The Republican contest undoubtedly ended with a bang when, on the night of the Indiana primary, Ted Cruz unexpectedly dropped out of the race, making Donald Trump the presumptive Republican nominee.
Hillary Clinton has long been the expected Democratic nominee and on Monday night, the AP crowned her the victor, to no one’s great pleasure. But, while she will likely finish the evening with the delegates needed to secure the nomination and the majority of pledged delegates, it’s unlikely that the race will end tonight.
Thank California for that. Elections in California happen very slowly—less than three-quarters of votes are usually counted by the day after the vote—because California election law stipulates that ballots don’t have to arrive by Election Day to be counted, they only have to be postmarked on or before Election Day. In 2008, as The New York Times pointed out on Monday, Clinton “opened with more than a 20-point lead in California; she ultimately won by just eight points.”
Something similar will probably happen tonight: Clinton will open with a huge lead, which will slowly but surely shrink over the coming hours or days. That’s one reason why Bernie Sanders has a rally scheduled for 1 a.m. EST—he wants to gauge the situation before speaking to his followers. It’s possible that he’ll drop out tonight, but California’s weird election rules make that very unlikely.