Having clinched a majority of pledged delegates last night, Hillary Clinton is now the Democratic Party’s presumptive nominee. Yes, Bernie, it’s over. (More)

“Senator Sanders his campaign … have been very good for the Democratic Party and for America”

This morning the Associated Press declared Hillary Clinton the winner of yesterday’s California Democratic Primary. With 93% of precincts reporting, Clinton leads Bernie Sanders by 56-43. The New York Times reports her netting 257 of California’s 475 pledged delegates and – along with her wins yesterday in New Jersey, New Mexico, and South Dakota – brought her total to 2184 pledged delegates … well over the 2026 needed for a pledged delegate majority.

No, she didn’t reach the 2383 total delegates needed to secure the nomination from pledged delegates alone. But she would need only 199 of the 714 super-delegates to get there, and 571 of them have already said they’ll vote for her next month in Philadelphia.

So yes, she is undeniably the Democratic Party’s presumptive nominee.

And she was gracious in victory last night:

On Tuesday, she was effusive in her praise of Mr. Sanders and her outreach to his supporters, mentioning him by name three times in her victory address in Brooklyn.

“Let there be no mistake,” she said. “Senator Sanders his campaign, and the vigorous debate that we’ve had about how to raise incomes, reduce inequality, increase upward mobility have been very good for the Democratic Party and for America.”

It’s time for Sanders to be gracious in defeat.

“You get points for sucking it up”

Politico’s Edward-Isaac Dovere and Gabriel Debenedetti offer inside reporting on Sanders’ increasing bitterness. Aides say Sanders’ “guiding principle” has become ““Screw me? No, screw you.”

They say Sanders won’t help any Democratic House or Senate candidate who did not endorse him. They also say he wants former Rep. Barney Frank and Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy ousted as co-chairs of the Democratic National Convention’s rules committee, as “payback” for their criticisms of him during the campaign. And he expects Clinton to “humbly request” that Sanders be her “ambassador” to university campuses and millennials during the general election campaign.

But Howard Dean thinks his fellow Vermonter needs to take a deep breath, citing Dean’s own experience of defeat:

Nobody, Mr. Dean said, resisted ending a presidential campaign more than he did. Once a high-flying front-runner, he had a string of setbacks that left him feeling, by February 2004, much as Mr. Sanders does today: furious at an unfair system and determined to fight on.

Then Al Gore called. Mr. Dean fulminated, uninterrupted, for 10 minutes, “ranting and raving,” he recalled. But Mr. Gore, schooled in the art of painful concessions, was blunt. “You know, Howard,” he said, “This is not really about you. This is about the country.”

Mr. Dean, taking the advice to heart, quit the campaign a few days later. “The minute he said it,” Mr. Dean recalled, “I looked like an idiot to myself.”

He said he wonders whether Mr. Sanders will heed the warning. “Bernie has changed politics, but his changes are not going to be realized unless he leads – and leading is not going to mean tilting at windmills at the convention,” Mr. Dean said. “He has to switch into the mode of a statesman.”

“You don’t get any points for carrying on or complaining about it,” Mr. Dean added. “You get points for sucking it up.”

“Kitchen-table issues”

The fact is that Hillary Clinton is running on a remarkably progressive platform:

Clinton kicked off the 2016 campaign talking about inequality, corporate greed and the struggling middle class. She’s still talking about those issues and still framing many of them through a set of often-wonky policy proposals that often focus on what you might call “kitchen-table issues” for families. Her ideas rely on a combination of added government regulation, particularly in labor markets, and increased federal spending, in areas such as education and child care.

She has said what two of her top priorities would be – overhauling the immigration system and spending hundreds of millions more on infrastructure – and has hinted strongly that they would be joined, at the top of her list, by policies that would affect working women in particular, such as mandatory paid family and medical leave.

That Washington Post article by Max Ehrenfreund and Jim Tankersley details Clinton’s very concrete plans to improve working families’ lives. And her victory as our first woman President of the United States would be more than symbolic, as Vox’s Emily Crockett explains:

For some who want to see more women in government, a Clinton victory in the general election would be a representational victory in itself. Electing the country’s first woman president makes a powerful statement and achieves a major milestone.

But Vox’s Matt Yglesias argued Monday, there’s ample political science research to suggest that electing a woman president would also have enormous practical and policy outcomes.

Some research shows that when women are elected to statewide office, it increases female representation in the state legislature by at least 2 percentage points – probably because it helps inspire more women to run for office. That’s more than double the 1-point bump you get from a state women’s political recruitment campaign.

There’s also ample evidence that shows women in office tend to focus more than men on issues that affect women specifically, like child care or reproductive rights – even after taking political party into account.

These are real, positive, substantive changes that a Clinton victory in November would set in motion. To quote Sanders’ 2008 endorsement of Barack Obama, two days before Clinton conceded, “The party has chosen its nominee.”

Yes, Bernie, it’s over.


Photo Credit: Joshua Roberts (Reuters)


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