The race for the Democratic nomination is now over and the party has its candidate.
On Monday at 6:20 PM (MT) the Associated Press (AP) announced that Hillary Clinton had amassed enough pledged and super delegates to pass the 2383 threshold to be the nominee.
Both the Sanders and Clinton campaigns were critical of the AP for this call. However, this was exactly what the AP did when determining that Donald Trump was the Republican nominee. All the AP did was a whip count of delegates that had not indicated their support for either candidate.
On her show last week Rachel Maddow said to expect this to happen due to the weekend results in the Virgin Island Caucus and the Puerto Rico Primary which Clinton won.
Tuesday night was the last round of states participating in primaries and a caucus and was a microcosm of the nomination process. The first state was New Jersey which easily went for Clinton followed by New Mexico and South Dakota. The South Dakota result was a surprise due to the state’s demographics and there was hardly any polling data.
As expected Sanders won the North Dakota Caucus and even though Clinton had an early lead in Montana, Sanders won the state’s primary by 7 points.
The big delegate prize was California with its 475 delegates. Though polling showed Clinton with a lead, it was narrowing as the contest drew closer and there was the possibility that Sanders could score a narrow upset victory.
It was not until early in the morning that the AP called the California Democratic Primary for Clinton. As of this writing, Clinton has an almost 13-point lead with 94% reporting. Some of the key California counties Clinton won are: San Francisco, Sacramento, Alameda, Santa Clara, San Mateo, Fresno, San Bernardino, and San Diego Counties. Though there are still some outstanding votes from Los Angeles County, it is likely that Clinton win that county by a comfortable margin.
After California polls closed and results were (slowly) coming in, MSNBC’s Steve Kornacki projected that Clinton had clinched a majority of PLEDGED delegates.
And the Democratic nomination ended.
There is one more contest – the DC Primary – but due to its demographics it is likely to go to Clinton.
And in effect the primary was over a long time ago.
It was over on Super Tuesday when Clinton won 8 of 12 nominating contests, specifically in southern states with large percentages of black and Latino Democratic Primary voters.
It was over on Titanic Tuesday when Clinton swept contests in Ohio, North Carolina, Florida as well as eking out narrow wins in Illinois and Missouri.
It was over when Sanders won 7 straight in late March and early April because the Democratic Party award their delegates proportionally in all contests.
It was over when Clinton won New York, and it was over the following week when Clinton won 4 out of 5 contests in Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, and Pennsylvania.
Since the beginning of June, Clinton has won 6 of the last 8 contests and will likely make it 7 of 9 in DC next week. According to FiveThirtyEight, Clinton met her delegate target in 7 out of 8 June contests.
She now has a majority of pledged delegates which makes the Sanders case of flipping the superdelegates into his column much more difficult that before.
Other metrics that go against Sanders’ flipping strategy is that Clinton has won a majority of Democratic nominating contests and has won a majority of the popular vote.
Another metric is the electoral college. FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver tweeted this pictured matching Clinton and Sanders wins to the electoral college.
Final map will probably look like this (via @270toWin). Clinton would beat Sanders 399-139 in Electoral College. pic.twitter.com/yWE8hGZwty— Nate Silver (@NateSilver538) June 8, 2016
Let’s imagine for a minute the outrage from black, Latino, and women Democratic voters if the party’s superdelegates were to en masse support Sanders, a guy who has fewer votes and fewer pledged delegates. Sanders would be wounded going into a general election because those key demographics are necessary for a Democratic nominee to win the presidency. The irony is that Sanders’ supporters who claim that Clinton won under a so-called corrupt system would have to defend those claims when their nominee who received fewer pledged delegates and fewer popular votes somehow won the nomination.
It would also be hypocritical of Sanders to praise the superdelegate system for awarding him the nomination when he has gone on the record criticizing it.
Those that participated in primaries and caucuses (like yours truly) have spoken in the nominating process and a majority of Democratic voters have selected Clinton.
The election is not over.
It has just begun.