Donald Trump turnout in New Hampshire sets monstrous new record
With all the focus on the Democratic primary in New Hampshire yesterday, it was easy to forget the Republicans held one too.
Granted, it wasn’t particularly newsworthy. While Democratic voters are choosing between half a dozen serious candidates for their party’s presidential nomination, incumbent President Donald Trump is only facing a single challenger, and a token one at that.
That was reflected in the results. Mr Trump’s little-known opponent Bill Weld got just 9 per cent of the vote, and another 6 per cent of voters wrote in someone else’s name.
The President, meanwhile, dominated with 84 per cent. The entire primary was a mere formality for him.
RELATED: All the results from the New Hampshire primary
But buried in the data was a number the Democrats should take serious notice of. Mr Trump himself already has.
The Fake News Media is looking hard for the Big Democrat Story, but there is nothing too fabulous. Wouldn’t a big story be that I got more New Hampshire Primary Votes than any incumbent president, in either party, in the history of that Great State? Not an insignificant fact!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 12, 2020
With a final total of 130,805 votes in New Hampshire, Mr Trump blew away the record for an incumbent president in the state.
When Barack Obama ran for re-election in 2012, he got 49,080 votes in the Democratic primary, where he was unopposed. George W. Bush got 53,962 in 2004. Bill Clinton had the previous record of 76,797 in 1996.
None of those numbers come close to what Mr Trump racked up yesterday. Well over 100,000 people turned out to vote, braving long lines and cold conditions, even though the result was a foregone conclusion.
It’s a sign that Mr Trump’s supporters are energised and enthusiastic about voting in the general election in November.
Voting is not compulsory in the United States like it is in Australia, and elections are held on Tuesdays, making it hard for many Americans to find the time to cast a ballot.
So while it’s certainly important for presidential candidates to win over independent voters, it is equally crucial for each party to motivate its hardcore supporters to actually show up at the polls on election day.
High Democratic turnout was a key factor in the 2018 midterm elections, which were a disaster for the President. The Democrats flipped dozens of seats to claim control of the House of Representatives, and won the popular vote by almost 9 per cent.
RELATED: Democrats claim control of Congress in midterms blowout
RELATED: Trump facing daunting challenge after the midterms
If the New Hampshire primary is any indication, this time the Republicans are just as fired up.
To be fair, turnout was also decent for the Democrats yesterday, with a total of 300,954 votes cast. That’s about the same as in 2008, when there was a tight primary contest between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.
While it’s almost double the Republican total of 155,029 votes, you have to remember the Democrats had a live contest.
Bernie Sanders earned the most votes with 77,122. His nearest rival, Pete Buttigieg, got 72,729. Neither came close to Mr Trump’s 130,805.
In his victory speech, Mr Sanders argued he was the Democrat who could inspire the highest level of enthusiasm in the party’s voters – particularly among young people – and therefore drive high turnout in the general election.
“We have an unprecedented grassroots movement from coast to coast of millions of people,” he said.
“We are putting together an unprecedented, multi-generational, multiracial political movement.
“This is a movement that is demanding that we finally have an economy and a government that works for all of us, not wealthy campaign contributors.”
Mr Buttigieg took a different approach, framing himself as the candidate who could convince independents and even some Republicans to vote for a Democrat.
“So many of you turned out. Die-hard Democrats. Independents unwilling to stay on the sidelines. And even some newly former Republicans ready to vote for something new. Ready to vote for a politics defined by how many we pull in, instead of how many we push out,” he said.
“We will welcome new allies to our movement at every step.”
While the Democrats argue about their election strategy, Mr Trump has already settled on his. It’s all about turnout, and it appears to be working.
Originally published as Trump sets astonishing new record