AP The First To Report That Clinton Is The Presumptive Nominee
Last night on the eve of the final Super Tuesday of the 2016 Democratic presidential primary season both Hillary Clinton and her rival Bernie Sanders were in California fighting for votes. Then came the bombshell announcement the Associated Press had polled all of the Democratic super-delegates and made the projection that Hillary Clinton would be the first ever woman presidential candidate from a major party after getting 2,384 delegates – more than the 2,383 needed for the nomination.
With California, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota and South Dakota all set to vote in primaries today and despite the AP, CBS, CNN, FOX, NBC, and a number of news outlets both Clinton and Sanders continue to campaign.
Clinton will be in Brooklyn tonight for what she hopes will be a chance to be able to finally call herself the Democratic nominee. Ironically, she’s set to clinch the nomination tonight, eight years to the day after her memorable 2008 concession speech, pledging her support for then Sen. Barack Obama.
When the AP news came down last night as you might expect the Sanders camp accused the media of rushing to judgement. But looking inside the numbers the Vermont senator has a very poor case that he should be the nominee.
Clinton can still win an elected delegate majority by getting just 215 of the remaining 714 pledged delegates available today and in the District of Columbia’s primary next week. Because Democratic delegate allocations are highly proportional to the vote share in each state, that means she’d need only about 30 percent of the vote.
Thus, even if Sanders won every remaining contest 70-30 — by 40 percentage points — he’d still only roughly tie Clinton in pledged delegates and even then would very probably still trail her in the popular vote.
Another reason Clinton will be the Democratic nominee, over Sanders is because substantially more Democrats have voted for her. In addition to her elected delegate majority, she’s received approximately 13.5 million votes so far in primaries and caucuses, compared with 10.5 million for Sanders.
Let’s say for the sake of argument If the Democratic race were structured under Republican rules, with no super-delegates but winner-take-all delegate allocations in states such as Florida and Ohio, Clinton would have clinched the nomination long ago. Clinton has won in those states where the turnout demographics most closely resemble those of the Democratic Party as a whole.
He clearly did not take the AP story well. Sanders communications director Michael Briggs issued a short statement reacting to the AP’s naming Clinton the presumptive nominee.
“It is unfortunate that the media, in a rush to judgement, are ignoring the Democratic National Committee’s clear statement that it is wrong to count the votes of super-delegates before they actually vote at the convention this summer,” the statement read.
“Secretary Clinton does not have and will not have the requisite number of pledged delegates to secure the nomination,” the statement continued. “She will be dependent on super-delegates who do not vote until July 25 and who can change their minds between now and then. They include more than 400 super-delegates who endorsed Secretary Clinton 10 months before the first caucuses and primaries and long before any other candidate was in the race.”
At this point in the next few weeks Clinton and Sanders will have to meet to see how they can form a bond to win in November. It won’t be easy, Sanders has spent his 40 years in politics as someone who hates and wants to change many things that both parties do as a matter of normal business.
But some way and somehow they will need to pull things together to beat Trump, the only thin for the moment they seem to agree on.