MSNBC's Chris Matthews has revealed that the major television networks plan to call the Democratic primary for Hillary Clinton during the day on June 7th -- hours prior to the close of polls in California -- on the grounds that Clinton has "clinched" the nomination as soon as she crosses the 2,383-delegate threshold via both pledged delegates (who are already committed to her) and super-delegates (who cannot, by Democratic Party rules, commit themselves to her or be tallied until July 25th).
In other words, as recently indicated by Mark Murray, NBC's Senior Editor for Politics, the networks will make the news on June 7th rather than report it -- as, per the Democratic National Committee, the final and indeed only authority on the tabulation of super-delegates, Clinton cannot clinch the nomination on June 7th unless she wins 78.3 percent of the pledged delegates on that date.
Which she won't.
No more than Sanders will get 70 percent of the pledged delegates on June 7th.
Which is why many of us in the media had thought this Democratic primary would go to the super-delegate vote to be held in Philadelphia on July 25th -- nearly every super-delegate interviewed by the media thus far having made crystal clear that they are not bound to vote for either the popular-vote or pledged-delegate leader, but rather the individual the weight of the evidence suggests is the most likely to defeat Donald Trump in November, which at present is Bernie Sanders, not Hillary Clinton.
But that was pretty silly, in retrospect.
And more importantly it's really not what "reporting" is -- as it's too easy, I admit, for a blogger like me to forget.
Given that every major media outlet is already banking on Clinton getting both every super-delegate who has temporarily endorsed but not yet committed themselves to her plus a large enough stock of the pledged delegates on June 7th to put her over the top -- how else to explain Rachel Maddow saying yesterday that Bernie Sanders, who would take the pledged-delegate lead with an unlikely but mathematically possible win (70 percent) of June 7th votes, has "no chance" for the nomination and indeed is "not really in contention" for it -- there's no reason whatsoever for us to wait for the news to happen before reporting it.
Waiting for the news to happen is so cringingly Cronkite I'm embarrassed to be even a tangential part of the American media these days.
If we can't report that things have happened when our personal opinion is that they've happened or "as good as" happened, I don't see what the point of having wall-to-wall cable news on fifty different channels is.
What else is the First Amendment for, if not the freedom of the press to outpace its own coverage?
So, because good reporting can and indeed by all rights should precede the news, without any consequences being visited upon major media for alleged dereliction of their journalistic duties -- it's not like they've ever prematurely called a presidential race before, other than 2000, so they should get a mulligan here -- there's absolutely no reason for the citizens of California, New Mexico, New Jersey, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, or the District of Columbia to vote.
Per Mark Murrary and Rachel Maddow, and, as Matthews put it on his television program, "all the numbers people," Hillary is already the nominee.
So let's dispense with all these arcane DNC rules about what a "super-delegate" is and when and where and how they vote and say what we all know is true: Hillary has clinched the Democratic nomination, and all these upcoming primaries and caucuses should be canceled to save those states' taxpayers their hard-earned tax dollars. Also, since the super-delegates vote on July 25th but also apparently on June 7th, it seems silly to have a convention in Philadelphia on the 25th of July when we can just declare July 25th to be June 7th and hold the Democratic National Convention in MSNBC's studios in New York on that date.
There'll be less room for dancing, but equally good catering, I'm told.
As Clinton herself has stated to Chris Cuomo on CNN, nothing that anyone voting in the upcoming primaries and caucuses could possibly say or do will change the outcome of the Democratic race, so it's merely a beauty contest to hold these votes and that kind of thing really shouldn't happen in America.
Only American things should happen in America, like the media being told explicitly by the DNC not to call the election for Hillary Clinton on June 7th and the media ignoring that directive, despite the DNC being the final authority on everything relating to superdelegates. I mean, there's no point in being a reporter if you can't also choose to not report the facts, right?
If you can trust one thing in this unpredictable election cycle, it's that nothing, absolutely nothing whatsoever, could possibly happen in the next two months that would keep Hillary Clinton from being the Democratic nominee. No indictment -- of her or anyone close to her -- would stop that from happening; no undisclosed medical condition; no cratering poll numbers against her prospective Republican opponent; no historically bad (and worsening) unfavorables; no polling showing that fully 50 percent of her primary opponent's supporters won't support her in the general; no sudden disclosure of all her Wall Street transcripts, revealing that much of her campaign platform with respect to Wall Street was a lie; no string of defeats on June 7th, producing a scenario in which Mrs. Clinton would have lost 18 of the final 25 state primaries and caucuses, the worst second-half performance of any major-party candidate in a primary election season in U.S. history; no surprise entry into the race by Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren as a unity ticket; no sudden and unexpected news event that changes dramatically the viability of one or many of Clinton's campaign promises or policy positions; no -- and take it from people who sit behind desks in D.C. and New York City -- there is nothing anyone could possibly do or that could possibly happen over the next two months that would cause any change whatsoever in how the super-delegates will vote on July 25th.
And if you think otherwise you -- please don't take this personally -- are a delusional dead-ender.
None of which should suggest to anyone that the super-delegate system is a sham intended to guarantee an Establishment candidate is selected no matter what. That's a pathetic view of the facts and I strongly urge you not to have it at a dinner party.
In other news, the Chicago Cubs have won the 2016 World Series.
Seth Abramson is the Series Editor for Best American Experimental Writing (Wesleyan University) and the author, most recently, of DATA (BlazeVOX, 2016).
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