Obama 3, Clinton 2
February 28, 2008
Since the last presidential election, the Weinberger & Ross household picked up 3 additional eligible voters: Nathan (20), Rebecca (almost 19), and Ruthie (who, though only 17, will be 18 in September and so was also eligible to vote in the presidential primary). For the first time, Democrats Abroad allowed votes to be cast online, and I took advantage of this convenience to register all 3 of my children for the primary vote. [Republicans did not hold a global primary--they cast absentee ballots in their home districts; democrats also had this option, and this will be the only option for ex-patriots of both parties in the November vote.] Voters had a full week to cast their ballots, between February 5-12.
Not every American Israeli feels duty-bound to vote in America's elections. Indeed, the opposite is sometimes the case. My friend Janey, who moved here from New York with her husband Noam about 16 years ago, says: "I don't like to determine peoples futures if I don't live there." Noam feels differently: "Every American citizen has voting rights. I am an American citizen and I am going to exercise my right to vote." To be sure, some American Israelis are prepared to live with an inconsistency: they vote in American elections but are happy that ex-patriot Israelis are not given voting rights (absentee ballots are only available to Israelis who are abroad on State business, such as embassy personnel). As my friend Sari says: "I don't want Israelis who have chosen to make their life outside of Israel voting on my fate here."
I have no qualms about voting in American elections. There are plenty of state-side Americans who are one-issue voters, and I also am basically a one-issue voter when it comes to American politics: I care most about America's relationship with Israel. I have to admit, however, that the longer I am here, the less connected I feel to American politics. Whereas I would never have dreamt of not voting in any American election when I lived in the States, similar to how I now feel in voting in every Israeli election, the sense of civic duty that I have toward America is not as commanding as it was when I lived there.
On February 21, Democrats Abroad announced the results of its primary: Out of the 22,755 votes cast from 164 countries and territories, Obama won 65.6% of the vote to Clinton's 32.7%. These results translate into 2.5 delegate votes for Obama at the Democratic National Convention and 2 delegate votes for Clinton. [Before the Convention is held in late August in Denver, Democrats Abroad will divide up an additional 6.5 delegate votes.] Israel was one of the few places where Clinton beat Obama, garnering 190 votes to his 159.
On my homefront, Obama edged out Clinton 3-2. I would like to say that the 5 voters in the family carefully researched the positions of each candidate before making their decision, but voters often used less objective tools. If research was conducted, it was only to research the positions of the candidate that the person had basically decided upon beforehand. Sorry to say, I did not even do this. In voting for Barack Obama I was won over by the fact that he is a member of Columbia College's Class of 1983, same as yours truly. And even though he was a transfer student and even though neither I nor any of my friends recall him from our college days, I reasoned that you have to be true to your school. I guess that this puts my voting rationale right up there with one of my family's Clinton supporters, who, in voting for the Senator from New York, said: "it's cool that she's a woman."
Copyright 2008, Teddy Weinberger