Bernie Sanders Responds to the AP’s Projection of Clinton Clinching Nomination

June 7th 2016

Kyle Jaeger

Shortly after the Associated Press declared former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders' campaign released a statement condemning the inclusion of superdelegates in the newswire's projection.


"It is unfortunate that the media, in a rush to judgment, 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," Sanders spokesperson Michael Briggs said in a statement on Monday.

"Secretary Clinton does not have and will not have the requisite number of pledged delegates to secure the nomination," Briggs said. "She will be dependent on superdelegates who do not vote until July 25 and who can change their minds between now and then. They include more than 400 superdelegates who endorsed Secretary Clinton 10 months before the first caucuses and primaries and long before any other candidate was in the race."

The AP determined that Clinton had reached the required 2,383 delegates needed to secure the Democratic presidential nomination following the candidate's victory in the Puerto Rico primary on Sunday. In a blog post, AP political editor David Scott wrote that the 571 superdelegates included in Clinton's delegate count "have unequivocally told AP they will vote for her next month at the party’s convention."

It is true, however, that superdelegates will not be officially counted until they vote at the Democratic National Convention on July 25 in Philadelphia. The Democratic Party's communications director, Luis Miranda, emphasized that point during a interview with CNN's Jake Tapper in April.

"One of the problems is the way the media reports [superdelegates]," Miranda said. "Any night that you have a primary or caucus, and the media lumps the superdelegates in — that they basically polled by calling them up and saying, Who are you supporting? They don't vote until the convention, and so they shouldn't be included in any count."

It is also true that superdelegates have been known to switch their vote — sometimes at the last minute and sometimes with a demonstrable effect on elections, as was the case in the 2008 Democratic contest between Clinton and then candidate Barack Obama. "Whereas Clinton had begun the primaries with three-quarters of the 200 or so superdelegates who had endorsed out of the 700 total, by the time Clinton ended her campaign, Obama led among superdelegates 2-1," the Columbia Journalism Review reports. That said, the situation was different in 2008 — at that point it was Obama who trailed in superdelegates, yet was ahead in the pledged delegate and popular vote total. This year, Clinton is leading in all three categories.

"Our job from now until the convention is to convince those superdelegates that Bernie is by far the strongest candidate against Donald Trump," Briggs said.

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