The first few thousand votes are in, and, as expected, they show a tight race for second on the Republican side, with Kasich, Cruz, Rubio, and Bush tightly clustered around the magic threshold of 10 percent—the minimum to walk away with any delegates tonight.
But it’s worth pausing for a moment to appreciate the frontrunners. The polls have shown Trump and Sanders leading so consistently, that it’s easy to look past the improbability of that outcome. But as the actual votes are tallied, the first returns show a billionaire real-estate developer who’s never held elective office, and who’s broken most of the rules in the standard political playbook, headed toward the sort of landslide win that most career politicians never achieve. And then there’s the Brooklyn-born democratic socialist, an independent senator from Vermont, poised to win the Democratic primary in an equally decisive fashion.
Not all the polls in New Hampshire have even closed yet; we’ll have to tally many more votes before either of these things passes from speculation to reality. Either of these outcomes, though, seemed beyond the realm of political possibility when these two outsiders entered the race. That tonight, both could simultaneously come true is simply astonishing.