


TRUMP: We are going to make America great again.

LIASSON: Trump proved he could get votes from more than just non-college-educated men. His support was broad and looked like the kind of coalition Republicans need to win the White House. Bernie Sanders had a big lead in New Hampshire for months, and last night, he beat Hillary Clinton by more than 20 points, crushing her among young people, even winning the women's vote. In his victory speech, he channeled Trump just for fun.


BERNIE SANDERS: Because of a huge voter turnout - and I say huge - we won because we harnessed the energy and the excitement that the Democratic Party will need to succeed in November.

LIASSON: Sanders' decisive win sends him with real momentum and lots of money to the next set of states. They will be more challenging. Iowa and New Hampshire have the whitest and most liberal Democratic electorates. Nevada and South Carolina are more diverse and less liberal. Sanders' outreach to African-Americans starts this morning in New York City, where he'll have breakfast with civil rights activist Al Sharpton at Sylvia's, the iconic Harlem restaurant. New Hampshire was a big blow to Hillary Clinton. She won the state in 2008. But this time, she didn't even come close.


HILLARY CLINTON: I still love New Hampshire, and I always will.


CLINTON: And here's what we're going to do. Now we take this campaign to the entire country. We are going to fight for every vote in every state. We're going to fight for real solutions that make a real difference in people's lives.

LIASSON: Even before the vote in New Hampshire, Clinton was already looking south, where her campaign is hoping her strong support among African-Americans can change the dynamic of the race. She spent Sunday in Flint, Mich., whose lead poisoning crisis is a big issue for African-American voters. On the Republican side, the runner-up was Ohio Gov. John Kasich. He camped out in New Hampshire and surged at the end after running a traditional shoe-leather campaign with a positive almost nonpartisan message aimed at the state's independent voters.


JOHN KASICH: Tonight, the light overcame the darkness of negative campaigning.


KASICH: And you made it happen.

LIASSON: Now, Kasich gets to go to South Carolina and maybe beyond if he can raise enough money. But he'll have plenty of company. Instead of winnowing the field, New Hampshire voters made sure the Republican race would stay unsettled with no clear establishment alternative to Trump or to Ted Cruz. The hard-right conservative won the Iowa caucuses and finished third last night in a state that was not a natural fit for him.


TED CRUZ: Your victory tonight has left the Washington cartel utterly terrified.


CRUZ: And so now on to South Carolina, on to Nevada, on to Super Tuesday.

LIASSON: The biggest surprise was Jeb Bush, who was considered dead as a doornail. He languished in single digits in the polls, but he stuck it out in New Hampshire and finished fourth. This campaign is not dead, he told his supporters. We're going on to South Carolina.


JEB BUSH: The pundits had it all figured out last Monday night when the Iowa caucuses were complete. They said that the race was now a three-person race between two freshmen senators and a reality TV star. And while the reality TV star's still doing well, it looks like you all have reset the race. And for that, I am really grateful.


LIASSON: The biggest loser of the night was Marco Rubio. He had come into New Hampshire with a big head of steam from his strong third-place finish in Iowa. He was pulling in second place and seemed poised to emerge as the establishment alternative. But then he wilted under pressure in Saturday night's debate and came in fifth.


MARCO RUBIO: I want you to understand something. Our disappointment tonight is not on you. It's on me. It's on me. I did not do well on Saturday night, so listen to this. That will never happen again.


LIASSON: Rubio has a seasoned team of South Carolina-based advisers, and his campaign is confident he has the money, infrastructure and endorsements to get back on a path to the nomination. But it will be a much more crowded field than he expected. Negative ads are already on the air in South Carolina. The race in both parties looks like it will be nasty, brutish and long. Mara Liasson, NPR News, Washington.

GREENE: All right, and I'm still joined by national political correspondent Don Gonyea on the line. And Don, I was just jotting down, like, a million questions I have to ask you as I'm listening to Mara there.

GONYEA: (Laughter).

