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Fwd: The Democratic Primary Comes to Mexico

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  • Greg Cannon
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 3, 2008
      --- fnsnews@... wrote:

      > Date: Sun, 03 Feb 2008 11:20:15 -0700 (MST)
      > From: fnsnews@...
      > Subject: FNS News: The Democratic Primary Comes to
      > Mexico
      > To: fns_nmsu-l@...
      > February 3, 2008
      > Political News
      > Super Tuesday in Mexico
      > On Tuesday, February 5, Democrats in the US states
      > having presidential
      > primaries or caucuses won't be alone in helping
      > select their candidate for
      > the 2008 fall face-off with the Republicans. In
      > Mexico and other foreign
      > nations, US citizens abroad will also have an
      > opportunity to cast ballots
      > for their standard-bearer. Organized by Democrats
      > Abroad, the Mexico
      > primary will help choose 22 foreign-based delegates
      > who will participate
      > in the Democrat's 2008 nominating convention. A part
      > of the Democratic
      > Global Primary for US citizens abroad, the Mexico
      > primary is scheduled to
      > run between February 5 and 12. Other Latin American
      > countries where the
      > primary will take place include Costa Rica, Panama
      > and the Dominican
      > Republic.
      > In an e-mail interview with Frontera NorteSur,
      > Nancy Evans, Mexico
      > representative for Democrats Abroad, said the US
      > immigrant community was
      > showing an "overwhelmingly positive" response to the
      > electoral initiative.
      > "The first ever Global Primary put on by Democrats
      > Abroad-International
      > allows each and every one of us to have an impact
      > upon the candidates who
      > are running for US president on the Democratic Party
      > ticket," Evans said.
      > "The global primary is not merely a 'straw vote' or
      > a 'beauty contest,'
      > it's a way to express our US presidential candidate
      > preference. The
      > concept of one person-=1 vote is truly in play
      > here."
      > Starting on Super Tuesday, the Mexican primary will
      > allow expatriates and
      > other US citizens abroad the opportunity to cast
      > ballots via the Internet
      > and fax. For the first time, polling stations, or
      > voting centers, for US
      > citizens are scheduled to open on February 5 in and
      > around Puerto
      > Vallarta, Lake Chapala, San Miguel Allende and
      > Mexico City, all areas with
      > high concentrations of US immigrants. Evans said any
      > US citizen who will
      > be 18 years of age or older on November 4, 2008, is
      > eligible to
      > participate in the primary.
      > According to primary rules, prospective voters can
      > register on-site at one
      > of the voting centers but must provide an acceptable
      > picture
      > identification. Additionally, each voter will be
      > asked to sign a
      > declaration foreswearing participation in any other
      > US primary or caucus.
      > Evans framed Super Tuesday south of the border as a
      > concrete way for
      > expatriates to overcome the sense of powerlessness
      > they feel about their
      > ability to influence the US political system.
      > Expatriates care deeply
      > about developments in their native land, she said,
      > but “don’t feel they
      > have much impact on the political process from
      > hundreds of miles away.”
      > According to the Democratic Party activist, she’s
      > received complaints from
      > US citizens about not receiving requested absentee
      > ballots on time or at
      > all during previous elections.
      > "It's a really fascinating development in the nature
      > of US politics and
      > how they are affected by globalization," said Dr.
      > Sheila Croucher,
      > professor of
      > political science at Ohio's Miami University. "This
      > is a unique
      > circumstance because the Democratic National
      > Committee treats Democrats
      > abroad as a 51st state."
      > The author of a forthcoming book from the University
      > of Texas Press about
      > US immigrants in Mexico, Croucher called the Mexico
      > primary an example of
      > the "political transnationalism" of the times. She
      > cited both the 2008 US
      > Democratic primary in Mexico and the 2006 Mexican
      > presidential election in
      > the US as indicators of this trend.
      > Although widely-criticized for its costly price-tag
      > but ultimately low
      > degree of voter participation, the 2006 Mexican
      > presidential election
      > allowed Mexican immigrants residing in the United
      > States to cast absentee
      > ballots in a presidential election back home for the
      > first time. On an
      > ongoing basis, all three of Mexico's major political
      > parties maintain
      > offices and representatives in the United States.
      > In a phone interview with Frontera NorteSur,
      > Croucher challenged the issue
      > of "dual allegiance" expressed by critics of
      > expatriate voting, whether in
      > Mexico or in the US. The Ohio professor criticized
      > the “potential
      > hypocrisy” of politicians critical of Mexican
      > nationals who vote in
      > Mexican presidential elections from the US while US
      > citizens cast ballots
      > in US presidential races from Mexico.
      > Both Croucher and Evans concurred that US-born
      > residents of Mexico are
      > concerned about issues including the Iraq war,
      > impeachment, Medicare and
      > taxes. Many expatriates want Medicare payments, a
      > system which they have
      > paid into all their lives, extended to Mexican
      > doctors and hospitals.
      > Another hot topic is taxation. "Many people complain
      > that the US is one of
      > the few developed countries that levies taxes based
      > on citizenship and not
      > residence," Croucher said.
      > Though virtually ignored by the US media, the
      > Democratic primary in Mexico
      > has received some nods of attention from the party’s
      > presidential
      > aspirants. According to Croucher, New Mexico
      > Governor Bill Richardson, who
      > dropped out of the race last month, made a phone
      > call to a Democrats
      > Abroad regional meeting in Mexico City last October.
      > Hillary Clinton’s
      > campaign sent a video to the same meeting, Croucher
      > said. Other candidates
      > have e-mailed answers to policy questions from
      > Democrats Abroad, she
      > added.
      > It's still a hard guess how many US-born immigrants
      > currently reside in
      > Mexico, but some estimates put the number at one
      > million-strong. The US
      > Census Bureau does not count US citizens in Mexico
      > or other countries, and
      > US Department of State does not make public its own
      > calculations based on
      > security reasons.
      > Depending on the closeness of Tuesday's election
      > results, the Mexico
      > primary could end up being a surprising factor in
      > choosing the Democrats'
      > 2008 candidate. "We hope, in fact, that Democrats
      > Abroad members voting as
      > a bloc worldwide will have a major impact as "the
      > 51st state upon the US
      > presidential candidates and make our presence felt
      > at the Democratic
      > National Convention in Denver, Colorado in August
      > 2008," Evans affirmed.
      > For Croucher, the Democrats’ Global Primary is a
      > watershed in modern
      > politics. The event, she noted, "steps up
      > institutionalization of
      > (expatriate) voices and involvement in the American
      > political system from
      > abroad."
      > -Kent Paterson
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