She surpassed the required number of delegates to get the Democratic nomination with a combination of pledged delegates and superdelegates, according to the Associated Press.
The AP controversially made this pronouncement on Monday night before six states voted on Tuesday. But, Tuesday's election only further solidified Clinton's apparent win in the primaries.
Clinton won the two big states voting on Tuesday, New Jersey and California. She solidly won California with 56 percent of the vote. Her opponent, Bernie Sanders, got 43 percent of the California vote.
Clinton declared victory at a speech in Brooklyn on Tuesday night, where she said,
Thanks to you, we've reached a milestone – the first time in our nation's history that a woman will be a major party's nominee for president of the United States.
Tuesday night should have felt like a victory lap for women -- regardless of your politics, this is a major milestone for women.
But, it didn't because Bernie Sanders decided he's staying in this race.
There is one primary election left, in the District of Columbia on Tuesday. There are 45 delegates at stake there. Sanders said in a speech late last night in Santa Monica,
We are going to fight hard to win the primary in Washington, D.C.... I am pretty good at arithmetic, and I know that the fight in front of us is a very, very steep fight. But we will continue to fight for every vote and every delegate we can get.
Culture generally values not quitting, but here's the thing: There is virtually no way Bernie Sanders will win the Democratic nomination, and if he does somehow win, it will be against the will of the Democratic population as a whole.
Sanders has repeatedly argued superdelegates corrupt the system and rigged it against him. It's true superdelegates are a shady system, no doubt about it.
But according to analysts, if superdelegate rules were changed, Clinton would still win. Even if the delegate system were changed, Clinton would still win. (The following graphic uses numbers from before the latest primaries.)
Moreover, Clinton is winning the overall popular vote. She is beating Sanders there by about 3.7 million votes, according to Real Clear Politics's latest count.
Sanders built his campaign on fighting corruption within the political system. But as the analysts at The New York Times summed up, "Sometimes You Just Lose."
Clinton made her speech on Tuesday night exactly eight years after she conceded to Barack Obama during the primary race in 2008.
In 2008, she made a memorable speech saying although the glass ceiling hasn't been shattered, "It's got about 18 million cracks in it." Clinton then endorsed Obama and spoke about party togetherness.
I ask all of you to join me in working as hard for Barack Obama as you have for me.
That election was even closer than this one. In 2008, Obama had about 100 more pledged delegates and 100 more superdelegates than Clinton did when she conceded. Today, Clinton has more than 300 pledged delegates and 500 more superdelegates than Sanders.
The popular vote between Obama and Clinton was also closer. They were well within a million votes of each other.
But Sanders still persists.
Sanders has been saying in rallies the political system is broken and Clinton is not qualified to be president due to poor judgment. This does not help the Democratic Party.
Sanders did good work to motivate young people into paying attention to politics and in calling out serious issues within politics -- and he could continue to do this work even as he's not running for the nomination.
But, this good work is being undone the longer he stays in the election. The whole point of Clinton conceding and endorsing Obama back in '08 was to bring the party together. This is keeping the party apart.
I've been suspicious of Sanders' campaign for months. I recognize he is speaking to important issues, and of course I'd love to have universal healthcare and free college for everybody.
But, I also recognize those things are not feasible in reality, based on economics and the state of American politics. I'm suspicious of Sanders because, to me, he is making false promises to people who could really benefit from those promises. You know, like a politician trying to win votes.
Zachary Leven shared the same feelings in a post on Medium.
I would say to those people that if Bernie also realizes his agenda is impossible, he's egregiously misrepresenting himself for the purpose of earning votes, and that should trouble you. If he isn't aware of this, well then he's delusional, and that should be equally troubling.
By staying in the election this long, Sanders is not persuading me to change my mind. By telling his supporters he has a chance to win, he is lying to them and creating a further distrust of the political system, which could lead to even fewer Millennial voters in the general election.
According to a Politico article, the decision to stay in is coming from Sanders himself, not his advisors.
At this point, Sanders sounds like sports fans who shout their team only lost because referees were biased.
And you can't ignore this fits the stereotypical gender narrative. Eight years ago, a woman recognized her limits and politely leaned out to let a man have his run. Now, a white man refuses to back down and realize sometimes you just lose.
Citations: AP COUNT: CLINTON HAS DELEGATES TO WIN DEMOCRATIC NOMINATION (Associated Press), Hillary Clinton Wins New Jersey Primary (TIME), California: Clinton beats a defiant Sanders by wide margin (San Jose Mercury News), Read Hillary Clinton's Historic Victory Speech as Presumptive Democratic Nominee (TIME), Hillary Clinton Made History, but Bernie Sanders Stubbornly Ignored It (The New York Times), Read Bernie Sanders' Speech Vowing to Continue His Nomination Fight (TIME), Changing superdelegate rules would still leave Sanders behind (CNN), 2016 Democratic Popular Vote (RealClearPolitics), Bernie Sanders and Rigged Elections: Sometimes You Just Lose (The New York Times), Yes, we can (The Guardian), If You Think the Democratic Primary Race Is Close, the 2008 One Was Even Tighter (The New York Times), 2008 Democratic Popular Vote (RealClearPolitics), The Case For Hillary (Medium), Inside the bitter last days of Bernie's revolution (Politico)