How people elect parliaments
As was widely expected, Hillary Clinton has wrapped up the Democratic party nomination for US president, winning four of the final six state contests – including the ballot in California – held on Tuesday June 7.
Registered party supporters, and in some states independent voters as well, can vote in these primary elections to elect delegates to the party conventions, which in turn choose the nominees.
Clinton’s rival Senator Bernie Sanders stayed in the Democratic party contest until the end, but needed a general result across today’s six states of at least 70% of the vote to overtake Clinton’s tally of elected delegates.
Even then, Sanders would still have needed to persuade the ‘super delegates’ – the 15% of party convention delegates who are not elected – to swing behind him. With around 9 in 10 of these unelected delegates already publicly supporting Clinton, Sanders’ hopes of taking the nomination have been unrealistic for several weeks.
[This post has been updated to include California and Montana results]
Clinton won California with 56% of the vote, New Jersey with 63% and New Mexico with 52%.
Clinton also at last won a state vote in Sanders’ northern zone of dominance, claiming 51% of the vote in South Dakota.
Sanders prevailed in the caucuses held in North Dakota, with 64% support among caucus participants, and in Montana with 51%
The final Democratic primary election map (other than next week’s Washington DC vote)
The Sanders/Clinton battle sharply divided the nation geographically, but Clinton’s sweep of the large population coastal states, the hispanic south-west, the south, and the north-east beat Sanders’ strength in the north-west, the northern centre and in New England. At the geographical centre of the contest – Illinois-Missouri-Iowa – the candidates were essentially tied.
The equivalent Republican contests today were all dead rubbers, with Donald Trump winning by default after all his rivals suspended their campaigns some weeks ago.
In an electoral climate where disapproval of ‘Washington insiders’ and the national Congress is at historic high levels, Democratic voters have chosen a consummate political insider as their presidential candidate.
Hillary Clinton has been active in public roles since 1979, a 38-year track record that includes 20 years as a politically active state or national First Lady, 8 years as a national Senator and 4 years as US Secretary of State.
In terms of total years of public office experience, Clinton is arguably the most experienced person ever to run for the presidency.
By contrast Donald Trump has never served in any elected or public office.
In the nation’s 228-year electoral history no person without previous public or military service has ever been chosen as president.
No person without such qualifications has even been nominated by a major party since a divided Republican party turned (unsuccessfully) to businessman Wendel Willkie at the party convention of 1940.
In recent years congressional and state legislative elections have been largely defined – especially on the Republican side of politics – by the extent to which candidates can claim to be ‘outsiders’ running against a highly unpopular legislative culture. It remains to be seen whether this political dynamic will also apply to the choice of a national president.
(lead photo source: Clinton campaign site)