With no vote at home for Irish emigrants, and a rocky start to the Democratic presidential candidate nomination process, things can only get better says one Irish person living in the US.
It’s a Sunday morning, and I am in my car driving. I tune in my phone and listen to the election coverage back home to hear about the Sinn Féin wave that has transcended Irish politics.
It makes me wonder will those abroad ever get to have an opportunity to vote in an election at home, whether it be a referendum, presidential election, or general election. The voices of those who left Shannon and Dublin for new opportunities and hopes abroad still long for home. Is it too much to be able to ask for a vote? The promise of a referendum seems to linger, but never happen.
Stopping at a red light brings me back to the reality of the looming election here in the United States in November. The stark reality is beckoning and hitting home that Donald Trump is looking more and more likely to win again. The media tells us his numbers are improving and that the economy is booming. I say the media because it is arguable that the booming economy has not filtered to all levels in society. Do the Democrats have any hope?
The President appears to be on a victory lap. He has been acquitted of the charges brought against him during his impeachment proceedings. He has told everyone how innocent he was and how those who acted against him were out of line. He is enjoying his moment and has had a good week. His favorability in the polls is up and while his State of the Union speech may have been viewed as partisan by some, it will have been loved by his loyal base.
Do the Democrats have anyone that can really beat Trump? The hope is that a strong candidate will explode from the field during the primaries and the party will gather 'round, before a true fight is put up against the President in the fall. The early signs are concerning. The primary season began last week with the Iowa Caucus. This was to be the great exercise in democracy, and the launchpad for the Democrats for the 2020 election campaign. Instead, Democrats cling to the hope that the farcical start will ultimately prove to be a blip to election success.
So, what went wrong? To understand fully, it is necessary to understand a caucus. The Iowa Caucus is the kick-off to the national state-by-state selection process for the nomination of each party's presidential candidate. Donald Trump is unopposed, but the Democrats have a large field competing.
A caucus is much like a voting day at home in Ireland, but the people vote on their feet. Towns and areas across the state host meetings in schools and town halls. The people gather in the middle of the meeting room, and when the caucus begins, they walk to a designated spot in the room for their preferred candidate.
Similar to the proportional representation system at home where people rank their candidates, a quota must be reached before someone can claim their votes in the caucus. The candidate with the lowest number of people is eliminated after every round and those people must then go to their next preferred candidate. This process continues until all quotas are fulfilled.
While this process seems straight forward from an Irish perspective, it was decided that an app would be created to tabulate the results for each constituency across the state. The app ultimately failed and the tabulation process took much longer than should have been the case. As a result, a selection process that normally produces results in 30 minutes to 2 hours, has taken nearly a week to conclusively report. The opportunity to gain momentum and coverage and positive exposure for the party, afforded the President the opportunity to laugh.
The Democrats move on to New Hampshire this Tuesday. Things can only get better.
This article was submitted to the IrishCentral contributors network by a member of the global Irish community. To become an IrishCentral contributor click here.