US primaries: Sanders wins in New Hampshire

The left-wing senator Bernie Sanders has won the second Democratic primary contest in the US. With 26 percent of the vote he secured a narrow victory over pragmatic and moderate candidate Pete Buttigieg, who won the Iowa primary by a razor-thin margin. Europe's commmentators examine Sanders' chances and look back at the US presidential election four years ago.

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Financial Times (GB) /

Socialist on a winning streak

Sanders could become the favorite in the Democratic primaries, Financial Times comments:

“Mr Sanders's voters believe he could win a general election - 'Bernie beats Trump' is a ubiquitous slogan. Most of the rest of the party clearly thinks otherwise. They continue to search restlessly for the person who can beat both Mr Sanders and Mr Trump. That may be a tall order. Mr Sanders, after all, got the most votes in both Iowa and New Hampshire. Moreover, he has a fighting chance of pulling off wins in Nevada and South Carolina later this month. Unless the rest of the party can unite around an alternative, the socialist from Vermont must be counted as the narrow favourite.” (BG) /

Ideological profile too narrow

With Bernie as their candidate the Democrats would stand little chance of beating Trump, counters, pointing to what happened in the UK:

“A similar scenario has already taken place in the UK, where the Conservatives won one of their most impressive electoral victories in decades. There were many reasons for this, but one of the most important was the far too narrow ideological profile of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. It remains to be seen whether the left in the US has learned a lesson from the defeat of their British colleagues. ... An American Jeremy Corbyn would be relatively easy prey for the Republicans in November. ”

Lidové noviny (CZ) /

Candidate just needs to be the anti-Trump

The Democrats' primaries have got off to a completely different start than the party's establishment expected, Lidové noviny observes:

“They expected former vice president Joe Biden to take the lead among the potential challengers to Trump. But he's losing big time and it looks like he can already bury his dream. ... The candidate who gives the impression that they can beat Trump has the best chances among the Democrats. Everything else is secondary. Being able to be the anti-Trump is the most important qualification for these elections, and it doesn't matter if the candidate doesn't present a positive programme. It's enough for them to behave completely differently than Trump would behave in every situation. Will Bernie Sanders be the first to succeed with such an anti-Trump campaign?” (RU) /

Another saviour

In a Facebook post taken over by, Konstantin Sonin, a professor of economics who teaches in Russia and the US, compares the Sanders phenomenon with the Trump phenomenon:

“Sanders looks like the most promising candidate precisely because he resembles Trump four years ago. Naturally he outdoes Trump when it comes to manners: Sanders is a professional politician after all - and he has a better understanding of the facts. But as far as his 'revolutionary profile' is concerned he is as distant from the Democratic establishment as Trump was from the Republican one. Sanders' main strength - and this is another similarity with Trump - is that he has a 'hard core' of supporters for whom he is an oracle and a shining light. ... Because of this core the other candidates shy away from attacking him: because they will need this constituency for themselves if they win.”