Hillary Clinton has reached another delegate milestone: She’s now won a majority of delegates from primaries and caucuses.
Her win in California easily put her over the top among those delegates.
CCTV America’s Karina Huber asked people what they think of Clinton:
It’s notable because Bernie Sanders has argued that his White House bid remained viable as long as he stood a chance of winning a majority of pledged delegates. To reach that goal, he would have needed landslide victories in all six states voting on Tuesday. But he won only in North Dakota and Montana.
Sanders has hoped that superdelegates — party leaders who can back any candidate — would support him as the stronger general election candidate. But superdelegates have never lifted a candidate to the Democratic nomination when he or she trailed in pledged delegates.
The Sanders campaign has acknowledged that he would be unlikely to flip hundreds of superdelegates now committed to Clinton if he didn’t win a majority of delegates from primaries and caucuses.
Based on primaries to date, Clinton now has 2,184 delegates — or more than half of the 4,051 total pledged delegates. Sanders has 1,804.
When including superdelegates, Clinton’s lead is much bigger — 2,755 to Sanders’ 1,852.
It takes 2,383 to win. Clinton crossed that threshold Monday night to become the presumptive nominee.
Clinton’s aides say she’s eager for a bruising, no-holds-barred battle against Trump and a Republican Party that has targeted her for decades.
It’s a fight she’s been girding for since her days in Arkansas and the Clintons’ early years in Washington. While Clinton may struggle with the softer side of politics, she’s at her best when pitted against a partisan opponent, particularly one she deems a policy lightweight.
But at least for a few moments Tuesday, Clinton stopped to relish in her milestone moment as the first woman to ever lead a major U.S. political party. As she took the stage in Brooklyn before a cheering crowd, she stretched her arms wide, grinning broadly as she soaked in the moment.
She spoke movingly of the women who blazed a trail for her, from those who convened the Seneca Falls women’s rights convention in the 19th century to her own mother, who died in 2011 at the age of 92.
“She told me to never back down from a bully,” Clinton said during an emotional remembrance of her mother.
Then, seamlessly slipping back into the political fight to come, Clinton added: “Which it turns out was pretty good advice.”
Laura Schwartz on Hillary vs. Trump in the general election
For more about this topic, CCTV-America’s Elaine Reyes spoke to Laura Schwartz, author and professional speaker.
Path to Victory: How Clinton learned from ’08 missteps
For two weeks in February, Hillary Clinton’s campaign appeared on the brink of falling into an all-too-familiar pattern.
Her razor-thin win in Iowa and crushing defeat in New Hampshire to Sanders sparked questions about her weaknesses as a candidate and second-guessing about her operation. A flood of “helpers” — the derisive term some aides use to describe the legion of Clinton friends and allies outside the campaign— wanted to offer advice. Press reports began popping up about an internal shakeup.
“There was a moment when we were worried,” recalled Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Clinton backer. “We thought this will be really a test, can she withstand everyone talking in her ear?”
It was a test Clinton would pass.
Within weeks, she started opening a delegate lead that would never close. Her campaign team remained intact, displaying strategic and financial discipline that surprised veterans of the Clintons’ past political operations. After victories March 15 in Florida, Ohio and three other states, aides celebrated at the campaign’s Brooklyn headquarters with a boozy, late-night dance party, confident that Clinton had put the nominating fight out of reach for Sanders.
For Clinton, those were the moments when she finally shed the ghosts of her failed first White House run in 2008, a cursed campaign that repeatedly buckled and ultimately collapsed under pressure.
Nearly two years before announcing her candidacy, Clinton commissioned an extensive evaluation from a team of Democratic consultants. They delved into her weaknesses, likability, potential challengers, finances and electoral possibilities.
The consultants from Dewey Square Group, some of whom now work for her campaign, made the following recommendations:
Clinton would have to run a more disciplined, frugal operation — one not poisoned by the in-fighting and free spending that defined her first bid. She’d need to focus far more on winning delegates than voters. And she would have to overcome questions about her authenticity to connect with voters.
On two of those three fronts, Clinton found a winning formula in her primary campaign against Sanders.
Gone were the old Clinton hands, with their warring fiefdoms. Mook, a young operative known for inspiring fierce loyalty among his staff, prided himself on thriftiness. Aides were ordered to take cramped buses instead of the train between New York and Washington. Donors used to attending catered events sometimes found themselves on their own for meals at finance gatherings. When the staff traveled to Las Vegas for the first Democratic debate, they had to share rooms at Circus Circus, an aging hotel on the strip that ran $29 per night.
Aides say Clinton was fixated on the campaign’s delegate operation, desperate to avoid one of the most glaring mistakes from 2008. While Clinton captured more votes that Barack Obama in that race, his operation mastered the complex delegate allocation process that ultimately gave him the edge.
So Clinton hired the man who built the system that defeated her, delegate guru Jeff Berman.
Last summer, Berman began locking down crucial superdelegates for Clinton. At the annual Democratic National Committee meeting in Minneapolis in August, Clinton backers were rewarded for their loyalty with invitations to private briefings from Clinton and top campaign officials.
Superdelegate supporters also got weekly newsletters updating them on the campaign strategy, part of an effort to keep them on the team.
By November, Clinton had public support from nearly half the superdelegates, according to an Associated Press count. Only eight supported Sanders. That gave her 15 percent of overall delegates she would need to win the nomination before voting even started.
A tough competitor
Even with her campaign on more solid footing, nothing prepared Clinton for the challenge she would face from Sanders.
A rumpled 74-year-old from Vermont, Sanders was unknown to many voters when he entered the race. But he quickly began drawing massive crowds around the country and announcing eye-popping fundraising totals, with the money pouring in almost exclusively from small-dollar donors.
Sanders supporters appeared to be drawn as much to his populist economic message as his raw authenticity, which stood in sharp contrast to Clinton’s carefully scripted style.
Revelations that she’d exclusively used a private email account and server at the State Department saddled Clinton with new questions about her trustworthiness even before she officially launched her campaign. Her sudden pivot on issues such as trade seemed to underscore that she was willing to shift positions to match the political moment.
And, perhaps her biggest problem: Some voters simply didn’t like her.
In an effort to solve the likeability issue, Clinton’s campaign tried to put her in situations where she’d play to her strengths, maximizing one-on-one interactions in smaller settings and long, policy-heavy roundtables. And unlike in 2008, when she all-but-ignored her gender, Clinton owned her historic status, joking about hair dye and her famous pantsuits.
As Clinton closed in on the nomination, her efforts appeared to resonate with her supporters. In California this week, they chanted “deal me in” along with Clinton after she mentioned being accused of “playing the woman card.”
Story by the Associated Press