Tuesday, June 7, 2016

The Campaign Trail 2016: Clinton hits the mark

Saturday June 4th, the United States territory of the Virgin Islands of the United States held their Democratic presidential caucuses. While United States territories can't vote in the general election in November, they do partake in the presidential nominations for the Republicans and the Democrats. The Virgin Islands had 12 delegates to award, seven pledged delegates and five superdelegates, and Former New York Senator Hillary Clinton won the territory by a massive landslide. According to the unofficial results released by the Democratic Party of the Virgin Islands, Clinton has received 84.2 percent of the total vote and received all seven pledged delegates along with all five superdelegates. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders had a horrible showing getting only 12.2 percent of the vote. Sanders walks away empty handed from the Virgin Islands.

The United States territory of Puerto Rico then held their Democratic presidential nomination primary on June 5th. Puerto Rico had 60 delegates to award and seven superdelegates. Clinton won Puerto Rico by a landslide, although not by the same margin she did in the Virgin Islands, getting 61 percent of the total vote. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders only received 38.6 percent of the vote. The finalized vote from the primary isn't complete and so far Clinton has collected 36 of the delegates and Sanders has collected 20 delegates. Clinton swept all seven superdelegates that were available.

The two territories pushed Clinton over a major milestone in her battle against Sanders for the Democratic presidential nomination. Clinton now has, when you combine pledged delegates and superdelegates, 2,383 delegates, the number required for the Democratic nomination. At this point, unless Sanders can convince superdelegates to switch their vote, he can no longer win the Democratic nomination. Superdelegates aren't officially binding until pledged at the Democratic National Convention in July, so they can change their pledge to him at this point. This means that Clinton's delegate count isn't a lock. Sanders is trying his hardest to get superdelegates to abandon Clinton and go to him. This is Sanders' only path left to victory. Before superdelegates are counted, Clinton has 1,812 delegates and Sanders has 1,521 delegates. There are only 813 delegates left to be awarded, not enough for Sanders to cross the line without taking some from Clinton. Clinton currently has 571 superdelegates pledged to her and Sanders currently has 48 superdelegates pledged to him.

If Clinton secures the nomination, she will be the first female presidential nominee for the Democratic Party. However, the continuing fight between Clinton and Sanders is hurting the Democratic party at this point. The Libertarian party has already had their national convention and nominated Former Governor Gary Johnson as their presidential nominee and Former Governor William Weld as their vice presidential nominee. While the Republican party doesn't have their national convention until July, billionaire Donald Trump has secured the necessary delegates for the nomination. This means both the Libertarian party and the Republican party are already targeting their rivals while Clinton and Sanders are still fighting within their own party. Given that, in poll after poll, both Clinton and Trump have the highest disapproval ratings of any candidate from their respective party, they both need to do a lot of image fixing before November to win over the trust of the voters. The Democratic party infighting between Clinton and Sanders is, at this point, just pushing their party behind the other two for the general election.

Today, California, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, and South Dakota all have Republican and Democratic contests. Today is the last day of Republican presidential nomination contests. North Dakota holds a Democratic contest only today. The Democrats also still have Washington D.C. as their final contest on June 14th. The Campaign Trail 2016 will provide coverage of today's contests after the voting has been finalized.

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