After months of fierce campaigning, we finally know who the Democratic Party will put forward as their standard-bearer in the general US Presidential election. So who is the Democratic Nominee, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton or US Senator for Vermont Bernie Sanders?
The race between Clinton, seen as the favoured candidate of the Democratic Party establishment and Sanders, who has become popular among the Party’s base for his economic policies, has been fierce. Once the primary season started, it became clear both candidates had a chance at earning the nomination, with Sanders performing well in some states despite expectations.
Yet the New York Primary marked a turning point for Hillary Clinton. After winning this contest, it started to look increasingly likely that the former Secretary of State would clinch overall victory. Democrats need to earn the votes of 2,383 delegates, who are chosen by voters in primaries and caucuses and superdelegates, party grandees, to earn the nomination.
As the establishment favourite, Clinton has gained the support of far more superdelegates than Sanders. The New York Times reports that earlier this week, a few more superdelegates flocked into her camp. Coupled with her recent win in the Puerto Rico Primary, this pushed her over the top, meaning that theoretically, Clinton had enough support to gain the nomination.
Last Super Tuesday
The former First Lady cemented her support on 7th June 2016. This was the last of the ‘Super Tuesday’ events, where a number of primaries and caucuses are all held on one day, in the 2016 Presidential election cycle. This Super Tuesday saw Democratic Primaries take place in Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota and California. With a staggering 475 delegates, the Golden State’s Primary was the biggest prize of them all.
With California in play, Sanders still had a chance to wrest the nomination away from Clinton. If they pledge their support for a candidate before the Party’s national convention in July, there’s nothing from stopping superdelegates from changing their mind later. Sanders’ supporters hoped that if he could pull off a massive victory these primaries, the superdelegates may been persuaded to switch their support to the Vermont Senator, allowing him to become the nominee.
The BBC writes that Clinton was the overall winner on 7th June 2016. Bernie triumphed in Montana and North Dakota but Hillary came out on top in every other state, including delegate-rich California. Including superdelegates, Clinton now has 2,765 delegates and Sanders’ 1,864, allowing the former Secretary of State to cement her lead over the Vermont Senator.
Clinton gave a victory speech in New York. Commenting, she said that the coming general election will be “the first time in our nation’s history that a woman will be a major party’s nominee” and at this point in the game she’s probably right. There is only one primary left; this will take place in Washington D.C., US Presidential News writes, on 14th June. There are only 136 delegates up for grabs in this contest. With the momentum now firmly on Hillary’s side, it is highly unlikely the superdelegates which switch over to Bernie’s side at the national convention.
Facing Donald Trump
At this point, Hillary Clinton is basically all but assured to become the Democratic nominee. She will then go on to face the Republican nominee, controversial New York Billionaire Donald Trump, in the general election. This race is set to be extremely tight, with the Huffington Post noting that Hillary is only just beating Donald, at 44.3% to 39.6%, in aggregated national opinion polls. Support for Trump has risen from 32% in late May 2015 to 39.6% at present, so it’s clear that Hillary Clinton hasn’t made it to the Oval Office just yet.