The A.P. declared Mrs. Clinton the presumptive nominee by reaching out to superdelegates who had not announced which candidate they were supporting, and confirming that enough were backing Mrs. Clinton to get her to the magic number of 2,383.So A.P. proactively smoked out some superdelegates who had not been talking about what they planned to do. I'd say A.P. benefited, by getting what looks like the scoop and choosing when to drop it. A.P. also loses credit to the extent that it seems to be forefronting itself and manufacturing dubious news. But the other news outlets had to jump on it.
I felt a twinge of pressure to get back on my blog last night and note the "clinch." I resisted. In the light of morning, I'm struck by how bogus this news event is. Did A.P. make this leap out of its own notions of journalism, and it just happened to come on the eve of 6 primaries, including California, a strikingly tight race, or was it dropped with precision where it could help one candidate or another?
The answer to that question seems to depend on whether it's obvious who is helped and who is hurt.
[Clinton's] aides were reluctant to proclaim the race over, for fear of depressing turnout on Tuesday — especially in California, where the race remains close — or appearing to take the victory for granted...I don't think it's clear who's helped. Plenty of people will still vote in today's Democratic Party primaries. Assume you're a Bernie supporter in California: Does the A.P. announcement make you feel fired up to get in there and say no to Hillary or does it depress you and make you inclined not to bother. Assume you're a Hillary supporter: Does the A.P. announcement make you want to scamper in there and participate in the satisfaction of backing the winner and build her margin of victory into an unquestionable swell of approval or does it make you think you're not needed and can safely structure your Tuesday without this one extra errand?
Advisers to Mr. Sanders took a dim view of the math. He previously said he would lobby Clinton superdelegates to shift their support to him by arguing that he is the party’s best chance to defeat Mr. Trump, and he particularly plans to target those superdelegates who represent states where Mr. Sanders won primaries and caucuses....
Moments before Mr. Sanders took the stage, former State Senator Nina Turner of Ohio led thousands of supporters in a chant shouting, “Fight on. Fight on. Fight on.” It was a sentiment shared by many audience members like Alex Borja, 18, of Castro Valley, Calif., who said he was happy Mr. Sanders had not conceded to Mrs. Clinton and hoped he would remain in the race through the summer.
“I don’t think it’s fair that they have basically coronated Hillary as the nominee from the beginning and, at this point, Bernie still has a chance to win the delegates needed to clinch the nomination at the convention,” Mr. Borja said....
There are a lot of individual voters out there deciding what to do, but, generally, I think Bernie's supporters are more fired up and emotional and Hillary's are more blandly accepting of what seems to be already in the works. So I'm going to say Bernie benefits. His voters have something to outrage and invigorate them — and they're the kind of people who've been susceptible to outrage and invigoration. That's Bernie.
BUT: Did A.P. intend to help Bernie? Perhaps so. The media are benefited by the ongoing excitement. The news of the (faux) clinch was exciting for one night, so there was the temptation to go for that excitement without looking ahead at all. But if the "clinch" story was predicted to help Bernie, then the A.P. also stood to gain by the continuation of the Bernie-vs.-Hillary story. Quite aside from the excitement of an ongoing race, Bernie is the more exciting character, and it will be tedious on the Democratic side when we have only Hillary to watch. With the excitement of Bernie out of the picture, Trump will be the only one left who's compulsively watchable.