Hillary Clinton has crawled over the finish line in the Democratic race. She has apparently now secured enough delegates to win the party’s nomination after an AP tally put her on 2,383. Her win in the Puerto Rico primary, as well as the backing of a number of super delegates, handed her victory – giving her enough delegates to make it impossible for Bernie Sanders to now catch her.
Hillary has been talking up her success, saying that the Democrats are ‘on the brink of a historic, unprecedented moment’. Her apparent nomination, as the first female nominee for either of the two main parties, is certainly historic. And yet her success doesn’t feel as significant as it might have done: there’s none of the euphoria which greeted Barack Obama’s successful primary run in 2008. What’s more, despite her apparent win, Hillary still has a big fight ahead of her tonight. She’s facing Democrat primaries in six key states. In particular, all eyes will be on California, where Hillary has been campaigning hard over the last couple of days.
Even though Clinton is now well in front of Sanders (who has 1569 delegates backing him), she knows that a decisive victory is crucial there to shake off doubts about whether she is the right candidate. But unfortunately for Hillary, who more than ever needs to concentrate her efforts on Trump (who went ahead in the polls against Hillary for the first time at the end of May), Bernie Sanders is not willing to lie down and concede defeat.
Sanders has been campaigning relentlessly in California. Interestingly, he is focusing away from the big cities there - targeting outlying areas and places which were hit particularly hard during the 2008 recession, making them fertile ground for his anti-Wall Street message. Whether or not he can capitalise overall, however, seems unlikely. But that still isn’t stopping Sanders from insisting he’ll go right the way to the Democrat convention. His spokesman had this to say: ‘Our job from now until the convention is to convince those super delegates that Bernie is by far the strongest candidate against Donald Trump’. It seems more and more likely that Hillary will be up against Trump in the final battle for the White House. But for as long as Sanders remains in the fight, even nominally, it’s hard to shake off the image of Hillary as a wounded candidate who has just about made it over the finish line.