Fun times, this presidential nominating process. We ran this candidate-matching puzzle on the front page of the New Hampshire Union Leader back in July 2015, when the Republican field was overflowing with 15 major candidates.
But things were going to change.
The candidate who would finish second in New Hampshire, Gov. John Kasich of Ohio, wasn’t even in the picture yet, and eight of the 15 — Graham, Huckabee, Jindal, Pataki, Paul, Perry, Santorum and Walker — would drop out before (some long before) the first votes were cast in Dixville Notch at midnight on Feb. 9. Two more, Christie and Fiorina, dropped out the day after Granite Staters voted. And Bush hung it up two weeks later in South Carolina.
Part of that winnowing was the result of national polls that meant virtually nothing in reality, since few of the candidates were pitching their messages to national audiences, but which the networks were using to exclude candidates from the endless string of debates that seemed to have supplanted reality shows and infomercials as the airtime-filling content of choice.
But part of it, indeed, was the result of the response the candidates got from real, live voters in the two earliest states. Which just emphasizes the privilege we have in New Hampshire to see and hear these people who would lead our country and to be the first in the nation to let them know what we think.