Clinton Wins New Jersey, Sanders North Dakota as Trump Lashes Out

VOA

Ken Schwartz

As former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton got her first win in Tuesday’s primaries, in the New Jersey, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump accused her of “selling access” to the State Department when she was secretary.

The sharp-tongued Trump said Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, had “turned the politics of personal enrichment into an art form for themselves.”

He said his goal was to bring people together, and he promised to never back down from a fight or let his supporters down.

Trump spoke on a night when Clinton was set to make history by becoming the first woman to capture a major party’s nominee for the presidency.

U.S. media projected that Clinton would have enough delegates, after primary contests in six states Tuesday, to run as the Democrats’ choice in the November general election.

Media reports said Clinton already had amassed the support of the 2,383 delegates she needs to run in the November election. This included the 571 so-called superdelegates who are free to support any candidate, but already have pledged their backing to Clinton. Superdelegates rarely change their minds.

The media pronouncement of Clinton as the presumptive Democratic nominee angered supporters of her Democratic rival, Sanders. He gave no sign that he was ready to quit the race while campaigning in California Tuesday, saying he thought he had “a shot.”

A Sanders spokesman called him the strongest candidate to beat Trump in November.

He said declaring Clinton the winner before the superdelegates — who conceivably could change their minds — cast their votes at next month’s convention was a “rush to judgment.”

Along with New Jersey and delegate rich California, voters went to the polls in Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota and South Dakota.

These were to be the last major primaries before the conventions.

The history-making moment in which the United States has its first female presidential nominee has become almost anti-climactic because of the relatively new introduction of superdelegates into the primary system.

John Hudak, deputy director of the Center for Effective Public Management at the Brookings Institute, tells VOA that Clinton entered the Democratic race as the favorite, which also has kept her nomination from becoming a single major moment in U.S. history

“It’s ironic that the moment in history where a woman becomes the nominee is almost seen as what was supposed to happen. I think as she starts to work harder toward the general election campaign she’s going to talk more clearly and in a more focused way about the historic nature of her candidacy,” Hudak said.

Republican presumptive nominee Trump got a boost in polls after his final rival dropped out, and Hudak said he expects Clinton to see a similar bump when Sanders finally decides to call it quits.

Even before clinching their respective nominations, Trump and Clinton spent plenty of time lobbing criticisms at each other. With the party conventions still more than a month away, Hudak said there should be no expectation of the race taking any breaks before election day November 8.

“There are not going to be lulls,” he said. “Between the fiery attitudes from both candidates so far, the increased use in social media in this campaign, and frankly the media’s addiction to the fighting between the candidates, you’re not going to see the lull that we’ve seen in previous years. You’re going to see a real brawl happening pretty much continuously.”

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