MANCHESTER, N.H. — Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders were projected winners of their party’s respective Republican and Democratic presidential primaries in New Hampshire on Tuesday, delivering resounding victories for campaigns that were initially dismissed as publicity-seeking or quixotic.
Cheers erupted at parties for both campaigns as the news was announced at 8 p.m., just as polls closed. At the Trump primary night party at the Executive Court Conference Center in Manchester, supporters erupted with chants of “Trump, Trump, Trump” as CNN announced its projection.
“Wow. So beautiful. So beautiful,” Trump said just after taking the stage, in which he started by paying homage to his parents and other family members, and his wife, Melania. “What she puts up with,” Trump said.
“We are going to make America great again, maybe greater than ever before,” he said, in a speech laced with superlatives about his plans for his presidency as well as his characterization of a country in decline.
“I am going to be the greatest jobs president that God ever created,” Trump said.
The crowd sang along to the Beatles “Revolution” while waving foam fingers.
At his victory party, Sanders was greeted by a roar from a crowd where supporters held signs saying, “A Future to Believe In.”
“We won because we harnessed the energy and excitement that the Democratic party will need to succeed in November,” he said.
“Because of huge voter turnout, and I say HUGE, we won,” Sanders said, using a word that he and Trump both repeat. He is the first Jewish American to win a major party primary. As he spoke, his supporters ended some of his signature lines from his stump speech.
Trump’s victory comes just over a week after he came in second in the Iowa caucuses to Ted Cruz, an also-ran showing that belied Trump’s posturing as just the kind of outsider who can win. It raised doubts over just how solid Trump’s support was despite polls showing him with wide leads.
When Trump announced his campaign in June, entering a stage after riding down an escalator at the Trump Tower in Manhattan, many in the media and the GOP establishment dismissed his prospects. His comments about Mexican immigrants triggers protests, and NBC and Univision severed business ties, but Trump rose in the polls. Through the summer and fall, he defied expectations that his controversial comments and insults to rivals would deflate his candidacy, pitting him against a crowded field of establishment rivals.
Early in the evening, news networks reported the results of exit polls that showed Republican voters with a big distrust of Washington politicians and affinity for an outsider. Network exit polls showed that half of voters “felt betrayed by politicians from the Republican party,” according to CNN, and wanted a president from outside the political establishment. Other exit polls showed heavy support among GOP voters for a temporary ban on Muslims entering the U.S., a key Trump proposal.
New Hampshire’s primary also allowed for independents to cast ballots, which may have helped Trump and Sanders. Exit polls showed that independents would make a larger share of the Democratic electorate than the Republican one.
Clinton’s supporters did not expect to win the state, based on polls that showed Sanders holding a lead since last fall in a state that is a neighbor to his home state of Vermont. But they were hoping for a closer showing. Instead, Sanders was beating her by more than 20 percentage points with more than 2/3 of the vote counted.
“People have every right to be angry, but they are also hungry, hungry for solutions,” Clinton said in her concession speech, an acknowledgement of the frustration of the electorate. She acknowledged that she “has some work to do, particularly with young people.”
Despite his age, at 74, Sanders has captivated younger voters in particular, with his populist message and unsentimental stump speech that focuses on income inequality and Wall Street corruption. Clinton beat him in the Iowa caucuses last week — but by the narrowest of margins.
The Democratic socialist was once viewed as a kind of fringe candidate, dismissed as too far to the left to be electable. But his candidacy, announced in late April in a non-flashy news conference near Capitol Hill, quickly made a mark in online fundraising. When he made his first campaign appearance in Los Angeles in August, he filled the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena, which seats just over 16,000.
Sanders has zeroed in on the corruptive influence of money in politics, accelerating after the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision in 2010, and has made some not-too-veiled digs at Clinton for accepting money from Wall Street firms. In her speech, Clinton called Citizens United among the worst of all Supreme Court decision, and noted that the case stemmed from a documentary, “Hillary, the Movie,” that was a right wing attack on her campaign.
Exit polls showed that 40% of voters wanted a candidate who would be more liberal than President Obama — nearly equal to the number who wanted a candidate who wanted the nominee to continue Obama’s policies.
The entertainment industry has showered its support on Clinton, making up her second major source of support after securities and investment sources, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. She also has drawn on longtime entertainment industry friends and supporters, like Ted Danson and Mary Steenburgen, who were in New Hampshire on Tuesday to get out the vote.
Over the past few days, Sanders’ campaign deployed a number of surrogates familiar to younger voters, including Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Fantastic Negrito, Jonathan Fishman of Phish and Kat Wright and the Indomitable Soul Band. Although Clinton has lined up a long list of endorsements, Sanders is backed by such entertainment figures as Sarah Silverman and Seth MacFarlane, each of whom has introduced him at rallies, as well as Adam McKay, whose movie “The Big Short,” reflects Sanders’ themes of an out-of-control financial sector.
“South Carolina we need you to #FeelTheBern this isn’t a fluke and the man is not in a hermetically sealed box,” Mark Ruffalo, a Sanders supporter, tweeted after the vote.
“I’m very grateful to Hillary for her focus on Flint; it’s just hard to have to see the man standing next to her who killed Flint with NAFTA,” Michael Moore, who has endorsed Sanders, tweeted. He was referring to President Bill Clinton’s support of the free-trade pact during his administration.
The Clinton-Sanders rivalry has produced friction among supporters in New Hampshire and on social media, particularly over issues of gender and women’s equality. Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, a Clinton supporter, said at a campaign rally over the weekend that “there’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other.” She’s used the line in past, non-campaign speeches.
According to CNN exit polls, Sanders handily beat Clinton among women in New Hampshire, and drew a lopsided victory over Clinton among younger voters, drawing about 85% support in the 18-29 age group.
In his victory speech, Sanders said that he expected the “kitchen sink” to be thrown at him as the campaign goes on, but he also said that Democrats will need to come together to counter the Republican nominee in the fall.
Trump’s polling lead set up a race among three governors, John Kasich, Jeb Bush and Chris Christie, to place second or third place, in hopes of being positioned as the alternative to the real estate mogul or to Cruz. Projections were that Kasich would place second, with Cruz leading for third place.
“We have tens of millions of dollars spent against us on negative advertising,” Kasich told supporters, noting that he did not attack in kind.
“Maybe we are just turning the page on the dark heart of American politics, because tonight the light overcame the darkness of negative campaigning.” His speech focused on an upbeat message of “bringing people together.”
Marco Rubio, who did better than expected in the Iowa vote, hit media speed bumps in New Hampshire after delivering what was criticized as a robotic performance in the GOP debate on Saturday. In fact, he was met at one campaign event on Monday by a man dressed as a “Rubio robot.” He was in fifth place as the evening wore on, ahead of Christie.
“It’s on me. I did not do well on Saturday night, and it will never happen again,” Rubio told his supporters.