After June 7, no matter what happens or who wins California, it appears Hillary Clinton will have amassed more than the 2,382 delegates she needs to clinch the Democrat nomination for president in 2016.
Although it may be a victory by superdelegates. Assuming Clinton wins about half of the remaining 781 delegates through the June 14 Washington, D.C. primary, she will still be short of 2,382 pledged delegates — she’d have about 2,160.
To get past the majority needed to be nominated may still require the use superdelegates. So far, Clinton has 543 of the 712 superdelegates allotted so far, with 149 still remaining to be allocated.
In the popular vote, Clinton still leads by a comfortable 3 million votes, an advantage highly unlikely to shift on Tuesday.
Still, the lack of an outright victory with the pledged delegates could still offer a glimmer of hope for Bernie Sanders supporters headed to the Democrats’ July 25 to 28 national convention. What if Clinton’s email scandal gets her busted by the FBI? Won’t the Democrats need another nominee?
Which brings up a dilemma. With the superdelegates, Clinton is likely to win the nomination. But never before in U.S. history has a party nominee for president been deposed by law enforcement and compelled not to run. It is almost unthinkable.
Chances are, many Clinton supporters would feel disenfranchised, and perhaps stay home in November if Clinton is knocked out as the nominee. Would they back Sanders if Clinton is denied the nomination even though she got the most votes?
Then again, the same thing might happen with Sanders supporters if Clinton — or somebody else like Vice President Joe Biden — is the nominee. What if Clinton is knocked out, and then Sanders is denied the nomination, even though he got the second most votes? Won’t his supporters stay home?
Even if nothing happens and Clinton wins the nomination, many Sanders voters may wind up staying home — or even voting for Donald Trump — if Naked Capitalism’s Yves Smith is to be believed, writing for Politico, “Why Some of the Smartest Progressives I Know Will Vote for Trump over Hillary.”
After citing several examples of readers that would back Trump over Clinton, Smith writes, “not all of my Sanders-supporting readers would vote for Trump. But only a minority would ever vote for Clinton, and I’d guess that a lot of them would just stay home if she were the nominee.”
Meaning, for all of the hubbub about how Republicans were going to have a hard time uniting, the real story of 2016 could be the break-up of the traditional Democrat coalition.
Go with Hillary, lose the Bernie voters who hate her. Go with Bernie, lose the disenfranchised Hillary voters. Go with Joe Biden, potentially lose them both. These scenarios must be giving Democrat party brass nightmares.
They could be Berned if they do, or Berned if they don’t.
In the meantime, national and battleground state polls have tightened considerably for the general election race between Trump and Clinton, a pretty bad sign for the incumbent Democrats.
As the race develops, and momentum by Trump could prove to be self-fulfilling, who was never supposed to have a chance, but now appears to benefit from the Democrats’ civil war. Who would have thought this is where we’d be in the process a year ago?