The Associated Press declared Hillary Clinton the Democratic Party’s presumptive nominee on Monday night, but Clinton hasn’t acknowledged the victory and Bernie Sanders still thinks he has a chance.
Confused? We’ll explain.
The AP noticed that Clinton was awfully close to clinching the nomination when a win in the Puerto Rico primary on Sunday awarded her a few extra delegates. The combination of pledged delegates and superdelegates almost handed her the victory before the primaries are in six states today.
AP reporters then began cold-calling undecided superdelegates until they got a few of the Democratic officials to commit to Clinton. It worked. The AP reporters got enough superdelegates to commit to Clinton on Monday night that it put her over the top.
The AP got its scoop and named Clinton the presumptive nominee.
But Sanders and his supporters aren’t buying it. Here’s why: Superdelegates can change their minds up until the Democratic National Convention. So far, 571 have reportedly pledged to vote for Clinton, but again, haven’t actually voted yet. Sanders has 48 who have pledged their support.
In addition, Clinton and Sanders campaigns both warned that the AP report could hurt voter turnout during the latest edition of Super Tuesday.
Sanders supporters feel that if he was able to pull an upset in California and continue to ride the momentum to the DNC in Philadelphia on July 25, then he would have a chance to get Clinton-supporting superdelegates to change their minds. It’s not likely, but the fact remains that, in theory, they could be persuaded.
When it comes to only the pledged delegates (the kind that can’t flip flop), Clinton has 1,812 compared to 1,521 for Sanders. It takes 2,383 to clinch the nomination.
Without considering the superdelegates, here is what is at stake today: 694 delegates. The AP lists California as the biggest delegate prize, with 475 up for grabs, while New Jersey is second with 126 delegates. New Mexico offers 34, Montana 21, South Dakota 20 and North Dakota has 18.
Here’s Sanders full statement reacting to the AP report that Clinton has clinched the nomination.
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 superdelegates before they actually vote at the convention this summer.
Secretary Clinton does not have and will not have the requisite number of pledged delegates to secure the nomination. She will be dependent on superdelegates who do not vote until July 25 and who can change their minds between now and then. They include more than 400 superdelegates who endorsed Secretary Clinton 10 months before the first caucuses and primaries and long before any other candidate was in the race.
Our job from now until the convention is to convince those superdelegates that Bernie is by far the strongest candidate against Donald Trump.
Meanwhile, Clinton addressed the media’s declaration of her victory at a rally on Monday, but stopped short of agreeing with the reports she is, in fact, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee.
“We are on the brink of a historic, historic unprecedented moment but we still have work to do, don’t we?” she said. “We have six elections tomorrow and are going to fight hard for every single vote, especially right here in California.”
We’ll see how both campaigns feel later tonight when votes are counted in six states, including the crucial California and New Jersey.