By Dave Ficere
The autumn chill in the air in some parts of the country brings thoughts of apple cider, a roaring fireplace and fall colors. In college sports, it also means the advent of the phenomenon known as Midnight Madness – when some college basketball teams hold their first “official” practice of the new season and welcome fans to observe. Some programs, such as North Carolina, Kentucky and Arizona draw upwards of 10,000 fans to watch the madness.
Just as autumn gives way to winter, every four years a different kind of Midnight Madness occurs in the small town of Dixville Notch, New Hampshire. There, the handful of residents in the community just 20 miles from the Canadian border gather every four years to vote in the New Hampshire primary, the first such election in the U.S. presidential nomination process. In a tradition that started in the 1960 election, all the eligible voters in Dixville Notch gather at midnight in the ballroom of The Balsams Grand Resort Hotel. The polls are officially closed when one-hundred percent of the registered voters have cast their ballots – usually about one minute later. The results of the Dixville Notch vote in the New Hampshire primary are heralded around the country via the media, and the primary season is officially underway.
This year, the Dixville Notch winners were Republican John Kasich and Democrat Bernie Sanders. Kasich topped Donald Trump 3-2, while Sanders blanked Hillary Clinton 4-0.
While Dixville Notch may be the trendsetter in voting, the 2016 New Hampshire primary yielded few surprises from the predicted results, although it’s estimated that about 40 percent of Granite State voters waited until the last minute to make up their minds. Statewide, on the Democratic side, Sanders trounced Clinton 60 to 38 percent, while Donald Trump won the GOP race with 35 percent of the vote. Ohio Governor Kasich finished a strong second winning 16 percent of the vote, with Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio rounding out the top five.
For Clinton – who just two years ago led Sanders by 55-60 points in the polls – it’s time to retool her campaign, which even supporters admit needs reworking. In her concession speech given about 30 minutes after the polls closed in New Hampshire, Clinton began previewing that new message – framing her remarks around a call for human rights and an end to discrimination. “Where people are held back by injustice anywhere in America, that demands action,” she said. “We also have to break through the barriers of bigotry.” She added that “immigrant families shouldn’t have to lie awake at night listening for a knock at the door.”
Two immediate casualties of New Hampshire: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, who both dropped out of the Republican presidential race following disappointing finishes in the primary. “It’s both the magic and the mystery of politics that you never quite know which is going to happen, even when you think you do,” Christie told theNew York Times.
Back to the winners. At his Tuesday victory party, Sanders pointed to the large voter turnout as evidence that only he can energize the Democratic electorate to beat the Republicans in November. “Together we have sent a message that will echo from Wall Street to Washington, from Maine to California,” Sanders said. “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.’”
Trump, in his post-primary remarks, promised to be “the greatest jobs president that God ever created,” calling his Republican competition “smart, intelligent, [and] very accomplished people,” during a Wednesday morning interview on MSNBC.
So after blowing away the competition in New Hampshire, Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders and the rest of the presidential candidates are looking ahead to South Carolina, which holds its primaries later this month and even further ahead to the “Super Tuesday” primaries in multiple states on March 1.
With two candidates dropping out of the race as of Wednesday, there are now nine candidates for president, two Democrats, and seven Republicans. As one concerned about the future of America, please continue praying for God’s hand upon the nation as voters choose America’s Forty-fifth president.
Published February 12, 2016 by The Presidential Prayer Team. Reprinted here with permission.