This week New Hampshire becomes the gateway to a new political world--engaging multiple constituencies, playing out over a vast terrain, shifting the psychology of competition.
But as the 2008 campaign moves toward contests in Michigan, Nevada, South Carolina, Florida, then half the country on Feb. 5, the simplicity and careful planning of Iowa and New Hampshire phase give way to a complex, high-velocity game of survivor. That transformation begins in Tuesday’s early evening hours, when candidates and their advisers sift exit polls and confront their altered prospects.
Here are three ways the race will change:
--New constituencies. After courting remorselessly white electorates in Iowa and New Hampshire, Democratic candidates will compete for Latinos in Nevada and African-Americans in South Carolina and throughout the South. The Republican primary electorate grows more variegated as well, from the urban ethnics around Detroit to the Arab-Americans in Dearborn to the Cuban immigrants of Miami.
--Dramatically larger battlefield. Not even the best funded campaign has the time or money to visit or advertise in the scores of media markets involved in the contest through February 5; there are 35 just in California, Michigan and Florida. Candidates flourish that pick-and-choose environment by targeting friendly regions within states.
--Different psychology. Candidates struggle to hang on while they contemplate the end of their careers, staffers fear losing their jobs, and donor worry about throwing good money after bad. Rudy Giuliani’s campaign in particular must persuade itself that its late-starting Feb. 5 strategy can withstand the momentum reaped by winners in Iowa, New Hampshire, Michigan and South Carolina. Hillary Clinton's goal is tipping the psychology of the electorate itself -from an exuberant call for change to sober scrutiny of a potential president.