GREENE: Let me start with Hillary Clinton. We heard elsewhere in the program some other bits from her speech last night, one where she openly acknowledged that she has work to do with young people. Going forward, I mean, what does that mean? What are the doubts young people had in New Hampshire that really pushed them to Bernie Sanders?

GONYEA: They relate to Bernie Sanders. They feel like he is speaking to them. He is speaking to their issues. The income inequality issue is really resonating, especially with young people. And for whatever reason, you know, even though Bernie Sanders is this old guy with frazzled white hair, they feel like he is connecting with them.

GREENE: You know, one thing we talked about on the show yesterday was what Donald Trump's victory could mean for the state of New Hampshire. I mean, this is a state that takes this job of holding the first primary so seriously, so famous for all the doorknocking and face time with candidates. And there's a theory out there that Donald Trump, who doesn't focus on those things, if he wins New Hampshire kind of loses its - that identity in a way. Are you sensing that this was meaningful in some way for this state going forward?

GONYEA: It's kind of a mixed message, right? I think the smallest event Donald Trump did was in an Elks Lodge, which sounds like it's classic New Hampshire, but it was his only really kind of small event, and that was still hundreds of people. He wasn't popping into the coffee shop downtown. He wasn't, you know, standing on the corner and just greeting people as they go past or waving at cars, which you do see. So there's that. But the other side of it is if you look at the strong showing, an unexpectedly strong showing by Ohio Gov. John Kasich, he did do it the old-fashioned New Hampshire way. He held, like, 105 town halls. And in the early days, when they couldn't even pronounce his name, there would be 15 people there, 20 people there, if he was lucky. By the end, he was filling, you know, good-sized banquet halls and the like. And so that's an example of how the old-fashioned way does still work. So maybe Trump is just the exception as Trump is, I guess, always the exception.

GREENE: Reflect a little bit on this campaign so far. I mean, you and I have talked about this. I mean, you go back a year ago, and there were all these assumptions made about candidates who had no chance and were seen as outsiders. And now the voters are actually speaking. I mean, the power of actual votes and people deciding, I mean, there's something going on here.

GONYEA: Well, voters will surprise you so often, which is why, you know, we look at the polls. We try to get a sense of that snapshot where voters are at any given time. But you just don't know what's going to happen on Election Day or caucus day. David, there is - as I was coming back to the hotel last night, there's a house up the street, and it has a neon sign in the window, and it said, psychic, open.

GREENE: You sent a picture of this, I think, on social media, yeah.

GONYEA: Yeah, I did. And I was ready to stop in for a 1 a.m. consult just to get some sense of where this thing is going. But that is the story, especially in a year when you have, you know, such characters and such candidates as Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders. And you have the people who should be the big dogs, you know, a Bush, a Christie, a Kasich, a Rubio, even, struggling to get attention and to try to break through still at this point.

GREENE: All right, we'll be talking much more about New Hampshire and the campaign going forward. Always great to chat with you, friend and colleague national political correspondent Don Gonyea. Thanks, Don.

GONYEA: All right, take care. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

David Greene is an award-winning journalist and New York Times best-selling author. He is a host of NPR's Morning Edition, the most listened-to radio news program in the United States, and also of NPR's popular morning news podcast, Up First.
You're most likely to find NPR's Don Gonyea on the road, in some battleground state looking for voters to sit with him at the local lunch spot, the VFW or union hall, at a campaign rally, or at their kitchen tables to tell him what's on their minds. Through countless such conversations over the course of the year, he gets a ground-level view of American elections. Gonyea is NPR's National Political Correspondent, a position he has held since 2010. His reports can be heard on all NPR News programs and at To hear his sound-rich stories is akin to riding in the passenger seat of his rental car, traveling through Iowa or South Carolina or Michigan or wherever, right along with him.
Mara Liasson is a national political correspondent for NPR. Her reports can be heard regularly on NPR's award-winning newsmagazine programs Morning Edition and All Things Considered. Liasson provides extensive coverage of politics and policy from Washington, DC — focusing on the White House and Congress — and also reports on political trends beyond the Beltway.