If you a U.S. citizen studying in St Andrews, you should vote in the presidential election in November, and if you’re a U.S. Democrat, come vote in St Andrews on 5th of March in the Global Primary.
This is the case I’m going to present to you. I’m the out-going secretary of Democrats Abroad – UK’s Scotland Chapter, but I’m writing this as St Andrews post-graduate student. So, the views expressed are my own.
If you’re a Democrat, I’m not going to tell you whether to vote for Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders, and I’m going to go really light on the civic lessons of ‘your duty to vote.’ If you’re at St Andrews, I assumed you listened to that in high school, and the choice between Clinton or Sanders is something for you to decide.
You want to be a part of this election, however. This election is different and significant. Yes, that’s stated every election, because, in one way or another, it’s true every election.
In 2000 in the battle between Al Gore and George W. Bush, political cynicism won the day. The mood in the U.S. was dim; people thought politicians were all the same, it didn’t matter who you voted for, and third party candidates did relatively well. The result was an election too-close to call, won on a technicality. The result of that was the war in Iraq.
If you lived through that, I think it’s hard to say elections don’t matter.
Today, in a very practical way, we’ve made progress, though we may be too worried about the weighty issues of the moment, or getting a job, to notice. With Clinton and Sanders, however, the Democratic Party will make history, no matter who’s nominated. We will nominate either the first women or the first person of the Jewish faith.
In the 1960s, we had our first Roman Catholic president, and in 2008, we had our first black president, both Democrats. In 2016, we will break down another barrier. Be part of that.
What’s more, with this primary election you can’t argue that you don’t have a choice. Clinton and Sanders are both experienced public servants and have the same political orientation, but they present different approaches to things like health care, the environment and income inequality.
Yes, look on Facebook and you might think it is all meaningless sniping, but in politics, people tend to get carried away. Look for the issue beyond that, you will find them.
These are issues progressives have had to fight to get on the political agenda, and the Democratic Party is debating them now. Have your say in that.
In the Republican Party, however, they are not having a debate about these issues. The leading candidates, Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, and Marco Rubio are all far to the right, and moderate candidates like John Kasich haven’t done well.
What’s more, Trump as the front-runner has gained infamy around the world with his call to ban Muslims and build a wall around the United States. The would-be front runners, bicker about the height of the wall, instead of repudiating Trump.
In “Make America Great Again,” Trump’s slogan, the key word here is again. It is a backward-looking demagoguery, completely unworthy of the American people, the majority of whom I believe want to move foreword. Please, don’t be a part of this.
The Democratic Party is making it easy for you to vote in this election. By joining Democrats Abroad, it’s like signing up to be a citizen of one state — spanning an enormous geographical area — and you can vote in the Global Primary and send delegates to represent you and your candidate to the Democratic National Convention. You give up the right to vote in your state’s primary if you choose to vote in the Global Primary, but your vote could be weighted more heavily in the GP because it might be a smaller pool.
You can request a ballot online, or vote right here in St Andrews, the details are below. Don’t forget, however, about the general election on 8th of November, you’ll also find ways to get an absentee ballot sent to you below too.
There are roughly eight million Americans eligible to vote, living overseas. In other words, enough of us to make a difference. The margin of victory in many states has been very close. In these cases, your absentee ballot, or your vote in the Global Primary, can tip the scales. So, again, have your say.
To join Democrats Abroad: www.democratsabroad.org
To register, or receive an absentee ballot (all U.S. citizens, regardless of party affiliation): www.votefromabroad.org
To vote in the Democratic Global Primary: Come to the Arts Building, 5th of March from Noon to 5 p.m. to vote, or request a ballot online at www.democratsabroad.org/GPP