Bernie Sanders was immediately declared the winner of the New Hampshire primary, once the polls closed, becoming the first presidential primary candidate to win a state after supporting cannabis legalization. Once considered to have no shot at all, the anti-establishment underdog can certainly be considered a viable candidate after defeating one of the most powerful political campaigns imaginable. As was the case in Iowa, young voters overwhelmingly supported Senator Sanders over the former Secretary of State.
While the ultimate margin won’t be known for a while, New Hampshire won’t be a late-night nail biter that the Iowa caucus turned out to be. Hillary Clinton conceded immediately after the polls closed as Sanders had a ten point lead that seemed to continue climbing. Now, the question remains whether Bernie Sanders can translate a strong New Hampshire victory into more support among brown and black voters that make up larger proportions of more diverse states such as Nevada and South Carolina. The anti-establishment Sanders will continue making the case as to why his policies are better better for minorities, both on economics and on criminal justice.
— Yahoo Politics (@YahooPolitics) January 18, 2016
African-American communities have been especially decimated by the disastrous War on Drugs and people of color are disproportionately incarcerated. Bernie Sanders is clearly the more progressive candidate on criminal justice reform and he has already introduced legislation that would end marijuana prohibition and prohibit the use of federal private prisons. Additionally, his racial justice platform includes many important reforms, including restoration of the voting rights; the demilitarization of police forces; requirement of body cameras; and automatically triggering a federal Justice Department investigation when someone dies in police custody.
Hillary Clinton’s campaign has tried to spin New Hampshire as a case of home-state advantage, but that argument doesn’t really hold water when the former First Lady enjoys such strong name recognition and won the state’s primary just eight years ago. Clinton has made the case that Democratic primary voters should choose the more pragmatic candidate, with supposedly a better chance at winning the general election.
Granite State voters, with the state motto “Live Free or Die” chose the passion and idealism of Bernie Sanders and potentially they may have seen the polls showing that Bernie Sanders actually fares better than Hillary Clinton against Republican frontrunners Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio. We shall see whether primary voters will continue to #FeelTheBern or say #HillYes as the campaign proceeds.
Bernie Sanders emailed supporters after his historic New Hampshire victory:
Nine months ago, if you told somebody that we would win the New Hampshire primary, they would not have believed you. Not at all. Too bold, they would have said. Not enough money to compete against the billionaires.