Hillary Clinton is the presumptive Democratic nominee
Hillary Clinton became the first woman to capture the presidential nomination of one of the country's major political parties on Monday night, according to an Associated Press survey of Democratic superdelegates, securing enough of them to overcome a bruising challenge from Senator Bernie Sanders and turn to a brutal five-month campaign against Donald J. Trump.
In a yearlong nomination fight full of surprise twists - from the popularity of Sanders to the success of Trump, the revelation that Clinton had clinched the nomination was another startling development - especially coming on the eve of major primaries in California, New Jersey and other states. Sanders added to the drama by refusing to accept the AP survey and vowing to fight on, while Trump argued that he had done more for women than Clinton.
BRINK OF HISTORY
Clinton was ebullient but also restrained as she received the news at an uncanny moment - almost eight years to the day after she ended her campaign against Barack Obama before a crowd of many teary women and girls. On Monday night, she shared the breakthrough with a jubilant audience at a campaign stop in Long Beach, California.
"I got to tell you, according to the news, we are on the brink of a historic, historic, unprecedented moment, but we still have work to do, don't we?" Clinton said. "We have six elections on Tuesday, and we're going to fight hard for every single vote, especially right here in California."
Like Obama eight years ago, Clinton clinched the Democratic nomination with the support of hundreds of superdelegates - the party insiders, Democratic officials, members of Congress, major donors and others who help select the nominee. Under Democratic rules, these superdelegates - approximately 720 in all - are allowed to back any candidate they wish and can change their allegiance any time before the Democratic National Convention in July.
The Associated Press declared Clinton the presumptive nominee by reaching out to superdelegates who had not announced which candidate they were supporting, and confirming that enough were backing Clinton to get her to the magic number of 2,383.