The march toward the presidential election now has moved through two states.

We covered the Democratic Party caucus fiasco in Iowa in this space last week and there certainly is no need to rehash that disaster again. The second contest (and first actual primary) was held in New Hampshire and certainly things ran smoother. Of course to say that being able to tell who won in a timely fashion should be the standard rather than some sort of accomplishment.

Bernie Sanders edged Pete Buttigieg on the Democratic side in New Hampshire with Amy Klobuchar earning a strong third place. It was a bad night for Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren. Biden in fact left town before the votes were counted and was already in South Carolina.

Warren finished fourth in New Hampshire but it was not even a strong fourth place. The vote totals for Warren did not allocate her any delegates and her campaign appears on life support as of this writing.

The New Hampshire primary did see the end for three more Democratic candidates, including Andrew Yang, Michael Bennet and Deval Patrick. Yang was certainly not your typical presidential candidate. His campaign was able to generate some buzz, especially among younger voters, but his poor showings in Iowa and New Hampshire caused him to see the writing on the wall.

Bennet was hoping for some type of miracle top-tier finish in New Hampshire but that clearly did not happen. There was no point in Bennet continuing with his campaign and he knew it.

Patrick, a former governor of Massachusetts, entered the race late and no political observer with any knowledge felt he would be any type of factor in the Democratic race. Patrick was not a nationally known name and he entered a race where the number of candidates set a standard which will likely never be topped.

Billionaire Tom Steyer probably has to wonder at what point he stops flushing his personal wealth down the toilet. Steyer, despite spending millions upon millions on television commercials, could not even generate 5 percent of the New Hampshire vote.

It was pointed out on the night of the New Hampshire primary that other than Michael Bloomberg no candidate has spent more money on advertising than Steyer. Of course any candidate with the personal resources that Steyer has can certainly continue in the race if he wants. He is now focusing on the upcoming South Carolina primary.

Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard has said she will continue with her campaign despite finishing in seventh place in New Hampshire. Gabbard certainly has the appeal for the small slice of independent voters out there but it doesn’t seem national Democratic Party officials want anything to do with her.

It’s odd because Gabbard is a veteran and has made it clear she will do everything in her power to work with those in different political parties. It seems that would be a candidate you would want to do well.

Probably the biggest surprise to this point in the Democratic race has been the dismal showing in the first two contests by Biden. The former vice president was at one time far out in front of all polls, but now his campaign may be in its final days. Anything short of a win in South Carolina will certainly cause the curtain to drop for him.

Biden looks old and tired in his campaign appearances, and one has to wonder if his heart is really in this. At this point in his life, one has to wonder why Biden would even want to be president. He has been through personal tragedy and his campaign is continuing to put other family members in a bad national spotlight.

The Democratic field, which was near 30 candidates at one point, has now dwindled to eight. By the time the campaign reaches Georgia, there will likely be even fewer than that.

The Bloomberg wildcard is about to shake the Democratic primary up a good bit. Bloomberg is now third nationally as he has likely already set a record on advertising even though he skipped the early contests.

With many national party officials determined not to allow Sanders to be the nominee, it will not be surprising to see Bloomberg emerge as the eventual Democratic candidate to challenge President Trump in the general election. He has the financial resources to do so. He has literally bought his way onto the stage for upcoming debates.

Speaking of President Trump, there was a New Hampshire GOP primary as well. While Trump easily won, it was worth noting that challenger Bill Weld, a two-term governor of Massachusetts, earned about 10 percent in the Republican contest.

That is a high number for a primary challenger to get against an incumbent president. There were 17 candidates on the New Hampshire GOP presidential primary ballot, which makes Weld’s 10 percent even more impressive.

Unfortunately for Weld and anyone who values choice on the ballot, Nevada or South Carolina will not have a GOP contest. Party officials there, similar to Georgia, have the elitist attitude that they know more than the voters and refused to allow them any type of choice.

Winder resident Chris Bridges is a former editor for the Barrow News-Journal. You can email comments about this column to pchrisbridges@gmail.com.

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