MANCHESTER, N.H. — Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Bernie Sanders swept to victory in Tuesday’s New Hampshire primaries, adding crucial credibility to their upstart candidacies and underscoring voters’ insistence on shaking up American politics.
Trump and Sanders entered Tuesday’s contest as favorites in New Hampshire, but needed to deliver on expectations after second-place finishes in Iowa‘s leadoff caucuses. Trump appealed to voters seeking a political outsider, while Sanders was buoyed by those seeking a candidate who they felt cared about people like them.
“Together we have sent the message that will echo from Wall Street to Washington, from Maine to California,” Sanders said at a raucous victory party. “And that is that the government of our great country belongs to all of the people and not just a handful of wealthy campaign contributors and their super PACs.”
Hillary Clinton echoed Sanders’ calls for taking on Wall Street banks and tackling income inequality, but cast herself as more prepared to make good on her policy pledges. “People have every right to be angry. But they’re also hungry, they’re hungry for solutions,” she said after congratulating Sanders on his win.
For some Republican leaders, Trump’s victory in New Hampshire after Ted Cruz’s win in Iowa added urgency to efforts to coalesce around a more mainstream candidate to challenge them. However, that slice of the field looked likely to emerge from New Hampshire even more muddled, with Ohio Gov. John Kasich vying with Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, as well as Cruz, for second place.
Sanders pulled from a broad coalition of New Hampshire voters, gathering a majority of votes from men, independents and voters under 45, as well as a slim majority of women. Hillary Clinton won the majority of those over 65 and those with incomes over $200,000 a year, according to early exit polls conducted by Edison Research for The Associated Press and the television networks.
Clinton’s campaign argues she will perform better as the race heads to more racially diverse states, including Nevada and South Carolina. Both New Hampshire and Iowa are overwhelmingly white states that are far less diverse than the nation as a whole.
“A Democrat who is unable to inspire strong levels of support in minority communities will have no credible path to winning the presidency in the general election,” Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook said in a memo released as the polls closed.
The distinctions in what motived Sanders and Clinton voters were sharp. The Vermont senator was backed by 9 in 10 voters for whom honesty was important and 8 in 10 who wanted a candidate who “cares about people like me.” Clinton, meanwhile, won support from nearly 90 percent of those who considered the “right” experience important in their decision and about 80 percent of those regarding electability as the most important factor.
Both Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist, and Trump, a real estate mogul who has never held political office, have tapped into the public’s frustration with the current political system. Even if neither candidate ultimately becomes his party’s nominee, whoever does will have to reckon with those factions of voters.