Democratic and Republican parties’ establishment choked on a large grain of sand in their spiritual spinach tonight at 8 PM ET when TV news operations called the New Hampshire primaries for self-funding reality TV star Donald Trump and Super PAC-shunning Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders immediately after polls closed in the state. TV news talking heads, on the other hand, seemed giddy over the yeasty way the 2016 White House race was shaping up.
“Two years ago if I told you an independent Democratic Socialist and a developer from New York would win –” CNN’s Jake Tapper began emoting a blink after the network’s countdown clock showed polls had officially closed across the state.
“And so easily! I would have said you were crazy,” interrupted Dana Bash, finishing his sentence. Similar exchanges erupted across the TV news landscape.
“This is a Republican elector,” observed veteran newsman Bob Schieffer, who CBS News President David Rhodes brought back from retirement as an occasional contributor throughout the political election cycle.
“They’re angry, they’re mad, and they’re frustrated,” Schieffer told viewers of CBSN’s livestream. “The big question tonight is who wins second or third or fourth place,” he said of the of the tight four-way race for runner-up among GOP hopefuls John Kasich, Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio. “This is the last stop on the campaign trail that’s about the voters. Now these campaigns are going to move to television,” Schieffer said, like a messenger bringing his industry good news from a distant land.
Heck, MSNBC’s Chris Hayes, talking about all the talk of the 74-year old Socialist missing the point that the senator has run by far the best campaign, got so giddy he accidentally called him “Bernie Sandwiches”:
“Together we have sent a message that will echo from Wall Street to Washington, from Maine to California,” Sanders told his followers as he kicked off his victory speech. “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. … Tonight with what appears to be a record breaking voter turnout, we won. … Tonight we serve notice to the political and economic establishment of this country that the American people will not continue to accept a corrupt campaign finance system that is undermining American democracy. And we will not accept a rigged economy in which ordinary Americans work longer hours for lower wages while almost all incoming wealth goes to the top 1%.”
Moments later, Trump took his victory lap.
“Oh wow! So beautiful!” he began. “We are going to make America great again.”
He added: “I heard end of Bernie’s speech. First of all, in fairness, we have to congratulate him. We may not like it – he wants to give away our country folks! We’re not going to let it happen. We’re going to make America great again, but we’re going to do it the old-fashioned way. We’re going to beat China and Mexico and Japan and all those countries that are taking away so much of our money. … We have political hacks negotiating our deals, for billions and billions. It’s not going to happen any more. We’re going to do something so big and so fast and so strong the world is going to respect us again. Believe me.”