On the eve of the biggest primary day yet, the Associated Press named Sec. Hillary Clinton the Democratic nominee, and she responded in the classiest way possible. On Tuesday, six states will hold their Democratic primary contests, with a whopping 694 pledged delegates at stake. But Associated Press (AP) decided to call the whole shebang for Clinton Monday night. This, in spite of the fact that Clinton is not likely to win enough pledged delegates on Tuesday to guarantee her the nomination. Clinton's response on Twitter basically told AP to hold their horses, and to wait and see how the people vote.
Clinton is heading into Tuesday with 1,811 pledged delegates, according to FiveThirtyEight's tracker. That means she needs 572 more to reach the 2,383 needed to guarantee her the Democratic nomination. Clinton would have to get about 82 percent of the popular vote on Tuesday to get her there, which isn't likely to happen. If recent polling accurately reflects how people will vote, then Clinton is likely to split California's massive delegate load — 475 pledged delegates — with Sen. Bernie Sanders roughly evenly. Clinton wants to wait until voting is done to accept the title of nominee, according to her tweet:
The AP took into account 571 superdelegates who have expressed support for Clinton in deciding to call the primary for her on Monday. There are 714 total superdelegates. Supers are not bound to any candidate, even if they express support for one or another. Their decisions are not official until they cast their votes at the Democratic National Convention in July.
Clinton has had a greater percentage of the popular vote throughout the primaries, and she clearly is more popular than Sanders among superdelegates. Criticizing the AP's early declaration is not to say that Sanders is likely to win. Rather, Clinton's response indicates that she wants to get as close as possible via the popular vote and not have to rely on superdelegates. This sentiment was echoed by campaign manager Robby Mook, who said in a written statement: "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".
She will likely have to get a boost from superdelegates in the end, though, since she is far from guaranteed 572 of the 714 pledged delegates remaining to be won (including 20 from Washington, D.C. on June 14). The AP isn't exactly doing something wrong by taking superdelegates into account. It's reasonable to expect at least the same percentage to support her as the percentage of the popular vote she earned. But assuming that every one of them who has expressed support for Clinton will keep to that decision in July, even if Sanders has a great performance on June 7, to the point of calling the nomination before a huge voting day, is a questionable move. The question is: Why call it early?
Though Clinton recently declared herself the nominee in an interview with CNN, it apparently didn't sit well with her to have a major news outlet make the call the night before the biggest election day of the primary season. Her response showed respect both to her competitor and especially to the people who will vote in the remaining six primary states as well as D.C. in the coming week.