Sunday 8 December 2019

Trump, Sanders turn race on its head

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks as his wife Melania looks on at his election night watch party in Manchester, New Hampshire. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks as his wife Melania looks on at his election night watch party in Manchester, New Hampshire. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty
Maverick: Bernie Sanders

David Lawler

Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, two maverick candidates from opposite ends of the spectrum, turned the political world on its head by winning key votes in the US presidential race.

Both men rode a wave of anger against traditional politicians and the Washington establishment to record decisive victories in New Hampshire.

It was the second US state to vote, after Iowa, and made clear the level of enthusiasm for figures who want to bring radical change to America.

Mr Trump, the billionaire who aims to ban foreign Muslims from the country and build a "great wall" on the Mexican border, scored double the support of his nearest Republican rival.


In the Democratic race, Mr Sanders, a self-described socialist, won an equally clear victory by 20 percentage points over his rival Hillary Clinton.

There was a record turnout of an estimated 550,000 voters in a state with a population of just 1.3 million.

An exit poll of Republicans showed 90pc of them were "dissatisfied" with the government, and 40pc said they were "angry" with politicians.

Half said they were unhappy with the Republican Party and a similar proportion wanted a candidate from "outside the establishment".

At Mr Trump's raucous victory rally, the crowd chanted "USA, USA" and "We love you Donald", and waved fake foam hands bearing the legend: "You're hired."

After taking the stage, Mr Trump promised to be "the greatest jobs president God ever made."

He said: "Politicians are making deals for their benefit. Now we are going to make the deals for the American people.

"We are going to start winning again. We don't win on trade, we can't beat Isil. We are going to win so much. We are going to make America greater than ever before."

The property mogul congratulated other candidates but said he would soon return to attacking them, adding: "Tomorrow, boom, boom."

Mr Trump claimed Mr Sanders "wants to give away our country".

At an equally noisy victory rally, Mr Sanders said his win represented the start of a "political revolution" and showed he could reach the White House.

He told supporters: "Together, we have sent a message that will echo from Wall Street to Washington, from Maine to California.

"The government of our great country belongs to all of the people and not just a handful of the wealthy."

In a concession speech, Mrs Clinton said: "I know I have some work to do, particularly with young people. People have every right to be angry. But they're also hungry, they're hungry for solutions."

In the Republican vote, John Kasich, the Ohio Governor, was in second place with most of the votes counted.

That made him a possible option, as establishment figures within the Republican Party seek to coalesce around a traditional candidate capable of taking on Mr Trump for the nomination.

Mr Kasich will compete for that position with Marco Rubio, the Florida senator, and Jeb Bush, former Florida governor.

Chris Christie, who successfully attacked Mr Rubio in Saturday's debate, had a poor night and said he was returning to his New Jersey home to consider his next step.

In the past 60 years, most candidates who reached the White House did so after success in party nomination votes in New Hampshire.


However, the last three presidents - Barack Obama, George W Bush and Bill Clinton - were all elected despite losing in the state.

Mr Trump's victory reinforced his position as the national front-runner for the Republican nomination after he finished a disappointing second in Iowa last week.

Mrs Clinton remains the Democratic front-runner in national polls.

But while she remains the favourite in the national race for the Democratic nomination, the win by Mr Sanders could be a springboard into a competitive, drawn-out primary campaign.

For Mr Trump, who has never held public office, the win was an important rebound after his loss to Ted Cruz in last week's Iowa caucuses. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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