New Hampshire’s primary earlier this week yielded the predicted results based on earlier polling, but the American primaries are still far from typical. Bernie Sanders gained a large margin of victory over Hillary Clinton. The pool of Republican candidates was stirred once again. Donald Trump came away with a clear victory, while John Kasich rose to second place, just edging out Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio.
Bernie Sanders’ rise from his initial entry to the democratic race as a longshot candidate is remarkable. Democratic voters are divided on whether progress is best achieved by working within the system or against it. Sanders has a young support base, while Clinton’s lengthy record leads some to believe she is the more qualified candidate.
While they differ wildly in terms of policy, Sanders and Trump are both seen as the option for voters of each party who want the system to change. In this sense, New Hampshire sent a message that it wants change in Washington. It was just divided over exactly which direction to move in.
This race is as much a statement about the American political system as it is about political issues. American regulation of elections differs significantly from the British system, as demonstrated by the 18 month election season. Furthermore, donations to elections are considered freedom of speech, leading to the image that many candidates do not represent the American people, as their campaigns are financed by the wealthy and large companies. This controversy lies at the heart of Bernie Sanders’ campaign. He seeks to reign in Wall Street and its influence on Washington. The reality of his plan, given the current system, has recently been called into question. Although his aspirations are admirable and supported by numerous Democrats, Clinton maintains that her presidency would achieve more by working within the system, instead of trying to change it.
American voters face important decisions in the coming months, and at this point it’s difficult to predict the results of the primaries. On November 20th, Nevada will hold its Democratic caucuses and South Carolina will hold its Republican primaries. After this, the primary season will speed up, with the frequency of the primaries increasing significantly as larger states cast their votes.