Hello to everyone out there in Digland. I shouldn’t have to be saying this, but it’s good to be back in my own column space, free of miscreants disrespecting the process and their bodies. Regardless, this isn’t a time for me to commiserate about the trolls, nor is it the time to gloat, though I’ve earned it. Yes, I’ve called another state contest virtually perfectly for CAFE, but that’s to be expected. My dad Colonel Dig developed a saying sometime after his work trip to Cambodia, “you gotta get up and count the bodies or someone else will claim ‘em.” There are a whole lot of bodies to count in the frozen New Hampshire tundra, and it’s my turn to count!
Herewith are the winners & losers from New Hampshire:
John Kasich – Although I got the order of Cruz, Jeb, and Marco slightly off, I correctly called John Kasich to surge to second place. It was a vagrant victory. Not a full-on win, but a kind of qualifying breath of life. It was the equivalent of other Kasich victories, such as when he secured a state ID and could purchase liquor despite the fact that he sold his birth certificate, or when he pretended to be deaf to get out of a public consumption ticket during his run for the governor’s office in Ohio. Like those past wins, it isn’t going to get him a lead spot/a domicile, but it keeps him in the fight. And if there’s one thing this mendacious train hopper excels in, it’s a long drawn-out melee for a Fentanyl patch.
Bernie Sanders – Bernie would be foolish to let his victory in the Yelling State go to his head. Unfortunately, it seems to have already flown right up his nostrils; the candidate raised $6 million dollars for his doomed campaign yesterday, hypocritically sapping money from people who don’t have health insurance. While these dummies can’t afford to pay for their hip dysplasia treatments, Bernie will be living high off the hog until South Carolina voters say “thanks, but no thanks” to the wretched and likely racist Vermonter.
Wesley Clark – While Bernie will blow his entire war chest on big speech sets where he can prattle on about how people who don’t even deserve tips are owed free college, Clark is well positioned for the nomination once Hillary is sentenced to hard labor in Levenworth. General Clark is a patient hunter, and he’s about to sink his fangs into the DNC nomination he was so richly owed 12 years ago. If he’s a callous yet deeply hilarious man, he’ll be inventing fake cabinet posts to offer Bernie once he blows him out during convention delegate bartering, only to rescind the offer and reveal the Secretary of GoFundMes is a fake position, effectively gaslighting Sanders.
Donald Trump – Blowing out his nearest competitor by a 2-1 margin may look good for Trump, but there were chinks in his armor that haven’t yet be seen; during Jeb Bush’s electrifying “I’m on the way to proving my point” concession speech, Trump hastily took the stage and got Fox News to pre-empt the former Florida governor. Something, or everything that Jeb says must have really put a lot of fright into Trump, who felt the need to childishly upstage the scion of the Bush family. That’s bad news come Nevada, where Jeb has vast stretches of open highway to fill with his scathing billboards (“‘Donald Trump is plain up to no good’ -Jeb Bush” some say) and whip crowds into a fervor with his radical brand of calm.
Jeb Bush – Jeb finally got the last laugh, beating out his Sunshine State rival Marco in the epic battle for fourth place and snagging a good 45 seconds of free cable TV time for his election night speech before Donald Trump’s feed cut in. Jeb could use the free airtime, as his campaign and Super PAC have spent about $250 million so far on devastating attack billboards (“Mr. Trump, sir, you are quite the cad”) and professional crisis actors to boo his rivals at the debates. My gut tells me that Jeb has the mojo to snag a lot more fourth place finishes in the coming weeks.
Hillary Clinton – Hillary’s devastating 20-point defeat at the hands of an elderly Socialist is liable to throw her campaign into total chaos. As a veteran Clinton-watcher, I know that for all their organizational might and perfectionism, whenever Hillary’s people are faced with a crisis, they react in hasty, irrational ways. Remember Whitewater, where Bill’s slapdash response was to have Jim McDougal and Vernon Jordan killed? This is one situation where the Clinton camp should take a page from the Bernie Bro playbook and apply a little “Netflix and chill out.”
Marco Rubio – Yes, Rubio stammered for an entire debate about something one of his thousands of aides instructed him to say. Yes, he looked like he was going to cry at every single campaign event thereafter. Yes, he has technically failed miserably every time he’s been given a chance. However, I think a stronger Marco emerges out of this debacle. Marco may not make it to the convention, but he’ll be back. This will be a Senator Rubio who has dealt with having a morbidly obese man make fun of his speech patterns, someone who knows what it is to crater spectacularly and won’t fear it anymore. Remember in Game of Thrones when Maester Aemon tells Jon Snow to “kill the boy, and let the man be born”? Well, let’s just say Marco will be killing a boy after New Hampshire, and it won’t be one of his many smartly-dressed bastard sons who man his media credential desks.
Chris Christie & Carly Fiorina – As I predicted, Der Governor Christie and Crush Video Carly finished at 6th and 7th place respectively and ended their campaigns. Christie, the lame duck Governor of New Jersey, now returns to his fortified bunker underneath Trenton to wait out his final days with the shrinking coterie of sports radio callers and cirrhosis sufferers who are Christie’s last true believers. Meanwhile, Fiorina, who spent election night screaming at her supporters for their failure to win the primary for her, will probably spend the next few months in front of her iPad watching the Planned Parenthood videos and Russian dashcam snuff films the ex-CEO of HP is famously fond of.
Ted Cruz: Cruz didn’t do as poorly as predicted, nor did he do well. The Texan may shuffle his webbed feet to South Carolina, where he’ll be at home in the physical and literal swamp of Lee Atwater’s creation. He came into this contest hot off the heels of tricking Iowa voters into believing that Ben Carson had killed himself and that they should vote for him, so it will be interesting to see what he pulls off in an even dirtier down south setting. Look for Cruz to boldly claim that Donald Trump is gender nonbinary or something similarly explosive next week.
Carl “The Dig” Diggler has covered national politics for 30 years, and is the author of “Think-ocracy: The Rise Of The Brainy Congressman”. Got a question for the Dig? E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org or Tweet to @carl_diggler.