Hillary Clinton’s lead in delegates over rival Bernie Sanders is now almost insurmountable as they move toward the conclusion of the Democratic presidential primary contest. But Clinton has not called on him to drop out of the race, for one simple reason: the example her own campaign set in 2008.
Eight years ago this month, Clinton was trailing hopelessly behind then-Sen. Barack Obama for the Democratic presidential nomination. On May 1, 2008, Clinton loaned her bankrupt campaign $1 million (following at least $10 million in earlier loans). Before the end of that week, pundits were calling the contest for Obama, whose May 6 win in the North Carolina primary, by 14 points, had made his delegate lead essentially insurmountable. “We now know who the Democratic nominee will be,” Tim Russert said on MSNBC after the results came in. Less than a week later, Obama surpassed Clinton in the super-delegate count, signaling that the party establishment was shifting behind the presumptive nominee.
But Clinton was determined to fight until the last votes had been cast. She would go on to win contests in West Virginia, Kentucky, and South Dakota before the primary ended on June 3, even though there was no way for her to make up her deficit in the delegate count.