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OPINION

New Hampshire 2016

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
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So.

Everyone who tried to make themselves believe that Donald Trump's second place finish in Iowa signaled the beginning of the end of the Trump campaign was wrong.

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Trump coasted to an easy win last night in New Hampshire with more than double the percentage of second place finisher John Kasich.

I know that, if you add all of the votes for Kasich, Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, and Chris Christie, Trump would have lost 45 - 34. But, that's not the way we keep score.

That would be like saying Cam Newton had a higher QB rating than Peyton Manning so the Carolina Panthers really won the Super Bowl.

No. They didn't.

South Carolina is next (for Republicans) on Saturday, February 20. That means Trump gets to take a fully-deserved 10-day victory lap between now and then.

Among the other Republicans (as I type this with only about 35 percent of the vote tallied) it appears Kasich will come in second. The battle for third is between Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, and Mark Rubio. All, as of now, are within two percentage points.

All three can all make the case for sticking around.

Chris Christie is at eight percent, only two percentage points below Rubio, but a full eight percentage points behind Kasich. He is on the bubble and it would not surprise me if he decided over the next couple of days suspend his campaign and to return to Trenton.

Carly Fiorina (4 percent) and Ben Carson (2 percent) can go home.

Jeb Bush was left for dead sometime last August but gets a ticket - or at least gets to share a car - to South Carolina for being in the middle of the non-Trump pack.

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The guy to keep an eye on is Cruz. New Hampshire is not, at all, Cruz country yet there he is leading the battle for third. That will not be lost on potential supporters in South Carolina.

On the other side, Bernie Sanders cleaned Hillary Clinton's clock. As I type he is leading 59-40. That is well outside any way for the Clinton campaign to claim she exceeded expectations.

She didn't.

All day long yesterday, members and supporters of the Clinton campaign were making it clear that Sanders was the home-town boy (he is not), and that he should do very well; that anything less than 127% of the vote would have to be seen as a victory for Clinton.

This, after Clinton claimed victory for having beaten Sanders by one-quarter-of-one-percentage point in Iowa after once leading by about 50 percentage points. Nevertheless, her campaign pranced up and down Grand Avenue like she'd scored the biggest win since Truman beat Dewey.

The Democratic primary in South Carolina is a week later than the GOP's - on February 27th.

We all get to catch our breath and, like Ben Carson, go home to do our laundry.

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