The Associated Press sent Hillary Clinton supporters to bed with a seemingly positive message: a whole day early — before the California primary even began — she won the race for the Democratic nomination. Clinton managed to garner enough support from superdelegates that, when combined with her delegates won in the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, put her over the top. But that is not the message you should focus on if you're with her. There is one thing every Hillary Clinton supporter can't forget right now: you still have to vote.
That's what she told supporters at a rally in Long Beach Monday night after she heard the news. Clearly many Clinton supporters already have voted, but for those in New Jersey, North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, New Mexico, and of course California, the work is not yet over. Here's what the candidate herself told the hundreds gathered for the rally:
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? We have six elections tomorrow and we’re going to fight hard for every single vote, especially right here in California.
Clinton and her campaign staff are worried that the historic news will give voters an easy out and that some will stay home as a result. The polls, particularly in California, are still close. Clinton is leading in the last three polls by just two percentage points. Sanders is hot on her trail, and if he uses the announcement to bolster turnout, it could result in a loss in the biggest state in the country — not good momentum leading up to the Democratic National Convention in July.
Clinton's Twitter team echoed the message late Monday night. Complacency will not work when Sanders refuses to back down, vowing to take the fight to the convention. After the AP announcement broke — followed by analyses from NBC News and CNN — a Sanders spokesperson criticized the media, calling it a "rush to judgment."
Sanders himself made no mention of the news at a rally in San Francisco Monday. He told the crowd that the state's primary was of vital importance. "This is the most important primary that we have had in the entire Democratic nominating process," Sander said, perhaps also worried that supporters might sit out the election. He remains convinced that high turnout can sway the race in his favor:
Our job is tomorrow to make certain that here in California, we have the largest voter turnout of any Democratic primary in the history of the state.
Turnout in nearly every other state's Democratic primary has not rivaled 2008's historic race between Clinton and President Obama. That year, Clinton won the California primary, which was held on Super Tuesday. The final races were also in early June. Clinton won two out of three, but surrendered defeat to Obama when superdelegates pushed him over the top. He also had a lead of about 60 in the contest for pledged delegates. In her "18 million cracks in the glass ceiling" speech, she also endorsed him.
At this point, that does not seem to be something Sanders is willing to do. Instead, until a week ago, his camp complained of a rigged primary system. Now it's just "dumb." And thus, Clinton's camp worries that voters will see Clinton's win as a coronation — not a hard-won victory. Clinton campaign manager, Robby Mook, told reporters that Clinton is not prepared to announce her victory before Tuesday, when she "will clinch not only a win in the popular vote, but also the majority of pledged delegates."
So Clinton supporters, if your state is heading to the polls Tuesday, make sure you're actually with her. Because it only matters if you cast your vote and cement her win. Crack that glass ceiling like you mean it and show everyone that Clinton won because you voted for her.