MANCHESTER, N.H. -- After several days in the middle of the political and media circus leading up to the New Hampshire primary, by election day I was ready to get out of the Granite State.
As I helped my hosts from the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism pack up equipment used to turn a section of the Shaskeen Pub and Restaurant into a makeshift newsroom in the week before the primary, I squeezed in one last interview on my way out the door.
Bob Littlefield, 60, said he got up early to vote for Bernie Sanders before going to work at his construction job.
“A lot of people I don’t trust,” Littlefield said, “a lot of people don’t seem they want to fix the country,” and would rather complain about President Trump. “No one’s really told us what they’re going to do,” he said. “I don’t think it’s right.”
For Littlefield, Sanders seemed like an exception to the rule of untrustworthy Democratic candidates who didn’t have real solutions to offer.
“I think he’d be OK, I mean he won the primary in New Hampshire four years ago,” Littlefield said.
As it turned out, more New Hampshire voters apparently felt similarly to Littlefield in supporting Sanders than they did about any other candidate. As of Wednesday morning, the senator from Vermont maintained a somewhat narrow lead over former South Bend, Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg, with more than 97 percent of precincts reporting.
President Donald Trump, predictably, won New Hampshire’s Republican primary with more than 85 percent of the vote, the day after he held a huge -- if not quite as huge as he claimed -- rally in Manchester.
Following Tuesday’s election results, two longshot candidates -- entrepreneur Andrew Yang and Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colorado) -- announced the suspension of their campaigns. Others who may not have done as well as they hoped, including Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts), gave speeches committing themselves to staying in the race.
“Let me say tonight that this victory here is the beginning of the end for Donald Trump,” Sanders said in his New Hampshire victory speech.
“The reason that we are going to win is that we are putting together an unprecedented multi-generational, multi-racial political movement, and this is a movement from coast to coast which is demanding that we finally have an economy and a government that works for all of us, not wealthy campaign contributors,” Sanders said.
Sanders said in his speech that his campaign would be going on to Nevada and South Carolina, and that he would win the Democratic primaries in those states as well.
If there is any major takeaway from the New Hampshire primaries, however, it is that the party nominating contests in this small New England state that become the focus of so much campaign activity and media attention every four years are probably promoted more heavily than they should be.
While Sanders’s campaign victory here is certainly an important development, there is still a long way to go before the 2020 Democratic National Convention in July, and even longer until the general election, and a lot could change by then.