On the eve of the final state primaries and caucuses for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination, the Associated Press (AP), the supposedly objective source for nearly every major news outlet worldwide, decided to call the race for Hillary Clinton. Predictably, everyone in the media ran with the story because, well, what more reputable source of information is there than the AP?
What happened? Did Clinton somehow manage to reach the magic number of 2,383 pledged delegates required by the DNC's primary rules? Did Bernie Sanders drop out of the race? Did the AP have magical powers of preordination as to the outcome of the six states yet to vote the following day? The answer, of course, is none of the above.
The AP conducted a private survey of superdelegates as to which candidate they currently support, even though they do not vote until the Democratic convention on July 25th and are able to change their support at any time and for any reason until that vote occurs. Adding superdelegates to pledged delegate totals has been decried repeatedly by the Sanders campaign, outside observers, and even the DNC as misleading at best and a form of voter suppression at worst, but, apparently, all for naught. The practice has run rampant throughout the mainstream media this primary season suggesting they (and now the AP) could care less about appearing objective.
Now, you may be asking yourself, "what does this have to do with Clinton losing votes in the general election?" Well, I'm glad you asked. According to the logic behind the AP's announcement Monday night, a survey of voter sentiment, even months before an actual vote, can be taken as reliable evidence of what will in fact occur on election day. Journalistic integrity? Who needs it when you have surveys, am I right? What a relief!
So, in that spirit, let me say this: In a recent Quinnipiac poll, 25 percent of Sanders supporters surveyed (12 million is a conservative estimate) said they would not support Hillary Clinton if she were to become the Democratic party nominee. That means, according to the AP's flawed logic, since Clinton has now "clinched" the nomination she has also lost over 3 million general election votes simultaneously. Could they change their minds come election day? They could, but they won't, because someone took a survey and surveys are gospel, just ask the AP.
Does this seem ridiculous to you? It should. But this is exactly what the AP has done by reporting that Hillary already has the requisite number of delegates, which she does not (after Tuesday's results, she has 2,203). Will she ultimately get the party's nomination? Probably, but that will be up to the superdelegates to decide when they vote over six weeks from now. There are plenty of reasons why they could change their minds between now and then, the most compelling of which is the fact Bernie Sanders beats Donald Trump by consistent landslide margins while Clinton struggles to stay in a statistical tie. There's also something about an ongoing FBI criminal investigation, but who thinks that's important, right?