GOP in NH: Trump triumphs, Kasich surprises, Rubio stumbles

GOP in NH: Trump triumphs, Kasich surprises, Rubio stumbles

Donald J. Trump, the brash, blunt New York billionaire who campaigned on a simple boast — “I will make America great again” — won a yuge victory in the first presidential primary of 2016, sending the Republican Party into a cold sweat.

The soonest relief can arrive for the reeling GOP establishment is Feb. 20, the date of the South Carolina primary — except that Trump’s lead in the polls there is as formidable as it was here. Although he outperformed his pre-election polls, Trump’s victory was not a surprise. He has led all Republican contenders in the polls nationally since July 20 and had been ahead in New Hampshire since July 28, when he passed Jeb Bush for good.

In the week since Trump finished second to Ted Cruz in last week’s Iowa caucuses, the campaign here in the Granite State had a surreal component to it: Trump’s rivals essentially conceded that their goal was to finish in second place.

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