Today is Election Day in California — but sorry, voters. Whether you stay home or participate in democracy doesn't matter. This jig is up.
Last night, the Associated Press called the Democratic nomination for Hillary Clinton — the day before the presidential primary in California, and before any results from Tuesday's election were counted.
Based on Clinton's prior primary victories — of which there have been many — plus the AP's privileged, anonymous knowledge of how the party donors and insiders known as “superdelegates” plan to vote at next month's convention, the AP declared Clinton to have secured the necessary number of delegates to face Donald Trump for the White House in November.
Does this mean the is race over for Bernie Sanders? If you’re the candidate himself, or his legions of die-hard supporters, it’s unnatural to think that way. At a rally at Crissy Field last night, Bernie refused to acknowledge the AP's dagger.
But if you are math and logic, it looks like we’ve come to the end of the road.
California was supposed to matter this year, so much so that some of us forgot how to vote. It was going to be the state’s first meaningful primary in decades. We set a record for voter registration.
National media descended on us in the weeks leading up to the primary, filling our heads with flattery about how big we are, how strong, how important the Golden State is to democracy. But then, in the flash of a simple news alert Monday evening, it all came crashing down. Or did it?
The Associated Press called it for Clinton based mostly on the superdelegate support, but she commands a sizable advantage in the regular delegate count as well and will only build on that in the days to come. Sanders was in San Francisco with the likes of Cornel West and Dave Matthews when the news broke. Bernie’s camp immediately reacted with disdain, as did his supporters. Many tweets were typed, many breathless insinuations about a rigged system followed. (One guy told the Washington Post it’s the media that’s trying to suppress voters.)
But no one seemed to ask the question: Did Hillary, or Bernie for that matter, already win California long before election day?
Californians vote a lot — every year there’s some kind of election in some corner of the state. And we like voting from home, then mailing in the ballot. There’s a good chance this was decided at kitchen tables and sofas long before the AP, or anyone else, decided to do some math and contact superdelegates. If it’s predictions you’re after, the Field Poll says there will be more votes by mail this year than ever before.
What this means is maybe we should all relax and let the votes be counted. Or just begin the grieving process now. Or, possibly, show up and vote for your local elected officials and ballot propositions. Would have been nice for the AP to remind us we still matter.