Sanders wins in New Hampshire as Biden crashes and burns

Bernie Sanders is the flag-bearer for the Democratic party’s progressive wing. (File/AFP)
Short Url
Updated 12 February 2020

Sanders wins in New Hampshire as Biden crashes and burns

  • The 78-year-old Sanders went into the race as the newly anointed national frontrunner
  • The performance will be a body blow to the 77-year-old Biden, who has failed to generate the fundraising numbers or the enthusiasm levels of his rivals

MANCHESTER: Bernie Sanders won New Hampshire’s high-stakes Democratic primary on Tuesday, according to US network projections, leaving rivals including party stalwart Joe Biden in his wake as he staked his claim to challenge President Donald Trump in November.
Sanders, the flag-bearer for the party’s progressive wing, had 26 percent of votes with most of the count complete in the northeastern state, where he routed Hillary Clinton in 2016.
“Let me take this opportunity to thank the people of New Hampshire for a great victory tonight,” Sanders told cheering supporters after NBC and ABC called the result in his favor.
“This victory here is the beginning of the end for Donald Trump,” the senator from neighboring Vermont added as raised the roof with his rallying cry for fairer taxes and health care reform.
Indiana ex-mayor Pete Buttigieg finished in second place at 24 percent as he readied for the more difficult battlegrounds ahead, while fellow Midwestern moderate Amy Klobuchar maintained a late surge to place third on about 20 percent.
Liberal Elizabeth Warren finished in fourth place at about nine percent.
“Now our campaign moves on to Nevada, to South Carolina, to communities across our country. And we will welcome new allies to our movement at every step,” Buttigieg said.
After months atop the pack, Biden had already conceded he expected to do badly in New Hampshire, as he did a week earlier in Iowa — and the former vice president’s worst fears were beginning to materialize as he languished in fifth with just over eight percent.
The performance will be a body blow to the 77-year-old Biden, who has failed to generate the fundraising numbers or the enthusiasm levels of his rivals for the top spot on the Democratic ticket.
White House hopefuls had been seeking clarity in the Granite State after the first-in-the-nation Iowa count devolved into chaos, with Sanders and Buttigieg eventually emerging neck-and-neck.
For tech entrepreneur Andrew Yang and Colorado Senator Michael Bennet, that meant facing reality and bowing out after they failed to make an impact on Tuesday.
“You know I am the math guy, and it is clear tonight from the numbers that we are not going to win this race,” Yang said.

The 78-year-old Sanders went into the race as the newly anointed national frontrunner and was expected to win New Hampshire.
Buttigieg’s camp will be happy with a solid result that could provide voters on the fence with much-needed reassurance after he won narrowly in Iowa.
The Afghanistan veteran is languishing at 10 percent in the latest national polls and has negligible support among African-Americans in upcoming states with more diverse populations.
Pundits believe this vital constituency will start to take a serious look at Buttigieg, a virtual unknown a year ago, after his impressive top-two finishes in the opening races.
Klobuchar’s popularity in New Hampshire surged after a strong debate on Friday, moving her ahead of Warren, whose performance will do nothing to revitalize a wounded campaign.
“Elizabeth Warren, sometimes referred to as Pocahontas, is having a really bad night,” Trump tweeted with around half the count completed.
“I think she is sending signals that she wants out.”
Warren admitted to MSNBC the result was a disappointment but insisted: “This is going to be a long primary process.”
“The question for us Democrats is whether it will be a long, bitter rehash of the same old divides in our party, or whether we can find another way,” she said later.
Biden, apparently seeing the writing on the wall, canceled a primary-night party and was in South Carolina as the results came in.
“We just heard from the first two of 50 states. Two of them. Not all the nation, not half the nation, not a quarter of the nation,” he told supporters.
“Now, where I come from, that’s the opening bell — not the closing bell.”

The day had begun under a light snowfall. Voters at a Boys and Girls Club in the state capital Concord received paper ballots and used either voting booths curtained by red, white and blue plastic or tabletop voting spots to make their choice.
Mike Schowalter, a 39-year-old conservative, said he voted for Sanders, a self-declared democratic socialist who critics complain is proposing a health care overhaul and other sweeping ideas that are too expensive.
“It does seem kind of strange, but I do think a lot of stuff going on in our country right now is a bit broken,” Schowalter told AFP. “I think he’ll get us talking.”
Buoyed by his strong start, Sanders has emerged as the national Democratic frontrunner with 25 percent support, according to a new Quinnipiac University poll that described his surge as a “dramatic shift.”
Biden has skidded from 26 to 17 percent support since the end of January.
Significantly, the survey also showed billionaire Michael Bloomberg vaulting into third place on 15 percent — suggesting a possible upset when New York’s former mayor, who is skipping the first four nominating contests, throws himself fully into the race.
Competing for the support defecting from Biden, Bloomberg is focusing on Super Tuesday on March 3, when 14 states vote — spending a record $260 million of his personal fortune on his campaign.


Afghanistan to free 900 more Taliban prisoners

Updated 2 min 30 sec ago

Afghanistan to free 900 more Taliban prisoners

KABUL: Afghan authorities plan to release 900 more Taliban prisoners Tuesday, as a rare cease-fire by the insurgents entered its third and last day.
The pause in fighting, which came into effect Sunday to mark the Muslim holiday of Eid Al-Fitr, was for the most part holding out across the country, officials said.
The government earlier responded to the Taliban’s cease-fire offer by announcing plans to release up to 2,000 insurgent prisoners.
On Monday they freed 100 people and will release another 900 on Tuesday, the government said, the biggest group of Taliban prisoners freed so far.
“There is a decision to release 900 today,” National Security Council spokesman Javid Faisal told AFP.
But the exact number could vary subject to legal procedures, he added.
The cease-fire, only the second of its kind in the 19-year-old conflict, has raised hopes of an extended truce that could pave the way for long-awaited peace talks between the Taliban and Afghan government.
President Ashraf Ghani has said his administration is ready to begin the negotiations, seen as key to ending the war in the impoverished country.
On Tuesday officials said the cease-fire, the country’s first initiated by the Taliban, had largely been observed.
The only other comparable pause in violence came over Eid in 2018, an olive branch offered by Ghani.
Violence in Afghanistan escalated after the Taliban signed a deal with Washington in February to withdraw all US forces by next year.
The agreement also stipulated the Afghan government would first release up to 5,000 Taliban prisoners and the militants would free about 1,000 national security personnel.
Prior to this week’s releases, Kabul had already freed about 1,000 Taliban inmates, while the insurgents had let go about 300 Afghan security forces captives.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has welcomed the cease-fire, and said the freed Taliban fighters should not return to the battlefield.