Dark horse candidate Bernie Sanders may have edged out Hillary Clinton among around 300 voters taking part in the Democrats Abroad Global Presidential Primary election held Monday, March 7 in Ajijic.
Although the official ballot count was not available at press time, an informal survey conducted by the Reporter suggested an advantage for the feisty Vermont senator, both in numbers and zeal.
During the first hour of voting, persons lined up to enter the polling station at La Bodega Restaurant were asked to share their preferences and opinions regarding the 2016 democratic race. Out of 101 respondents, more than half ardently favored Sanders, while just one-third sided with Clinton. The rest were still undecided or mute on their views.
Passionate Sanders supporters underlined qualities such as his integrity, idealistic vision and independence from big money interests.
“It’s the first time in my life I’ve been able to vote for someone who truly believes in democratic values,” gushed one follower.
“He’s honest and can’t be bought,” declared another.
More than one echoed the candidate’s clarion call, proclaiming, “We need a revolution in American politics!”
Clinton’s backers were more reserved, pointing to experience, a strong grasp on foreign policy and domestic affairs and a pragmatic approach to political realities as her greatest strengths. Several of those polled, most of them men, stated emphatically, “It’s time to put a woman in the White House” or words to that effect.
Yet among those endorsing the former Secretary of State, some expressed affinity to her rival’s campaign platform with comments such as “My heart is with Bernie, but I want the strongest candidate at the top of the ticket,” and “I like his ideas, but the odds are against him.”
Advocates on both sides indicated they will support whichever democratic candidate gains the nomination to prevent a Republican from becoming president and reversing the course set by Barack Obama.
The Ajijic ballots — along with those collected at other polls in more than 190 countries and through electronic voting procedures — will be concentrated in Germany for the full tally overseen by DA chair Katie Solon. The final result will be announced later this month. Ultimately, Democrats Abroad will send a total of 21 delegates to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia next July.
There is no equivalent mechanism within the Republican Party. While GOP voters residing overseas may vote by absentee ballot in primary races held in their home states, they are not specifically represented by selected delegates at the party’s national convention.
According to State Department statistics, more than 8.7 million U.S. citizens live abroad. Considered as a block, the expatriate population would be on a par with the nation’s twelfth largest state. If all those eligible to vote were to exercise suffrage next November, they could make a significant impact on the outcome of a tight presidential contest.