Today is the day when the final six states (California, Montana, New Jersey, North Dakota, South Dakota, and New Mexico) have their primaries. The District of Columbia (not a state, for the benefit of non-US readers) has its primary next week and that will be the final primary. There are a total of 694 pledged delegates to be elected today. Of the 4,051 total delegates that are elected in the Democratic primaries, Hillary Clinton so far has 1,812 and Bernie Sanders 1,521, so Clinton needs just 214 today to put her over the top in terms of elected delegates.
But yesterday, the AP reported the big news that Clinton had already won the race and this was splashed all over the media. How can this be? It is because of the unelected so-called superdelegates that play such a dominant role in the Democratic party in enabling the party establishment to strongly influence the process. Apparently, the AP had spoken to enough unnamed superdelegates to come to the conclusion that she had won when the superdelegate votes are added to the mix.
Thus on the day just before an election, the media concludes that the election is pretty much unnecessary. As Glenn Greenwald says, this is a good demonstration of how the establishment operates.
Last night, Associated Press – on a day when nobody voted – surprised everyone by abruptly declaring the Democratic Party primary over and Hillary Clinton the victor. The decree, issued the night before the California primary in which polls show Clinton and Bernie Sanders in a very close race, was based on the media organization’s survey of “super-delegates”: the Democratic Party’s 720 insiders, corporate donors and officials whose votes for the presidential nominee count the same as the actually elected delegates. AP claims that super-delegates who had not previously announced their intentions privately told AP reporters that they intend to vote for Clinton, bringing her over the threshold. AP is concealing the identify of the decisive super-delegates who said this.
Although the Sanders campaign rejected the validity of AP’s declaration – on the ground that the super-delegates do not vote until the convention and he intends to try to persuade them to vote for him – most major media outlets followed the projection and declared Clinton the winner.
This is the perfect symbolic ending to the Democratic Party primary. The nomination is consecrated by a media organization, on a day when nobody voted, based on secret discussions with anonymous establishment insiders and donors whose identity the media organization – incredibly – conceals. The decisive edifice of super-delegates is itself anti-democratic and inherently corrupt: designed to prevent actual voters from making choices that the party establishment dislikes. But for a party run by insiders and funded by corporate interests, it’s only fitting that their nomination process ends with such an ignominious, awkward and undemocratic sputter.
It would serve the party right if Sanders wins the California primary today and defies the conventional wisdom.