Hillary Clinton is making history as the first woman to become the presumptive nominee for president of one of the two major political parties in the United States.
The Associated Press reported that Clinton has the 2,383 delegates needed for the Democratic presidential nomination. The former secretary of state reached the total with support from super delegates in addition to pledged delegates won from the primary elections.
Clinton expressed caution Monday night. She said that while media delegate counts show her close to an "unprecedented moment," she continues to campaign for every vote.
Democratic primaries are taking place in six states on Tuesday, including California and New Jersey. New Mexico, South Dakota and Montana are other states with primaries.
A spokesman for Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders released a statement saying the media was rushing to declare Clinton the winner too soon. But Sanders said he planned to "assess where we are" following the California results.
The senator's comments came after a phone call with President Barack Obama. The president has stayed out of the Democratic primary but he plans to endorse Clinton this week.
"The president intends certainly through the fall, if not earlier, to engage in this campaign," White House spokesman Josh Earnest said. "That's an opportunity the president relishes."
In 2008, Clinton battled Obama for the Democratic nomination. In an emotional speech to concede the race, she said that she was unable to "shatter that highest, hardest glass ceiling."
John Hudak is with the Brookings Institute research organization. He told VOA the importance of the moment might be lost since Clinton has been expected to win the Democratic race.
"It’s ironic that the moment in history where a woman becomes the nominee is almost seen as what was supposed to happen," he said.
Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump had an increase in support in opinion polls after his final rival dropped out. Hudak said he expects Clinton to see the same lift.
Since February 1, the process of choosing the next U.S. president has mainly involved voters who are registered members of the Democratic or Republican parties. However, the candidates will need to appeal to all voters in the November 8 presidential election.
Hudak said both Clinton and Trump have made a mistake in not listening to certain groups. He said they must now find out what moderates want in their next president.
"I think with Trump, he’s effectively communicated with many groups, but we’ve seen over the past couple of weeks he needs to transition toward working with moderate Republicans, working with establishment Republicans, and he’s not doing that,” Hudak said.
About Clinton, Hudak said, “She really failed to listen to anger and discontent within the Democratic Party at the outset, and so when this uprising of support for Sanders happened, it sort of caught the Clinton campaign off guard.”
Trump and Clinton have already aimed criticism at each other. Hudak said that is not expected to change before Election Day.
"Between the fiery attitudes from both candidates so far, the increased use in social media in this campaign, and frankly, media’s addiction to the fighting between the candidates,” Hudak said, “You’re not going to see the lull that we’ve seen in previous years.”
I’m Mario Ritter.
Words in This Story
presumptive – adj. based on a reasonable opinion or belief, considered to be the case without further information
Ppledged – adj. promised
primary elections – n. elections held by parties to decide who will be the party’s nominee in the presidential election
shatter – v. to break into many pieces
glass ceiling – idiom, an invisible barrier to a high office
ironic – adj. strange or funny because it is different from what would be expected
appeal – v. to ask for support, to be acceptable
discontent – n. dissatisfaction, unhappiness