Well, as expected, Hillary Clinton has secured enough delegates to clinch the Democratic nomination. An unofficial tally by The Associated Press shows that the former Secretary of State will make history by becoming the first woman nominated by a major party for president. Politico added that prior to AP’s updated tally, Clinton was virtually reached the magic number of 2,383 delegates; she was only 23 shy of the mark. Clinton winning the nomination was all but assured after tomorrow night’s primaries.
California and New Jersey, the two biggest primaries, have 688 delegates up for grabs. And with Democratic delegates allocated proportionately, Clinton would have easily crossed the threshold to become the nominee, even if Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders could have managed an upset in he Golden State.
Yet, throughout the primary, Sanders, a self-described Democratic socialist, was a constant thorn in Clinton’s side. Bolstered by a loyal army of small donors, Sanders was able to raise over $200 million, win over 20 primary contests, and amass a delegate count that probably no one thought would be possible. Yet, Donald Trump steamrolled his opposition, so this elections year is one marked by volatility. Sanders almost beat Hillary in the first bout during the Iowa Caucuses. Sanders regrouped won in a landslide in New Hampshire (as expected), only to be demolished by Clinton’s firewall in the South. He was able to win various contests as the primary moved north of the Mason-Dixon line, but the margins of victory he would need to overtake the former first lady were daunting. The I-95 Corridor primary proved to be another fatal blow to Sanders, who by this point faced a delegate lead by Clinton that was insurmountable.
Still, Sanders plans to fight on all the way to the convention in Philadelphia this upcoming July, where he hopes his loyal following and grassroots energy could persuade some superdelegates, who Clinton owes many favors, to change their minds. The Associated Press reported that every superdelegate backing Clinton tends to vote for her. Yet, the publication added that in some ways, Sanders has already won by crating what could be one of the most left wing platforms in recent memory:
Clinton has 1,812 pledged delegates won in primaries and caucuses. She also has the support of 571 superdelegates, according to an Associated Press count.
The AP surveyed all 714 superdelegates repeatedly in the past seven months, and only 95 remain publicly uncommitted.
While superdelegates will not formally cast their votes for Clinton until the party's July convention in Philadelphia, all those counted in her tally have unequivocally told the AP they will do so.
"We really need to bring a close to this primary process and get on to defeating Donald Trump," said Nancy Worley, a superdelegate who chairs Alabama's Democratic Party and provided one of the last endorsements to put Clinton over the top.
Clinton outpaced Sanders in winning new superdelegate endorsements even after his string of primary and caucus wins in May. Following the results in Puerto Rico, it is no longer possible for Sanders to reach the 2,383 needed to win the nomination based on the remaining available pledged delegates and uncommitted superdelegates.
Sanders said this past weekend he plans to fight on until the convention, promising to make the case to superdelegates that he is better positioned to beat Trump in November. Superdelegates can change their minds. But since the start of the AP's survey in late 2015, no superdelegates have switched from supporting Clinton to backing Sanders.
Indeed, Clinton's victory is broadly decisive. She leads Sanders by more than 3 million cast votes, by 291 pledged delegates and by 523 superdelegates. She won 29 caucuses and primaries to his 21 victories.
That's a far bigger margin than Obama had in 2008, when he led Clinton by 131 pledged delegates and 105 superdelegates at the point he clinched the nomination.
Even without the nomination, Sanders can claim ideological victory. His liberal positions pushed the issue of income inequality into the spotlight and drove Clinton to the left on issues such as trade, Wall Street and campaign finance reform.
But she prevailed, in part, by claiming much of the coalition that boosted Obama. She won overwhelming support from women and minorities, catapulting her to decisive victories in diverse, delegate-rich states such as New York and Texas.
Given how tensions have been rising within the Sanders and Clinton camps, which came to a head at the Nevada Democratic Convention in Las Vegas—the Democratic National Committee has given Sanders one-third of the platform committee seats, possibly to prevent chaos on the convention floor from the Bernie-ites. As for Clinton keeping the Obama coalition together, that's a bit of a stretch. Yes, she's doing well with black voters, garnering around 70 percent of their vote in the primary, but it needs to be higher. And former Obama official Van Jones noted that it needs to be higher for her to win. Young voters have flocked to Bernie, many of whom feel that Clinton is dishonest and untrustworthy. She has a lot of work ahead of her concerning uniting the party and trying to stoke the level of enthusiasm Sanders produced on the campaign trail. Yet, in many ways, Sanders’ run accomplished what many on the far left of the Democratic Party wanted to happen—yank Hillary away from the center. There are reports that the Sanders campaign will reevaluate their situation after tomorrow’s primaries.
It’s Hillary vs. Trump for 2016.
AP count: Clinton has commitments from delegates needed to become presumptive Dem nominee; will be first woman to top major party ticket.— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) June 7, 2016