Clinton to Californians: Your Votes Will Not Affect the Democratic Primary Whatsoever

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Clinton to Californians: Your Votes Will Not Affect the Democratic Primary Whatsoever

"It’s hard to take Clinton’s first comment as anything but a statement that nothing California could possibly do in its primary could change the outcome of the Democratic race," writes Abramson. But is she right about that? (Image: CNN/Youtube/Screenshot)

On Thursday, Chris Cuomo had the temerity to use conditional language in speaking of Hillary Clinton’s chances of becoming the Democratic nominee for President.

It didn’t go over well.

The relevant portion of the transcript is below:

{at 10:40 in the video}

CUOMO (CNN): So you get into the general election, if you’re the nominee for your party, and —
CLINTON: I will be the nominee for my party, Chris. That is already done, in effect. There is no way that I won’t be.
CUOMO: There’s a Senator from Vermont who has a different take on that —
CLINTON: Well —
CUOMO: He says he’s going to fight to the end —

CLINTON: Yeah, it’s strange.

It’s hard to take Clinton’s first comment as anything but a statement that nothing California could possibly do in its primary could change the outcome of the Democratic race — even though it’s now widely accepted that Clinton can’t win the primary with pledged delegates alone. This means that the Democratic nomination will be decided by super-delegates, who don’t vote for more than two months — at the Democratic National Convention, to be held in Philadelphia on July 25th. As the DNC has repeatedly advised the media, those super-delegates can and often do change their minds — and are free to do so up until they actually vote this summer.

CNN analyst Carl Bernstein noted several times Wednesday night that between mid-May and late July countless things could happen that would cause super-delegates to move toward Sanders en masse.

A win in the California primary could be chief among them.

As has been exhaustively explained to both Clinton and the mainstream media over the past year, and as Clinton herself says during the interview above — “the name of the game is delegates” — should enough super-delegates switch their votes to Sanders in late July on the argument that he’s more electable than Clinton in the fall (the conventional metric used by super-delegates forced to decide a primary since 1984), Clinton will not, in fact, be the Democratic nominee. Indeed many believe that a Clinton loss in the California primary — coupled with a string of polls showing Clinton tied with or losing to Donald Trump in every battleground state as well as behind the unpredictable billionaire nationally — could cause super-delegates to switch their votes in large numbers.

The most recent national poll showed that voters consider Trump substantially more trustworthy than Clinton.

Sanders is on pace to win as many as 18 of the final 24 state primaries and caucuses; while Clinton often says that she won “nine of the last 12 contests” in 2008, in fact Clinton and Obama evenly split the final ten state primaries and caucuses of the 2008 primary season.

In the final 23 state primaries and caucuses in 2008, Clinton won 8 and lost 15.

Seth Abramson

Seth Abramson

Seth Abramson is Assistant Professor of English at University of New Hampshire.

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