Wednesday June 08, 2016 – Hillary Clinton claimed the Democratic presidential nomination on Tuesday night after decisive victories in the California, New Jersey and New Mexico primaries, and she quickly appealed to supporters of Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont to unite with her against Donald J. Trump.
The Associated Press reported early Wednesday that Mrs. Clinton had won California, but Mr. Sanders gave no indication that he would yield, insisting earlier that he would continue his campaign and barely acknowledging her achievement.
With the 14-month Democratic race nearing a close, Mrs. Clinton savored the biggest night of her extraordinary journey from lawyer, wife and first lady to senator, secretary of state and, now, the first woman to win a major party’s nomination. At a rally in Brooklyn, she took the stage with her hands clasped over her heart in gratitude, then threw open her arms in joy and savored a long moment as a jubilant crowd waved American flags and chanted “Hillary.”
Reaching for history, Mrs. Clinton pledged to build on the achievements of pioneers like the 19th-century leaders at Seneca Falls, N.Y., who began the fight for women’s rights in America.
“Tonight caps an amazing journey — a long, long journey,” she said, nearly a century after women won the right to vote nationwide. “We all owe so much to those who came before, and tonight belongs to all of you.”
As six states voted on Tuesday, Mr. Sanders’s political lifeline frayed with each loss. He was left hoping for a long-shot victory in the California primary, to justify staying in the race and lobbying Democratic officials to support him in a contested convention next month.
In a speech in Santa Monica, Calif., late Tuesday night that felt much like a valedictory, Mr. Sanders told supporters he was determined to stop Mr. Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee, from winning the presidency. Yet he spoke of their cause as much larger than his candidacy. “You all know that it is more than Bernie — it is all of us together,” he said.
He vowed to “fight hard to win” the final primary, in the District of Columbia next week, and to continue “our fight for social, economic, racial and environmental justice” at the Democratic convention in Philadelphia.
But he also recognized cold political reality. “I am pretty good in arithmetic, and I know that the fight in front of us is a very, very steep fight,” he said. “But we will continue to fight for every vote and every delegate we can get.”
While Mr. Sanders noticeably ignored Mrs. Clinton’s triumph, only crediting “her victories tonight,” she lavished praise on him earlier at her Brooklyn rally. She said their “vigorous debate” had been “very good for the Democratic Party and America.”
Mr. Sanders won the North Dakota caucuses and the Montana primary, while Mrs. Clinton won the South Dakota primary. Republicans also voted in several states.
Though Mr. Sanders made plans to lay off much of his campaign staff, he appeared reluctant to let go completely after months of political warfare against a Clinton machine that he holds in thinly veiled contempt.