On Monday night, AP reported former secretary of state Hillary Clinton had earned the 2,383 delegates necessary to clinch the Democratic nomination for president. It made this determination based off of the pledged delegate count and a survey of party insiders, also known as superdelegates.
Clinton is now being called the Democratic party's presumptive nominee for president.
Almost immediately, Senator Bernie Sanders' campaign challenged AP's report, once again highlighting that superdelegates don't count until they vote at the Democratic National Convention (DNC) in July.
Michael Briggs, a spokesman for the campaign, stated,
It's arguably fair to say AP's report was both premature and misleading, and some feel it's yet another instance of the corporate or mainstream media exhibiting preferential treatment for Clinton.
Some have gone further, and contend this is a clear effort to deter Sanders supporters from going to the polls on June 7, when six Democratic primary contests occur, including in the crucial states of California and New Jersey.
To Clinton's credit, her campaign continued to encourage people to vote on Tuesday, even after AP's announcement.
However, even without accounting for superdelegates (which shouldn't be counted yet), Clinton still has a significant lead over Sanders in terms of both pledged delegates and the popular vote.
It appears highly like she will be confirmed as the Democratic nominee for president at the DNC in July, making her the first woman in US history to secure the presidential nomination for a major party.
At the same time, it's also true Sanders has a chance to win the Democratic primary in California, where a large number of delegates are at stake. If he won, it could prove awkward for Clinton and it would give the Vermont senator further justification to stay in the race. But even if this was the case, Sanders would still have a very tough road ahead.
Regardless, there is absolutely no reason why Sanders supporters should not head to the polls on June 7. The same would be true for Clinton supporters if they were placed in the same situation.
America's electoral system is deeply flawed, and many aspects of it are undemocratic. But the need for reform is not an excuse to not vote at all.
Voting is not about whether your preferred candidate has a higher probability of winning, it's about participating in the democratic process and standing by your convictions.
Furthermore, not showing up to the polls would be an insult to what Sanders has already accomplished this election cycle.
In a country where "socialism" is still a dirty word, a democratic socialist from Vermont has helped inspire a progressive movement that will live on far beyond this election. Not to mention, he's the first Jewish candidate to ever win a presidential primary.
Sanders has also helped mobilize Millennials, the largest and most diverse generation in US history, who have frequently been characterized as an extremely politically apathetic group. The excitement he's generated among this generation, and the deep desire for change, is not going anywhere anytime soon.