By Humphrey Carter

NORTH American Democrats living in Spain will next month be able to cast their vote for the party's presidential candidate in a Democrats Abroad primary.

The primary for overseas Democrats is an official one and people wishing to vote, if they are not registered with Democrats Abroad have to do so by the end of this month in order to be eligible to cast their vote.

The primary will run from February 5 to 12 and votes can be cast online, on the Democrats Abroad website, or by mail or in person in Barcelona and Madrid at the Democrats Abroad offices.

Gil Carbajal, vice-president and media coordinator for Democrats Abroad in Spain, told the Bulletin yesterday that the race between Obama and Clinton, in the wake of the New Hampshire result, is “too close to call” at the moment but the big tests are going to come on Super Tuesday next month.

Gil said that not only did the media and pollsters call New Hampshire wrong, the fact that independents were allowed to vote means that New Hampshire is not a true indicator as to how democrats are voting. “The first real and clear test will be in California, a big state where independents can not vote, and then South Carolina which will be their first test in a true multicultural state,” he added. “Independents are more likely to vote for Obama because they are desperate for change,” he explained.
However, one thing the Democrats have clear is that, bar a major upset, the next president will be one of their own. Gil, from California, admits that Americans have some serious decisions to take. “Whoever takes over in the White House is going to have a momentous task of reviving the economy.” “Most American voters are aware of the economic mess Bush has dragged the country into and they will have to decide which of the two candidates they believe most capable of saving the economy.” “Americans are fed up with misadministration, they want the troops brought home, proper health care, immigration dealt with and taxes brought under control. “Obama has not finished his first term as a senator and some people are wondering if he has the experience, and the people around him, to resolve the serious problems Bush is going to leave behind,” Gil said yesterday. “With Clinton, who has become slightly more conservative over the past few months, many people know where she stands because of her husband and therefore have a pretty good idea of what she will do.” “So, Obama is the gamble while Clinton would be the safe bet,” he added.
That said, Gil added that Obama is winning the support of Republicans - either those who are disenchanted or those trying to deliberately skew the campaign - and young voters. “What cost him in New Hampshire is that his young supporters did not turn out like they did in Iowa and the over-65s, who love Hillary, turned out in force.” Gil also said that another interesting feature of the Clinton/Obama fight is that they have both attracted a lot of corporate money and funding, something traditionally alien to the Democrat party. Edwards, for example, has shunned corporate backing to his cost, so it will be interesting to see where their corporate allegiances lie once the elections are over. “Murdoch, who always likes to think he is backing the winner, is behind Clinton and they are both getting lots of campaign funding from the pharmaceutical industry,” he said. “It's extremely exciting and very interesting. It's a very close race between two very good candidates. Next month's Super Tuesday is going to be a close run thing and, right now, I would say it's too close to call.” “But all us Democrats living overseas, for the first time ever, have a voice and a chance to have a say and make a difference. Just like the 50 physical U.S. states, Democrats Abroad is a state, and is treated that way by the Democratic National Committee and Democratic Party and, like the states, we have a state committee. So next month's overseas primary is a very serious event,” he explained.


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