Clinton Becomes Presumptive Democratic Nominee, Sanders Remains In Race
Hillary Clinton has become the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, the Associated Press (AP) reported on Monday night with 2,383 pledged delegates and declared “super delegates”.
This marks the first time in US history a woman has clinched the presidential nomination in a major political party.
According to the AP report, the former secretary of state and senator secured the delegates necessary for the Democratic Party’s nomination after winning a primary race in Puerto Rico, a US territory, and gaining the support of “superdelegates” who had not yet pledged support for either Democratic candidate.
It would be recalled that in the Democratic Party’s nominating process, candidates compete for delegates in contests in all states and territories. Delegates are party members who decide the party’s candidate in the Democratic National Convention, which will be held in Philadelphia in July. A given state’s delegates vote according to the results of that state’s primary election. However, “superdelegates,” who are prominent party leaders, can vote for anyone regardless of the results of the primary contests. These superdelegates had withheld supporting either Mrs. Clinton or her opponent, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, until last night, when enough pledged to vote for Mrs. Clinton, making her the party’s presumptive nominee.
Despite Mrs. Clinton’s status as the presumptive nominee, the Democratic Party is holding primary contests on Tuesday in six states, including California, the most populated state in the US.
“I got to tell you, 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?” Mrs. Clinton said after hearing about the AP survey.
“We have six elections tomorrow, and we’re going to fight hard for every single vote, especially right here in California.”
Noting that the primaries were not yet completed, a Sanders campaign spokesperson chided the report, saying that announcing Mrs. Clinton as the Democratic Party’s nominee was a “rush to judgment.”
Mr. Sanders intends to remain in the race until the party holds its convention in July, when the nominee is officially decided. Superdelegates do not vote until the convention and could potentially vote for Mr. Sanders despite giving their declared support to Mrs. Clinton, although this scenario is unlikely. But until the convention, Mrs. Clinton remains the “presumptive,” unofficial nominee.
The primary elections on Tuesday will be held in California, New Jersey, North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, and New Mexico.
Trump’s Racist Attacks Draw Criticism
Donald Trump, the political neophyte and presumptive nominee for the Republican Party, has faced criticism from both Republicans and Democrats for his repeated attacks on an American judge’s Mexican heritage.
US District Judge Gonzalo Curiel, who was born and raised in Indiana, US, is presiding over a lawsuit involving Trump University, a now defunct for-profit real estate school that has been accused of engaging in illegal business practices.
Mr. Trump has said that Mr. Curiel should be taken off the case because his Mexican heritage would interfere with his judgment on the case. It would be recalled that the Republican candidate has repeatedly called for the construction of a wall dividing the US and Mexico and has insisted that he would make Mexico pay for it.
Several prominent Republican Party leaders, including Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, have condemned Mr. Trump’s remarks but stopped short of withdrawing their support for him.
“Look, the comment about the judge, just was out of left field for my mind,” Mr. Ryan said on Friday.
“He clearly says and does things I don't agree with and I’ve had to speak up on time to time when that has occurred and I’ll continue to do that if that’s necessary. I hope it’s not.”
Mr. Trump’s comments and behavior have created a rift within the Republican Party, but many party leaders reluctantly threw their support behind him after he secured the delegates necessary to clinch the nomination.
Like the Democratic Party, the Republican Party’s nominee will not be officially announced until its convention is held in Cleveland this July.