How Hillary Clinton Clinched the Nomination on a Day No One Voted

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Credit: NBC

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Hillary Clinton has enough delegates to claim the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, thanks in part to her win in Puerto Rico’s primary Sunday, the Associated Press reported Monday night.

As the presumptive nominee, Clinton is in line to be the first woman in U.S. history to secure the nomination from either party. The achievement comes nearly eight years to the day after her first attempt at making history came to an end, and on the night before the final round of 2016 state primaries.

The Clinton campaign was careful not to declare any victory and potentially dampen turnout in California, New Jersey, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, and South Dakota, where voters weigh in on Tuesday with 694 pledged delegates at stake.

"This is an important milestone, but there are six states that are voting Tuesday, with millions of people heading to the polls, and Hillary Clinton is working to earn every vote,” said Clinton Campaign Manager Robby Mook in a statement. “We look forward to Tuesday night, when Hillary Clinton will clinch not only a win in the popular vote, but also the majority of pledged delegates."

Polls show a close race in California, and Bernie Sanders is pledging to continue his campaign on to the convention, hoping a victory in the Golden State could help him convince super delegates to swing his way. While Clinton is ahead of the Vermont senator in pledged delegates as well as the popular vote, the inclusion of super delegates helps nudge her over the requisite 2,383-delegate threshold. 

According to AP projections, Clinton has 1,812 pledged delegates and 571 super delegates. Sanders has 1,521 delegates and 48 super delegates.

The Sanders campaign argued that super delegates should not be counted in the tally until the convention in Philadelphia in July, when the nomination is made official.

“Secretary Clinton does not have and will not have the requisite number of pledged delegates to secure the nomination. She will be dependent on super delegates who do not vote until July 25 and who can change their minds between now and then,” said spokesman Michael Briggs in a statement. “They include more than 400 super delegates who endorsed Secretary Clinton 10 months before the first caucuses and primaries and long before any other candidate was in the race.”

On June 8, 2008, Clinton conceded the Democratic nomination to then-Sen. Barack Obama at the very end of a long and bitter primary. In suspending her campaign then, Clinton made an emotional appeal to her supporters, particularly women, to take the loss in stride and rally enthusiastically behind Obama. 

President Obama is expected to endorse Clinton in the coming days, according to reports. The former secretary of state has urged Sanders and his supporters to unite with her to defeat the presumptive GOP nominee, Donald Trump. And on Monday, while campaigning in California, Clinton reflected on the historic nature of her candidacy while speaking to reporters in a rare gaggle.

“My supporters are passionate, they are committed, they have voted for me in great numbers across the country for many reasons,” Clinton said, according to reports. “But among the reasons is their belief that having a woman president would make a great statement, a historic statement, about what kind of country we are, what we stand for. It’s really emotional.”