East County Magazine
June 7, 2016 (San Diego)—Before any Californians headed to the polls, Associated Press unilaterally declared Hillary Clinton to be the Democrats’ “presumptive nominee for president.” But critics including the nonpartisan Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting “FAIR” call that unfair, noting that AP relied solely on the AP’s own polling of unelected superdelegates who won’t be casting their votes until the July 25 Democratic convention—and who are allowed to change their votes.
FAIR, in a press statement issued today, observfes, “Media do not generally call elections weeks before the actual voting based on voters’ intentions. The timing of AP’s announcement–on the eve of primaries in California, New Jersey, New Mexico, Montana and South Dakota, and caucuses in North Dakota—raises concerns of voter suppression, intentional or not.”
These six states choose a total of 806 delegates on June 7, making it the second-biggest day in the Democratic primary calendar (after “Super Tuesday,” March 1, when 865 delegates were at stake).
“News outlets generally withhold the results of exit polling until voters have finished voting, regardless of how far ahead the leading candidate is, because they don’t want to confuse poll-based speculation with the actual electoral results. AP, it seems, has no such qualms,” FAIR observes.
Senator Bernie Sanders campaign has also blasted AP for its announcement. Sanders spokesman Michael Briggs issued the following statement Monday:
“It is unfortunate that the media, in a rush to judgement, are ignoring the Democratic National Committee’s clear statement that it is wrong to count the votes of superdelegates before they actually vote at the convention this summer.
“Secretary Clinton does not have and will not have the requisite number of pledged delegates to secure the nomination. She will be dependent on superdelegates who do not vote until July 25 and who can change their minds between now and then. They include more than 400 superdelegates who endorsed Secretary Clinton 10 months before the first caucuses and primaries and long before any other candidate was in the race.
“Our job from now until the convention is to convince those superdelegates that Bernie is by far the strongest candidate against Donald Trump.”