How anti-Trump Republicans are blowing their chance in New Hampshire

“You are the most important people in America right now,” Christie told a crowd at a campaign stop Saturday in Exeter, where numerous attendees cited national security as a top concern. “This country is in danger and we need a president who’ll protect the American people,” Christie said, channeling their concerns. He also needled Trump, though not by name, saying, “We’re not picking an entertainer-in-chief. We’re not casting a TV show. This is real.”…

Trump’s dominance has political watchers wondering if an establishment candidate can gain sufficient traction even by winning New Hampshire. None are particularly well-organized or have shown strong appeal outside there.

“[Christie] could win New Hampshire, but then what? Compared with McCain 2008, he has a weaker long game and a stronger field of opponents,” said Jack Pitney, a political science professor at Claremont McKenna College.

The establishment’s nightmare scenario is that the center-right vote splits and gifts Trump the Granite State, leaving them with no traction and no alternative as the nomination contest moves to South Carolina, Nevada and a swath of southern states.