With Bernie Sanders determined to take the battle to the last ballot, a very assertive Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton declared in an interview on Thursday she will be the party nominee.
She said in the same CNN interview her Republican rival, Donald Trump, was not qualified to be president.
Displaying rare aggression and assertion, Clinton told the CNN interviewer: “I will be the nominee for my party… That is already done in effect. There is no way that I won’t be.”
Clinton does indeed have an insurmountable lead over Sanders in the count of delegates — with 2,293, she is merely 89 delegates short of the 2,393 needed to clinch the ticket.
Sanders trails with 1,533, but he is hoping to close the gap in pledged delegates to take the fight to the party convention in July and pitch himself to unpledged delegates.
In a nominating system typical to the Democratic party, candidates collect pledged delegates from the primaries and caucuses they win through the course of the contest.
These delegates are considered pledged, bound, to the candidates. Unpledged delegates, also called superdelegates, are not tied to anyone and are free to back anyone they choose.
They are past and present presidents, vice-presidents, elected members of the senate and the House and party officials. Clinton has already secured the support of 525 of the total of 712.
Sanders, who has only 39 so far, is hoping to re-pitch himself to them if he can close the gap sufficiently among unpledged delegates, arguing he is the better candidate.
For now, he is making his case to Democratic party voters citing polls that show him beating Trump in head-to-head match-ups by wider margins than Clinton.
He beats Trump 50.6% to 39.4% in the RealClearPolitics average of polls, doing far better than Clinton, who beats the Republican 45.8% to 42.7%.
But Clinton is confident she will win; in fact, she already has it in the bag, she insisted in the interview, pivoting to focus her attention on the general election and her rival.
When asked if she though Trump was qualified to be president, she said he is not and went on to use words such as “dangerous”, “irresponsible” and “reckless” for him and his comments.
Trump hit back later, questioning her credentials for being president saying in a tweet: “I said that Crooked Hillary Clinton is ‘not qualified’ to be president because she has ‘very bad judgement’.”
He added: “Bernie said the same thing!”