Hillary Clinton has secured a majority of delegates in the Democratic National Convention, making the former secretary of state the presumptive nominee of the Democratic Party. The party convenes in July at Philadelphia and would clinch the nomination.
Almost exactly eight years to the day when she had conceded that she was unable to ‘shatter that highest, hardest glass ceiling’, Hillary Clinton is finally striding forward to secure her place in history as the first woman presumptive Democratic presidential nominee.
Clinton faced a stiff competition from Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders who influenced millions with his passionate liberal message. He caught the imagination of the youth and independents. His campaign gained a rise from a narrow loss in Iowa in February and a super victory in New Hampshire. Also his ability to raise vast sums of money online for funding allowed him to continue till now.
Sanders also campaigned aggressively in California ahead of the state’s Tuesday election, unwilling to exit a race Ms. Clinton stood on the brink of winning.
Clinton accumulated 36 pledged delegates from her Puerto Rico primary bringing the number of pledged delegates to 1812. Now a spurt of new pledges have upped the tally of super-delegates to a total of 572, thus bringing the majority to 2,383. She was expected to reach this figure on Tuesday after the primaries.
Super-delegates form 15% of the total number of delegates. They are current and former elected officials and party activists who aren’t bound to vote for the candidate selected by voters in their home state’s primary.
Clinton rival Bernie Sanders has often protested that the super-delegate system fails to reflect the will of the voters. He has argued that super-delegates can switch their votes at any time before the Democratic National Convention in July. Sanders lags behind Clinton holding 1520 pledged delegates and 46 super-delegates.
In a statement Tuesday night, Sanders spokesman Michael Briggs said, “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.”
“Our job from now until the convention is to convince those superdelegates that Bernie is by far the strongest candidate against Donald Trump,” he added.
However, it has never happened that too many superdelegates switched sides at the last minute. Also Hillary in any case has more pledged delegates than Sanders.
Like Governor Jerry Brown, who overcame a decades-long rivalry with the Clinton family to endorse her last week, many superdelegates expressed a desire to rally behind a nominee who could defeat Mr. Trump in November.
“It’s time to stand behind our presumptive candidate,” said Michael Brown, one of two superdelegates from the District of Columbia who has come forward to back Clinton. “We shouldn’t be acting like we are undecided when the people of America have spoken.”
Clinton, now becomes the first woman ever to win the nomination of a major political party in the United States.
Hillary Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook would have preferred the announcement to have come after voters headed to the polls in the primaries. He said, “This is an important milestone, but there are six states that are voting Tuesday, with millions of people heading to the polls, and Hillary Clinton is working to earn every vote,” Mook said. “We look forward to Tuesday night, when Hillary Clinton will clinch not only a win in the popular vote, but also the majority of pledged delegates.”
Clinton reiterated that message in a tweet.
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) 7 June 2016
Speaking in Long Beach, California, at a campaign rally, Hillary noted that the campaign is not over yet.
“According to the news, 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 we are going to fight hard for every single vote especially right here in California!”
Clinton continues to focus on her general contest against Donald Trump. She has said electing the billionaire businessman, would be a ‘historic mistake’.
“He is not just unprepared. He is temperamentally unfit to hold an office that requires knowledge, stability and immense responsibility,” Ms. Clinton said last week in a powerful speech.
But while Trump’s Republican Party remains undivided, Clinton faces the risk of alienating Sanders and his supporters in the party.
Meanwhile, Sanders hopes to clinch a victory in Tuesday’s California primary, in which polls have shown a neck to neck race between him and Clinton. Sanders refuses to quit and is hoping that a win would impress the superdelegates that he is in a better position to win against Trump and move them into voting for him at the last minute.