The big news of the New Hampshire primary, of course, was that Donald J. Trump won with a dominant 35 percent of the vote. A related subplot is the fact that Ted Cruz, the victor in the Iowa caucuses, won a respectable third place, despite investing little in a state that is less friendly to his brand of hardline politics. If this were a race based solely on results, the discussion would probably center on the two-man race developing between Trump and Cruz—they are number one and two, respectively, in the polls for the next primary in South Carolina.
But the race has been defined as a contest between ascendant outsiders and a high caste in disarray, which means that it is worth contemplating the significance of Jeb Bush’s fourth-place finish ahead of Marco Rubio. By any objective standard, Bush performed poorly, given the amount of money he has spent:
But with Chris Christie leaning toward the exit, with Rubio struggling to prove his mettle, and with New Hampshire runner-up John Kasich heading into more conservative states that may find his Prince of Light vibe a tad sanctimonious, Bush is arguably the most viable establishment candidate in the race right now. And that’s scary, if you’re the establishment.