Hillary Clinton has achieved a lot of firsts:
- First First Lady to become a Senator
- First woman to win a majority of pledged delegates in a major party presidential contest
- First candidate to be facing multiple possible felony charges at this stage of a campaign...oh, that one she'd probably rather not be first in.
What she is not first in, however, not yet, is being the first woman to be nominated for president. As Sanders predicted, Clinton did not clear the 2,383 delegate hurdle in pledged delegates.
This is Donald Trump's standing, from the NY Times, and supplied by the Associated Press that supplies all the major media:
Pledged Delegates 1,441
Hillary Clinton has won 2,184 pledged delegates as of this morning after the 6-state contest on June 7, which is 199 delegates shy of what she needs. There is one remaining contest, Washington D.C., an inside-the-beltway contest she is expected to win, but that one has only 45 delegates, not enough to give her the required number, even if she won all of them, which she won't.
The super-delegates were polled by the Associated Press a day before the June 7 primary and it is on the basis of that long-stagnant promise that Clinton was declared the victor by all the mainstream media, and herself, last night. But the super-delegates do not get to vote until the convention. They can change their mind any time before or even during the convention, if there are multiple ballots, as has happened in the past when a candidate has failed to get the requisite votes on the first ballot.
- See above. The FBI is wrapping up its investigations. They will question her, possibly before the convention. If they then recommend indictment, or even if there is just a rumor of that, it could mean the end of her campaign, even her freedom. Here is one way it could play out:
- The most recent polls put her about even to slightly ahead of Trump in a one-to-one matchup, but Sanders is more ahead in a one-to-one matchup with Trump.
But here's the thing. It is NOT a one-to-one matchup. Gary Johnson, the Libertarian candidate, is now polling around 10% and in these polls Trump sometimes wins, or is within the margin of error. He's probably getting more votes that Trump would get at this point, than from Clinton, making him a large spoiler for now. But Johnson, who described himself as fiscally conservative but socially liberal on this morning's CNBC Squawk Box interview, may have a harder time against Sanders, who has a longer history of supporting Civil Liberties (Gay Marriage, voting against the Patriot Act, etc.) than Clinton. If Sanders can siphon votes off of Johnson, even if he only took the same votes away from Trump that Clinton does, that alone might be decisive. But Sanders cuts into Trump's base of support too, in a way that Clinton can't. Even Trump acknowledged last night and previously, that he and Sanders are on the same side in rejecting most of the trade deals that have cost American jobs over the last few decades. Clinton was for TPP before she was against it during the present campaign, for example.
If the polls continue to show a weakening Clinton, and a strengthening Trump by the Democratic convention in 7 weeks, despite her all-but-declared nomination, the super-delegates may have a super-awakening. At least that is what the Sanders camp hopes, and they are on the phone talking to them today.
- Finally, we don't actually know the full delegate count. Before yesterday's contests, there were a dozen states with between 1 to 10% uncounted votes. These remain, and to them we can now add California, the biggest state of all, with just 96% of the votes counted by A.P., and New Jersey, with 99% counted. If history is any guide, it will stay that way indefinitely. There's no reason to think these will be split any differently than the rest of the counts, but the truth is we just don't know, and with large numbers of voters in these states, it could make a difference in the delegate math.
So, Clinton is the likely nominee, but not the presumptive one. That would be, well, presumptive.
*** UPDATE ***
The California contest has now been fully 100% counted. Clinton is still down by 199 delegates.