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Winners, Losers, and Cheapskates

New Hampshire shows how the candidates watch their money - or not.

By Petrarch  |  February 10, 2016

The political spotlight that shines on tiny New Hampshire every four years has moved on, leaving dashed hopes and expectations in its wake as it always does.

One expectation that wasn't dashed was that media bias and venality would be on full display.  In Iowa, Ted Cruz won by a solid margin, but the "big news" was Marco Rubio's "unexpectedly strong" third-place showing.  Since when has the second place winner been remembered, to say nothing of third?

Then Ted Cruz earned third place in New Hampshire, which was much better than expected given that state's increasing liberalism and atheism.  In fairness, shouldn't this finally earn Cruz some attention as it did Rubio?  Of course not: this time, the "real story" was Ohio Gov. John Kasich's second-place win.

This bias is even more bogus than it seems, considering that as Gov. Kasich himself said, "I ought to be running in a Democrat primary."  Sure, he put in a respectable showing in almost-blue New Hampshire, but he pulled in a derisory 1.9% in Iowa and can reasonably figure to do just as badly throughout the religious, conservative South.  So why is this one-off fluke breaking news?

It's not as if there isn't any real, relevant news - in fact, there is plenty of it.  Considering that our national debt, as Donald Trump pointed out, is on track to reach an unimaginable $20 trillion, isn't it important for America to know which candidates are skilled at obtaining value for money?

This damning graph should be front-page news, even though, alas, it was left to the the odious Puffington Host to provide it.  It shows how much each Republican candidate spent in New Hampshire, divided by the number of votes received.

And guess what?  Those candidates who are most "establishment" got overwhelmingly the least return on their investment.  Jeb! Bush spent $1,150 per each vote - which is actually an improvement on the $2,800 per vote that his Iowa loss cost him.

As we work our way down the chart, we see the candidates listed in pretty much the order you'd expect.  New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie spent a bit over $800 per vote, looking good only in comparison to Gov. Bush.  Marco Rubio was just about the median, at $500.

Who's the frugality winner?  None other than arch-conservative Ted Cruz.  For Sen. Cruz, one vote cost a mere $18.  Donald Trump, whose anti-spending credentials have been questioned, spent only $40 per.

Set side-by-side, the difference is astounding.  Gov. Bush spent almost sixty-five times more per vote than Sen. Cruz, and did worse!  Does this, perhaps, provide an explanation for $300 toilet seats and $50 hammers?  If a Bush isn't disciplined with the money that he had to raise by promising we know not what, the money that is the mother's milk of his campaign, how could we possibly expect him to watch out for spending pennies extracted from your hide by the almighty power of the IRS, which costs him no effort at all?

You might assume that being rich makes someone less inclined to count the change.  Let's face it: that's often true.  Our TV screens are full of rich people who spend money as though it's going out of style.

Mostly, though, these are people who have always had money that was earned by their parents, or whose money arrived in a lightning strike like pop-stardom.  Even better, they aren't spending our money.

In contrast, people who have earned their wealth through years of hard work tend to be a lot less eager to part with it frivolously.  For all Rubio's stories of his poor, hardworking father, he doesn't seem to have learned as much frugality from the experience as might be wished.  Donald Trump, for whose father a loan of $1,000,000 was "small," nevertheless didn't spend like someone to the manor born.  Maybe running a sometimes-successful property business really is good experience for budget-watching?

Assuming that The Donald ultimately secures the nomination, as seems increasingly likely, he will need a vice president.  It's cheering to see our two favorite potential VPs, Dr. Carson and Sen. Cruz, neatly bracketing Mr. Trump in the spending-wisdom stakes.

Let's hope they can paper over their differences when the time comes - oh, wait!  There's some more news that's worthy of the front page!

...We have to thank the candidates because they really ran. We have some very talented people. And to be victorious against some of these people, even if it's for one week... but they really are, they're terrific. A number of them called and I just wanted to thank them. But I wanted to congratulate the other candidates.

 - Donald Trump, New Hampshire primary victory speech

Can it be that the brash, bullying Donald Trump is... making nice to people he'll be needing shortly?  Or maybe he's been like that all along and we just haven't noticed - after all, one can't build skyscrapers in the most sclerotically overregulated city in the world without knowing how to win friends and influence people.

Not a bad skill for a President to have.  We stand by our endorsement of Mr. Trump - while, as he himself does, wishing well to several of his worthy competitors.