The SPD headquarters was given over to US politics. Democrats residing outside of the United States chose the 13 delegates for the 2016 party convention in Philadelphia – and most supported Bernie Sanders.
“The race is still not over,” a man named Larry said at the Social Democratic Party (SPD) headquarters in Berlin on Friday. “I firmly believe that Bernie will win.” Larry, a researcher who lives in Oxford, England, had a personal reason for believing that the left-leaning Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders still had a chance of becoming the nominee for the presidential elections in November over Hillary Clinton, who is far ahead of him in delegates. Larry’s last name is Sanders, too, and he’s the candidate’s older brother. This family does not give up.
Like Larry Sanders, hundreds of party members from around the world headed to Berlin for four days to select the 13 Democrats Abroad delegates for the national convention in Philadelphia in July. The voting procedure was quite complicated. It took hours. And all that was at stake was 13 of the 4,800 overall delegates.
But they came up with a clear decision: Back in March, more than 34,000 Americans around the world voted in the international Democratic primary. In the end, almost 69 percent were for Sanders and just over 31 percent for Clinton. That means that in July nine delegates will vote for Sanders and four for Clinton. And the Democrats Abroad will decide who will take a trip back home to vote.
‘Progressive, internationally minded’
“When you live abroad, you are progressive, internationally minded and that is why we lean towards Sanders,” Said Roberta Camhi, who lives in Mexico. “Of course, in the end, Hillary will win, but it would be good if Bernie forced Hillary to move a little more to the left.” Camhi said she just might stay in Mexico for the rest of her life, especially if “the other one” wins the presidential elections – a reference to Donald Trump, the populist billionaire agitator and only remaining Republican candidate. He is unpopular with the GOP elite, but its base loves him. “That would be the worst for me,” Camhi said. “I would never go to the US and just stay in Mexico. That would be terrible, because my family lives in the States.”
Bill Barnard from Oxford said it was “a miracle that a loudmouth like that can go so far.” Anna Maria Modly called Trump’s rise “the result of a great loss of culture and education that the United States has experienced in recent years,” but she added that Trump had to be taken seriously “not as a politician, but as a candidate.” All that said, the Democrats Abroad didn’t really think Trump could win, and they would settle for a Clinton presidency.
Like the US Democrats, Katarina Barley, the SPD’s seneral-secretary was optimistic. On Friday, she welcomed her international guests to the SPD headquarters. “Your chances of meeting the challenges of the future are probably better than ours at the moment,” she said, alluding to polls that show only 20 percent support for the SPD.
Barley received thunderous applause when she cried: “You, as Democrats, can be proud of the last eight years with Barack Obama as president. You have achieved a great deal.” And she listed those accomplishments: health care, climate change action and better rights for homosexuals. Hillary Clinton would probably stand for the same values, but perhaps not quite as adamantly as Bernie Sanders. The main thing, though, is stopping Trump.