Iowa, New Hampshire success rate.

What do the numbers tell us about the Iowa, New Hampshire success rate in picking the nominee?

The closer we get to the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary, the more interesting it is to look at the historical relevance of those two contests, at least as far as Democrats are concerned.

In putting this table together, what impresses me most is that only three times since 1972 did both Iowa and New Hampshire choose the same candidate who then became the eventual Democratic nominee (excluding the incumbent years of 1980, 1996, and 2012).

In other words, about a third of the time — 37% to be exact — did a candidate win both Iowa and New Hampshire and then become the nominee. The nominees who won both contests were Jimmy Carter, Al Gore, and John Kerry.

If we start with the 1972 campaign year, looked at separately Iowa has a better track record than New Hampshire in picking winners. Iowa picked the eventual nominee in five out of eight contested elections, a 62.5% rate of success (again excluding the incumbent races). New Hampshire chose the eventual nominee in four contested primaries, a 50% success rate.

Of course, each contest has its own little side story that is relevant to the relationship between primary winners and the nominee selection.

For example, although Bill Clinton did not win the 1992 New Hampshire primary, the “Comeback Kid” had enough momentum coming out of the Granite State, that he then used this “victory” as a springboard for future successes. Bill Clinton won neither the Iowa caucuses nor the New Hampshire primary but eventually became the nominee.

In an unusual case in which the victor in both contests did not become the nominee, Ed Muskie’s campaign quickly fell apart after the New Hampshire contest. Many believe that the publisher of the powerful New Hampshire Union Leader had a lot to do with Muskie’s demise. The cruel-hearted William Loeb taunted Muskie as weak and “unpresidential” after Muskie cried when his wife had been attacked during the campaign.

Perhaps more relevant to the current campaign is the solidarity among Iowa and New Hampshire voters in picking the same candidate — Gore and Kerry — who then became the ultimate nominee.

Time will tell, but my prediction is that Hillary will win Iowa and Sanders will win New Hampshire.  Ultimately, Hillary will become the Democratic nominee.

DEM Iowa-NH History

New Hampshire Democrats: Syrup sucking squirrel watchers?

Bill Clinton was in town the other day and reiterated his support for New Hampshire’s current primary status. Taking the liberty of speaking for his wife as well, he said he opposed adding another caucus or primary between Iowa and New Hampshire.

The people in this state who have any real interest in the political scene need to brace themselves: sooner or later, New Hampshire will be relegated to the political back row where most people think it belongs.

It must have been 20 years ago that I listened to one of the SNL news commentators rant about New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary status. To paraphrase, he wondered why the fate of the Union should be left to a bunch of “syrup sucking squirrel watchers?”

It was a good question. And very funny. I think I rolled off the sofa laughing so hard that I hurt my stomach. In any case, that probably wasn’t the first shot over the bow, but there have been many more since then. Call it unrelenting.

The New Hampshire primary works. “Retail politics” has a place in our electoral system and New Hampshire is the best example of it. It matters that voters can go to a primary “event” and meet a candidate drinking a Coke in someone’s backyard along with a grand total of six other voters and ask a question about health care or Iran and get a response that is not entirely scripted or weenied into a meaningless TV sound bite.

That opportunity certainly means something to me, and it means a great deal to many other voters in the Granite State. I realize that it must seem merely quaint to outsiders, a relic of a political process that started dying the day political consultants realized they could swing more votes via the mass media than by shaking cold New Hampshire hands or kissing our colicky babies.

Like the unrelenting floodwaters that pounded us last spring and summer, the pinky ring crowd, the media moguls and political consultants will not go away. It is inevitable that the damn will give way and that New Hampshire’s political clout will be washed into the mainstream and be lost forever.

It would be a damn shame if we let that happen.

Sanders getting help from GOP?

Read how GOP operatives are trashing Hillary and sending out pro-Sanders emails:

During Sunday night’s Democratic debate, the Republican National Committee made the unusual move of sending no fewer than four real-time e-mails to reporters defending the self-described democratic socialist from attacks by Hillary Clinton or echoing his message against her. Based on their content, one could be forgiven for thinking the RNC communiques came from the Sanders campaign.

“In Iowa, American Crossroads is helping Bernie Sanders by depicting Hillary Clinton as a Wall Street insider,” Jack Pitney, a political science professor at Claremont McKenna College, wrote on his blog.

The story comes today from Bloomberg Politics. You need to read it!

The question I  have is whether or not “Mr. Clean,” i.e. Bernie Sanders, is going to repudiate dirty politics committed on his behalf.

What do you say, Senator? Is this part of your political revolution?