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Dick Morris: Bernie Won the New Hampshire Debate - Will He Win the NH Primary?

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The Democratic establishment and the media it controls are desperate to defeat Bernie Sanders, who, they correctly believe, cannot beat Trump in November.

In Friday’s Democratic debate — the last before the New Hampshire primary — they said Pete Buttigieg won.

But it was Sanders who showed the difference between men and boys, putting forth an impassioned, policy-rich presentation to counter glib soundbites.

Can this callow child, who tries to imitate Obama and JFK, run the country? He couldn’t stand up to Sanders or Joe Biden but he hopes to face down China and Putin? Give me a break.

But remember, it’s not yet Sanders vs. Buttigieg. That comes next week. For now its Sanders vs. Elizabeth Warren on the left and Buttigieg v Biden on the right.

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Sanders won his half of the contest easily. Warren seems to give the same speech over and over. The words don’t vary nor does the tone of indignation. But Bernie is topical, tailoring his speech to the moment without backing off his ideas. It was a jukebox versus a seasoned candidate as Warren faced off with Sanders on Friday night.

What causes high medical costs?

Warren rattled on about “corruption,” but Sanders wondered if it could have “something to do with the fact that the health care industry last year made $100 billion in profit.”

I think Warren may drop further still with her voters largely defecting to Sanders, thus accelerating his momentum going into Super Tuesday.

Do you think Bernie Sanders will win the Democratic nomination?

With his back to the wall, Biden delivered his best performance of the campaign, speaking in a matter-of-fact/cut-the-bulls–t style that was refreshing and earnest. When Buttigieg spoke glibly of the politics of the past, Biden turned sharply and asked what was wrong with the past, citing the passage of Obamacare in that era. Biden also noted that, in the Obama administration, millions of stimulus dollars flowed to South Bend to help to create the record of which Buttigieg was boasting.

Buttigieg was pathetic when he was asked about Hunter Biden. Displaying the only passion in his vanilla, scripted performance, he deplored attacking someone’s family.

Come on, young man, that is not what this is about. It is about a son of a vice president using his name to make a million dollars a year off a weak, dependent country.

But in his opening statement, Biden may have blown it by conceding that he lost Iowa and predicting another defeat in New Hampshire. You don’t do that. This message tells his voters their support for him is a wasted vote and they should cast it for another candidate with a chance to win.

New Hampshire voters are very tactical and sophisticated. They are used to casting politically wise votes to advance their real preferences.

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War story: In 1976, at the age of 29, I worked for Indiana Democratic Senator Birch Bayh. Jimmy Carter, then the moderate candidate, had won the Iowa caucuses, beating out two liberals — Bayh and Arizona Democrat Mo Udall. Liberal New Hampshire voters wanted to stop Carter and didn’t know who to back, Bayh or Udall.

When Bayh beat out Udall for second place (behind Carter) in Iowa, the media lavished praise on his unexpected finish and asked if he might be the guy to beat front-runner Carter in New Hampshire.

That freaked out Bayh’s handlers who doubted he could pull it off and they sought to moderate expectations by predicting a third-place finish in New Hampshire, behind not only Carter but Udall as well. Their idea was to look good when they finished second. But they miscalculated. Told that of the two liberals opposing Carter, Udall was most likely to finish strongly, Bayh’s voters left him. He finished third and dropped out of the race shortly after, leaving Carter and Udall to battle it out.

Did Biden just make the same mistake in downplaying his chances in New Hampshire?

The views expressed in this opinion article are those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by the owners of this website. If you are interested in contributing an Op-Ed to The Western Journal, you can learn about our submission guidelines and process here.

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Dick Morris is a former adviser to President Bill Clinton as well as a political author, pollster and consultant. His most recent book, "50 Shades of Politics," was written with his wife, Eileen McGann.




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