Hillary Clinton

Image courtesy of C-Span

Clinton Clinches Virgin Islands &
Puerto Rico

| published June 5, 2016 |

By Thursday Review staff

Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton has moved close to securing the nomination of her party through her primary and caucus wins in the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, although her delegate count will inch forward only by the tiniest few steps.

The former Secretary of State defeated her rival, Senator Bernie Sanders in the Virgin Islands in Saturday night’s caucuses in the territory, nudging her candidacy forward only days ahead of the crucial California primary. Though all the votes in Puerto Rico had not been counted as of Sunday night, it looked like Clinton nabbed an important win there as well.

Clinton will pick up only a handful of delegates from both contests, but it will move her game piece still closer to the magic number of required delegates to win outright on the first ballot. Sixty delegates are at stake in Puerto Rico, though under rules established by the Democratic National Committee, delegates are allotted proportionally based on the percentage of votes won by each candidate.

Currently Clinton has about 2,320 delegates compared to Sanders 1,548. Both totals reflect the inclusion of those so-called super delegates who have expressed support for one of the two candidates. Some news agencies are reporting that Clinton is only about 50 to 60 delegates away from victory.

But Sanders remains both tireless and defiant, drawing energy and momentum from massive crowds at rallies in California, and vowing to take his fight right into the Democratic National Convention. Sanders hopes to pull off a win in the Golden State on Tuesday; a win there would enabling him to not only remain in the race, but also empower him to perhaps leverage some super-delegate support away from Clinton in the weeks and days prior to the convention. Of Clinton’s 2,320 delegates, some 550 are super delegates—party officials and elected leaders who can vote as they choose and even change their minds right up to the start of the convention.

A Clinton victory in California (New Jersey also votes on Tuesday) would effectively seal the deal in the Democratic race, catapulting her to the required number of delegates and ending the challenge from Sanders. A Sanders win there, however, may yet prove problematic for Clinton in securing the nomination by setting the stage for a brokered convention.

Most current polls show Clinton leading Sanders in California, but only by an extremely narrow margin, and well within the margin of error—meaning that experts are reluctant to predict an outcome. Both Clinton and Sanders have been campaigning hard in California over the past week.

Clinton has been attempting to keep her message focused on her presumptive general election rival Donald Trump, but more questions have dogged her in recent days over her use of a private email account and the use of an off-site server when she served as U.S. Secretary of State. A recently released Inspector General’s report concluded that Clinton acted irresponsibly, and in direct violation of State Department guidelines and Federal rules through the use of her unsecured email account during her tenure as America’s top diplomat.

Related Thursday Review articles:

Inspector General: Clinton Violated Government Email Rules; Keith H. Roberts; Thursday Review; May 25, 2016.

Jerry Brown Endorses Hillary Clinton; R. Alan Clanton; Thursday Review; May 31, 2016.