Hillary Clinton made history Tuesday by becoming the first woman to become the presumptive nominee of a major political party. And that could lead to her becoming the first female president of the United States!
There were only a handful of states left with primaries, which were on Tuesday. The states were: New Jersey, California, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota and South Dakota.
Democrats in those states were choosing between Hillary Clinton and her opponent Bernie Sanders. Part way through the evening, Hillary Clinton received enough votes to make her the winner not just the evening but of the entire Democratic Party primary election process.
She is being called the “presumptive” nominee because traditionally it’s made official at the party’s convention held later in the summer.
The Democratic National Convention is in July in Philadelphia. It’s a big gathering where the nominee is announced and it kicks off the next phase of the election — the general election.
The general election is the phase of the presidential election where it’s the Democratic nominee versus the Republican nominee … and one of them becomes the next president of the United States this November.
Donald Trump is the Republican Party’s presumptive nominee. The Republican National Convention , where his nomination is expected to be announced, is in Cleveland in July. But right now that space is busy hosting some of the Cavaliers and Warriors NBA Finals games!
How does it work again?
The way you become a nominee is that within each major political party a bunch of people want to be president, they’re called candidates. But in the end, each party can only put forward one person, the winner, known as the nominee. And, it generally becomes the Democratic nominee versus the Republican nominee … or the way its shaping up, Hillary Clinton (Democrat) versus Donald Trump (Republican).
The official vote for each party’s nominee is made at their respective conventions because you can’t load every American into a convention hall. So when voters in each state vote for their favorite candidate in the primary stage of the election, they were actually voting for “delegates” to represent them (and their vote) at the convention. Each state gets a different number of delegates based largely on its population.
For the Democrats, there will be 4,762 delegates. If you want to be the Democratic nominee, you need to have just over half the total number of delegates: 2,383. After Tuesday’s voting, Hillary Clinton has 2,777.
After 14 months of primary voting, all that’s (finally) left is the District of Columbia on June 14, worth 20 delegates. It’s the D.C. as in Washington D.C. Not a state, of course, but it is the capital of the U.S.
What about Bernie Sanders?
Now, with the Democrats, it gets a bit tricky, which is why Bernie Sanders hasn’t thrown in the towel just yet. The Democrats also have something called superdelegates. They’re special delegates who aren’t voted for by the people in states, instead they are sort of VIPs in the Democratic Party, members of Congress, for example. There are 574 superdelegates.
They don’t have to actually commit their vote until the actual convention. And even though most of them have said they will support Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders is hoping maybe he can change some (okay, a lot) of their minds. It’s almost impossible, but Bernie Sanders is still working on it. He believes he’s come too far to give up now. Others are trying to convince him that he needs to team up with Hillary Clinton and support her in order for her to defeat Donald Trump.
President Obama has now endorsed Hillary Clinton.
In the meantime, Hillary Clinton, is celebrating her major achievement. And regardless of whether you agree with her politics or not, she has wanted this for a very long time, from becoming First Lady when her husband, Bill Clinton, was president … to becoming a senator representing New York … to running for president in 2008 losing to Barack Obama … to becoming President Obama’s Secretary of State where she represented the United States in its relationship with the rest of the world (a big job!) … to running for president again.
And along the way she seems to be sending the message that girls everywhere can be anything they set their minds to. Pretty amazing considering that less than 100 years ago women weren’t even allowed to vote!
For a previous HTE story about the election process, click here .