With 95 percent of precincts reporting, it appears that Hillary Clinton has won the California primary by about 13 percent and she has also won the New Jersey primary by 26 percent margin, with 99 percent of precincts reporting. In addition, she has won the New Mexico and South Dakota primaries by about 3 percent in each state. Sen. Bernie Sanders got a consolation prize in the form of victories in the Montana primary and the North Dakota caucuses.
An estimated 20 percent of California mail-in ballots will have to be counted in the days ahead. But it is likely that Clinton’s double-digit lead in that state will hold.
Given’s Clinton’s impressive win, Sanders will most likely endorse her before too long, despite his stated intention to campaign in next week’s Washington, D.C. primary, which marks the end of the 2016 Democratic presidential primary season.
At reuters.com John Whitesides provides this assessment of the accomplishments of the Sanders campaign:
During the campaign, Sanders forced Clinton to tack left repeatedly on issues ranging from her support for a higher minimum wage to her opposition to the Asian trade pact and Keystone XL oil pipeline.
Sanders’ progressive allies said those shifts by Clinton will be helpful in the Nov. 8 election against presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump, who has touted an anti-trade and pro-jobs economic agenda, and for Democrats in their efforts to recapture a majority in the U.S. Senate.
“When the story of the 2016 election is told, a major part of it will be that Bernie Sanders helped the Democratic Party turn up the volume on economic populism issues,” said Adam Green, co-founder of the liberal Progressive Change Campaign Committee.
Some media are amping up stories about Sanders being a sore loser. But it seems unlikely that a candidate who has the smarts to do as well as he did would be politically tone-deaf enough to let his campaign end on a sour note. That would deny him leverage with the next president — and also Democratic leadership, when it comes time to assign committee chairmanships.
It remains unclear what percentage of Sanders supporters will vote for Clinton, though historical patterns indicate that a healthy majority of them will vote for the Democratic nominee.
Questions bearing on the timing of Sanders endorsement of Clinton include: What elements of the Sanders policy agenda will be incorporated in the Democratic Convention party platform? Will Clinton select Sanders as her running mate, or, if not, will Sanders like her choice? and perhaps most important of all, how hard will he campaign for her?
Clinton has been gracious in victory, and hopes for a unified Democratic campaign going forward at full strength rest in large measure on how well Clinton and Sanders work together.
In her New York Times report on Clinton’s victory, Amy Chozick nicely describes the factors that made Clinton such a strong candidate:
She may not be the orator President Obama is, or the retail politician her husband was. But Mrs. Clinton’s steely fortitude in this campaign has plainly inspired older women, black voters and many others who see in her perseverance a kind of mirror to their own struggles. And Mrs. Clinton’s very durability — her tenacity, grit and capacity for enduring and overcoming adversity — could be exactly what is required to defeat Donald J. Trump.
…And reverberate down-ballot, helping Democrats regain majorities in congress and the state legislatures.