AP news agency names Clinton presumptive Democratic nominee based on count of superdelegates who say they support her.
The Associated Press news agency has been criticised for declaring Hillary Clinton the Democratic Party’s presumptive nominee for the 2016 US presidential election.
Clinton has 1,821 pledged delegates but the AP’s survey of so-called superdelegates gives her the 2,383 votes needed to secure the nomination.
A spokesman for the Sanders campaign called the move to declare a presumptive nominee a “rush to judgement”. Speaking to MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show on Monday evening, Michael Briggs said superdelegates can and had changed their minds in previous contests.
“It counts superdelegates that the Democratic National Committee itself says should not be counted because they haven’t voted and won’t vote until the summer,” Briggs told the show.
The campaign was still seeking to convince senior Democrats that Sanders was the best candidate to defeat Donald Trump in the US election in November.
“In poll after poll here in California and across the country, Bernie does far, far better than Secretary Clinton in match-ups with Donald Trump.”
Supporters of Bernie Sanders argue that the timing of the announcement before a crunch primary in California on Tuesday adversely affects their candidate’s chances of winning the state.
Many expressed their anger online that AP’s count included superdelegates, who are not directly elected during the primaries and are not pledged to vote until the Democratic convention that starts on July 25.
— The Associated Press (@AP) June 7, 2016
Reactions to the AP tweet announcing the winner drew condemnations of the news media as a whole and surprise about its timing.
Why is the AP calling Clinton the democratic nominee already? Like, Cali still has its primary tomorrow? ????
— Zach Muller (@zachmuller94) June 7, 2016
Clinton, who leads Sanders on pledged delegates, has cautioned that she would not “get ahead of herself”, but analyst Bill Schneider from the University of California, Los Angeles said it was “impossible” to imagine Sanders winning the race now.
“The only way he could do it is with superdelegates but he’s complaining that she’s doing it with superdelegates … she’s ahead with elected pledged delegates and that’s very democratic,” Schneider said.
The winner of the Democratic primaries will likely face off with the Republican party’s presumptive nominee Trump, whose populist campaign has seen him defeat party favourites such as Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio.