As most people reading this probably already know, last night the AP declared Hillary Clinton the winner of the Democrat party’s presidential nomination after it was determined she had secured enough delegates to clinch it.
Obviously, Clinton supporters erupted into celebration while many Sanders supporters dismissed the news because, as quite a few of these folks have put it, it’s wrong for the media to be counting superdelegates because they don’t vote until July. So, this particular group of Sanders faithful are claiming it’s “impossible” for Clinton to have “won” the nomination since she won’t reach the magical 2,383 mark without counting those superdelegates.
Alright, technically that’s true. Neither Clinton or Sanders will leave Tuesday with enough pledged delegates to clinch the nomination outright.
That being said, she still won the nomination on Monday night — period.
Before moving forward, let’s look at what the situation looks like heading into tonight.
There are 694 delegates up for grabs in six states (California, New Mexico, South Dakota, North Dakota and Montana). Currently, Clinton leads Sanders by around 337 delegates (it could be a swing of 5 or so depending on what Puerto Rico’s final numbers are). For the sake of not giving her too many, let’s just low-ball it at 330.
Then let’s say Sanders sweeps all six states today by 30 points, 65-35. Just huge, shocking victories in every single contest from New Jersey to California. If that happened, he would win 451 delegates for the night, while Clinton would only walk away with 243. Which means, if Sanders were to pull out this 30 point massive sweep of all six states tonight — he would still trail Clinton by 122 delegates.
Surprisingly, the Sanders campaign issued a statement last night that was rather bizarre:
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.
Now I find that statement peculiar for a couple of reasons.
First, he’s literally arguing that, even though he’s not going to lead in either pledged delegates or the popular vote after tonight, that the superdelegates should ignore the will of the voters and choose him anyway based on head-to-head polling numbers. That’s a really hypocritical stance he’s taken up lately from someone who, not too long ago, was bashing the superdelegates as “undemocratic,” saying they should listen to the voters. To say nothing about how he’s been dismissive of polls in the past when they weren’t exactly favorable to his campaign. However, now he seems to be a big fan of superdelegates overturning the will of the voters and polling results.
But then here’s the real damning hypocrisy of all of this: In 2008, the very same Sen. Bernie Sanders endorsed then-Senator Barack Obama before Hillary Clinton had officially dropped out of the race. In fact, he endorsed Obama only two days after the media (the very same media he bashed in his statement) declared our current president the winner by including superdelegates in their calculations — just like they did last night. Because just like this year, neither Obama or Clinton had won enough pledged delegates to win the nomination without superdelegates.
Here’s the timeline:
On June 3, 2008, the media declared Barack Obama the winner of the Democratic primary after it was determined that he had enough pledged delegates and superdelegates to clinch the nomination.
Then on June 5th, Sen. Bernie Sanders endorsed the presumptive nominee, with the senator telling the Burlington Free Press that “he held off supporting either of the Democrats because he has made it a custom not to support any Democrat for the presidential nomination until the party had chosen its nominee.”
Except, the party hadn’t officially “chosen its nominee” on either June 3rd or 5th — the media had. Not only that, but Hillary Clinton was still in the race. She didn’t officially drop out until June 7th.
Technically, on June 5th when Bernie Sanders endorsed Barack Obama, Clinton could have been staying in the race all the way to force a “contested convention,” much like he’s pledging to do this year. She didn’t, but Sanders endorsed Obama without waiting for her to make her official announcement that she was suspending her campaign. It seems in 2008, Sanders was more than comfortable with the media calling the race for Obama by including superdelegates in their calculations.
Yet here we are, faced with the exact same situation this year, only this time Sanders doesn’t seem to think it’s right for the media to declare a winner until superdelegates vote in July. Actually, it’s not the exact same because Clinton’s lead over Sanders is much larger than Obama’s was over her when it was announced that he had clinched the nomination in 2008.
Look, I get it. After putting in so much work and effort this past year, things get emotional, heated and it’s often hard to let go. Trust me, I understand that. I know for a good chunk of his supporters, it’s incredibly difficult to accept the fact that your side lost this primary. Especially considering many of these more “rabid” Sanders supporters have spent the better part of the last year surrounding themselves with pro-Sanders websites and social media accounts that have, to put it bluntly, been lying to them for the better part of the last six months. It’s one thing to optimistically fight for a candidate, but it’s another to blatantly push propaganda.
The bottom line is this: What’s happened this year is essentially the exact same thing that happened in 2008.
Eight years ago, the media declared Barack Obama the winner of the Democratic primary after it had determined he secured enough pledged delegates and superdelegates four days before Hillary Clinton officially ended her campaign. And at that time, the very same Bernie Sanders who now seems upset that the media did the exact same thing this year, didn’t seem to have a problem endorsing Barack Obama even though Clinton was still in the race and the superdelegates hadn’t voted yet at the convention. In fact, in his own words, he said he didn’t want to endorse a candidate “until the party had chosen its nominee.” Which seems to be an indication that, after the media had declared Obama the winner, he was comfortable with the fact that the party would also back him, as well.
So, in 2008, if Bernie Sanders didn’t have a problem with the media calculating pledge delegates and superdelegates to declare a winner while one candidate was still in the race and the superdelegates hadn’t voted at the convention, then he should really stop complaining about it happening this year.
Because this is nothing new.
He lost. I know that’s not what he wanted and I certainly know that’s not the reality many of his supporters want to face after a long, emotional campaign — but this is over.
Bernie Sanders has two choices right now:
- He can either end his campaign sometime this week, much like Clinton did in 2008, and start fighting tooth and nail to try to defeat Republicans this November – or –
- He can drag this out all the way until the convention. At that point, he’s just going to embarrass himself and greatly tarnish his legacy with practically everyone who’s not one of his most diehard supporters.
I don’t know the answer to how he plans to end his campaign, but I do know one thing for certain: He’s not going to be the Democratic nominee this November.