New Hampshire EXTRA: Why
The Donald and The Bern? In the Rest, No Trust


Leonard Zwelling

         How does a thinking follower of American politics reconcile
the fact that Donald Trump, a man who has never held office and is famous for
being a reality star and a rich person, and Bernie Sanders, a lifelong
politician and an avowed democratic socialist, each won their New Hampshire
primaries on February 9 and did so with ease. No one would have imagined this
outcome 6 months ago when Hillary and Jeb were “inevitable.” To be blunt: THIS

         Let’s start with the underlying message of this contest. In
a state that has skepticism in its middle name and has as much “show-me” as
Missouri in its character, these two guys struck the majority (Sanders) and
plurality (Trump) of their respective party’s faithful as genuine and not lying
politicians. The Bern is as dry in his humor as he is in his pronouncements
against Wall Street. The Donald is as subtle as a bag of cement and equally as
lethal as one dropped from the top of one of his buildings.

         Both of them, while miles apart in some policies (but not
international trade), struck the voters as genuine after we have all tolerated a
President whose integrity is not suspect, but whose drivers, emotions and
sincerity remain elusive. And (this is key), the other candidates seemed to be
phonies. Whether Robo-Mario, Bully Christie, Crazy Teddy, Addled Ben, Vicious
Carly, Sleepy Momma’s Boy Jeb or worst of all the Email Queen, the others seem
not to have earned the right to ask for the votes of New Hampshire citizens let
alone get those votes.

exception may be John Kasich who did surprisingly well in finishing second in
the GOP race and has thus emerged from the second tier with a chance to battle
The Donald. Perhaps. He still has to show strength in the South, a difficult
task for a man from Ohio with normal hair. But his 16% is an all-time low for a
second place finisher in a greater than two-person NH field, so the current
Governor of Ohio shouldn’t get too cocky.

         As Steve Schmidt commented on MSNBC, the country is in a
state of not trusting any institution besides the military and is going to turn
to those who seem most outside the sphere of the institutionally untrusted. (If
Eisenhower were running this year, he’d be a shoo-in all over again. Too bad
about Petreus’ dalliances. Bob Gates should have run.)

may well become the soon-to-be untrustworthy, but for now, The Donald and The
Bern represent hope for their followers where their opponents seem frail, pale (not Carson, but he’s likely gone),
stale and male (except for Carly, also likely gone, and Hillary, of course). So what we have is a businessman
from Queens (he started there, not Manhattan, so he was an outsider in the Big
Apple, too) and a democratic socialist from Brooklyn now from Vermont who
worked on a Kibbutz and is the first Jewish candidate to get any delegates in a Presidential
primary (talk about an outsider even one from the Senate). Neither of the
winners are from the prime borough of New York City and neither is looking like
or sounding like anyone who has ever been President before. What the heck is
going on?

Schmidt has it right. There is no trust in the country so those most aligned
with the establishment (I have no idea what this is, but it seems to be like
pornography, you know it when you see it), will be left by the roadside as the
Hair and the Old Guy move on. (Hey, he doesn’t seem so old to me!)

forward to the general election is impossible at this point. All conventional
wisdom is out the door. Instead, much like the Super Bowl, the Presidential election
has become a full contact, spectator sport with many of the participants hoping
we have amnesia from concussions rather than they. The ending is very much in

will not predict what is next because it is impossible. The best I can urge of my
Texas readers is to become very knowledgeable about your primary choices on
March 1 because it is really going to matter on BOTH sides of the aisle. And

Bernie can beat Hillary here, it’s a big deal and if Cruz does not win his home
state, he’s toast.

is looking like a true watershed year in American history. It’s not as
entertaining as when The Beatles came to America. But, it’s close!

Leonard Zwelling