Your Outrage of the Day, Explained

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Here it is, ladies and gentlemen, your outrage of the day:

Bernie supporters are apoplectic. We haven’t even finished voting yet! What’s going on?

It’s simple. The AP keeps a running tally of delegates, and on Sunday Hillary won a few more in Puerto Rico. Then on Monday a few more superdelegates announced their support. On Monday evening the delegate counter ticked over the 2,383 mark and the AP moved a story saying she had officially won. The networks followed suit, and so did just about every newspaper in the country.

So was this the right thing to do? There are a couple of ways to look at it:

  • Yes! The AP’s tally is what it is. From the start they’ve said that they’ll declare a winner when someone goes over 2,383, and by chance that happened last night. They can’t play favorites by changing their minds at the last minute.
  • No! Come on. There’s a real world out there too, and the AP should be sensitive to the impact of its coverage on election results. Announcing now is like releasing exit poll results before the polls close. Holding back for 24 hours would hardly have hurt.

The timing of this was unfortunate, but I have to go with Option A. The tally is the tally. When it goes over 2,383 the AP declares a winner. The AP’s members expect them to deliver the news when it happens, not to hold it back until their editors decide it’s politically safe to release it. Besides, if they did hold it back, someone would probably be apoplectic about that.

On a separate note, the AP’s tally includes superdelegates, who aren’t technically pledged to a candidate. Superdelegates can announce their support, but they can also un-announce it at any time. Bernie supporters have thus argued for some time that they shouldn’t be included in any delegate count.

YMMV, but I don’t buy this. Whether you like superdelegates or not, they’re part of the Democratic Party process. Willy nilly, you have to count them. If you don’t, you’re putting a huge thumb on the scale.

On the bright side, at least Bernie supporters aren’t mad at Hillary this time around. By providing everyone with a common enemy, the AP is allowing the healing process to begin. Nice work, AP!

HERE ARE THE FACTS:

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ONE MORE QUICK THING:

Our fall fundraising drive is off to a rough start, and we very much need to raise $250,000 in the next couple of weeks. If you value the journalism you get from Mother Jones, please help us do it with a donation today.

As we wrote over the summer, traffic has been down at Mother Jones and a lot of sites with many people thinking news is less important now that Donald Trump is no longer president. But if you're reading this, you're not one of those people, and we're hoping we can rally support from folks like you who really get why our reporting matters right now. And that's how it's always worked: For 45 years now, a relatively small group of readers (compared to everyone we reach) who pitch in from time to time has allowed Mother Jones to do the type of journalism the moment demands and keep it free for everyone else.

Please pitch in with a donation during our fall fundraising drive if you can. We can't afford to come up short, and there's still a long way to go by November 5.

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