Hillary Clinton’s statement declining the California debate sent the not so subtle message that she is moving on to the general election.
Clinton’s communications director, Jennifer Palmieri announced the campaign’s decision to take a pass on the Fox News California debate via a statement, We have declined Fox News’ invitation to participate in a debate in California. As we have said previously, we plan to compete hard in the remaining primary states, particularly California, while turning out attention to the threat a Donald Trump presidency poses. We believe that Hillary Clinton’s time is best spent campaigning and meeting directly with voters across California and preparing for a general election campaign that will ensure the White House remains in Democratic hands.”
The Sanders campaign released a statement that showed that they aren’t ready for their magical primary run to end:
I am disappointed but not surprised by Secretary Clinton’s unwillingness to debate before the largest and most important primary in the presidential nominating process.
The state of California and the United States face some enormous crises. Democracy, and respect for the voters of California, would suggest that there should be a vigorous debate in which the voters may determine whose ideas they support. I hope Secretary Clinton reconsiders her unfortunate decision to back away from her commitment to debate.
I also would suggest that Secretary Clinton may want to be not quite so presumptuous about thinking that she is a certain winner. In the last several weeks, the people of Indiana, West Virginia and Oregon have suggested otherwise.
Fox News was also disappointed by the news that there will be no debate. Bill Sammon, VP and Washington Managing Editor said in a statement,’ “Naturally, Fox News is disappointed that Secretary Clinton has declined our debate invitation, especially given that the race is still contested and she had previously agreed to a final debate before the California primary.”
Hillary Clinton is just 90 delegates short of clinching the nomination while holding double-digit leads in the two biggest remaining primary states, so it isn’t like she is going way out on a limb with the suggestion that she is going to be the Democratic nominee. Even if Clinton were to lose all of the remaining contests, she is going to clinch the nomination. She is going to win the popular vote and lead in pledged delegates. The superdelegates will have no reason to flip to Sanders. Clinton will be the nominee.
If the Sanders campaign really thought that they still had a shot at winning the nomination, they would not have been so happy about the deal to get 5 of the 11 seats on the committee that will write the Democratic platform.
The truth is that the Sanders campaign knows that the primary is pretty much done. They just aren’t ready for the ride to end.