Hillary wins, fair and square

Pakistan Observer - - EDITORIAL & COMMENTS -

HILLARY Clin­ton now has the nec­es­sary del­e­gates to claim the Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial nom­i­na­tion. The As­so­ci­ated Press said so Mon­day, based on week­end pri­maries in Puerto Rico and the Vir­gin Is­lands and on su­per del­e­gates who had de­cided to back her since the last time they were can­vassed. But there is more here than the AP’s tally and Clin­ton’s sup­port among the party es­tab­lish­ment. With Tues­day’s pri­maries in Cal­i­for­nia, New Jersey and four other states, Clin­ton fi­nally amassed a ma­jor­ity of pledged del­e­gates — the ones awarded based on the ac­tual out­come of elec­tions. What’s more, when all of the votes are counted, her pop­u­lar vote ad­van­tage over Bernie San­ders (3 mil­lion votes go­ing into Tues­day) will likely give her a dou­ble-digit vic­tory.

And yet, at least as of Tues­day, San­ders was in­sist­ing that he will take his fight to the Demo­cratic Na­tional Con­ven­tion in Philadel­phia next month. Why? For all of his com­plaints about a rigged process, by any mean­ing­ful met­ric he came up short. He trails Clin­ton in del­e­gates, pledged del­e­gates, raw votes, num­ber of states won and num­ber of swing states won. And his main ar­gu­ment — that he could win if only large num­bers of su­per del­e­gates switched their sup­port to him — is con­trary to his past po­si­tions that at­tacked the very ex­is­tence of su­per del­e­gates.

Could an un­usual set of cir­cum­stances still pre­vent Clin­ton from be­com­ing the first woman to win a ma­jor party nom­i­na­tion? Sure. That’s why she’s the called the pre­sump­tive nom­i­nee un­til the Demo­cratic del­e­gates vote in late July. But count­ing on some highly im­prob­a­ble sce­nario is hardly rea­son for San­ders to con­tinue. Per­haps San­ders will change his mind in the com­ing days and sus­pend his cam­paign. Per­haps he will con­tinue on in a way that doesn’t ex­plic­itly crit­i­cise Clin­ton. Or per­haps he will throw a tem­per tantrum if the party does not em­brace his pro­gres­sive plat­form.

Any­thing less than a con­ces­sion would risk splin­ter­ing the party. And for some­one who has fought most of his life for lib­eral causes, that would be the ul­ti­mate coun­ter­pro­duc­tive be­hav­iour. This year’s election has ex­posed a rift among Democrats be­tween tra­di­tion­al­ists who favour cen­tre-left poli­cies and a coali­tion of young and anti-es­tab­lish­ment groups press­ing for a more lib­eral ap­proach. These dif­fer­ences might seem large to some­one who favours an ex­pan­sive Medi­care­for-all ap­proach, or who is miffed by Clin­ton’s ties to Wall Street. But they pale in com­par­i­son with the gulf be­tween Clin­ton and Repub­li­can Don­ald Trump. What­ever pro­gres­sive vot­ers might see as Clin­ton’s short­com­ings, she is not run­ning a cam­paign based on ethnic ex­clu­sion and dis­crim­i­na­tion.

A tem­plate for what San­ders ought to do is provided by Clin­ton her­self. In 2008, she fought a highly con­tentious cam­paign against then-Sen. Barack Obama. She got a lot closer to win­ning than San­ders did this year. The 18 mil­lion votes she re­ceived in the pri­maries and cau­cuses rep­re­sented a slight ma­jor­ity of the pop­u­lar vote (if you count the tally from a dis­al­lowed pri­mary in Michi­gan). But she came up short in both pledged del­e­gates and su­per del­e­gates. And just days af­ter the fi­nal pri­maries, she con­ceded with a speech boast­ing of the 18 mil­lion cracks in the glass ceil­ing that her cam­paign had caused. This year, the Democrats could win a third con­sec­u­tive White House term for the first time since 1940. But they could risk blow­ing it all with a de­struc­tive fight be­tween the near left and the far left. — USA To­day

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