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The Lid: What Did Not Change After the N.H. Primaries

Welcome to The Lid, your afternoon dose of the 2016 ethos… Hillary Clinton's perceived vulnerabilities after last night's results may have enticed at least one candidate to make a late entrance into the race. That's right, Jim Webb could announce he is re-entering the race as an independent tomorrow.

'16 from 30,000

As the haze of the New Hampshire primary hangover clears, this particular moment in the political narrative feels a little like this: Everything has changed, but nothing has changed.

Here are the big things that are different since the end of January: The fields are smaller after the exits of Republicans Rick Santorum, Mike Huckabee, Rand Paul, Carly Fiorina, and now Chris Christie, as well as the departure of Martin O'Malley from the Democratic race. Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump have had decisive victories that proved wrong once and for all the skeptics who called their backing more faddish than real.

And/but: Here's what hasn't changed. There's still that oft-cited pileup in the establishment lane, with Rubio, Bush and now Kasich incentivized to stay in the race and battle it out for dominance. Trump remains the GOP frontrunner, because -- while a loss in New Hampshire could have dealt the body blow the establishment was looking for -- his win buoyed him right back into a position of strength. And on the Democratic side, we're still looking at a long and drawn-out contest, with (right now) a bit of a built-in advantage for Clinton when it comes to party support through superdelegates.

All of those narratives will be further clarified by the coming contests, but as of right now, a LOT has happened, but the future is still nearly as muddy as it was before the doors opened at the Iowa caucuses.

POPPING ON NBC POLITICS

FOR THE RECORD…

"Come on, brother. You know I don't change what I say."

  • Jeb Bush responding to a reporter's question about whether he would change his message in South Carolina.