Engaging in the US election from Cardiff

What is it like for Americans in Cardiff watching the US presidential election from across the pond? Voting in the nomination process is in full swing and tomorrow could be a pivotal day for the six candidates who are running.

It’s a long way to the White House and choosing the next president of the United States isn’t simple. Though the general election – where ballots are cast for the next president of America – isn’t until 8 November, the voting going on right now is for the nomination of one candidate to represent each of America’s main political parties: one Democrat and one Republican.

Two Democrats and four Republicans are currently competing in a series of state contests to gain their party’s nomination. This summer, only one Democrat and one Republican candidate will emerge. The two will continue campaigning throughout the autumn until the general election.

One way of collecting votes during the nomination process is via primaries – people showing up at a neighborhood polling place to vote for a candidate by ballot. For Americans abroad, voting in the primaries can mean casting a ballot via post, which is what Cardiff University postgraduate student Raychel Santo did.

29% of eligible Americans have cast their votes in the primaries so far. Photo: CC

“If I were in the States right now, I’d definitely be helping out, volunteering and door-campaigning to get people to come out and vote,” says Santo.

Zack Khoubane works in a bike shop in Cardiff and has lived in the UK for over ten years. Khoubane says he hasn’t voted in the primaries. “I’m not a great follower in politics,” says Khoubane.

For Professor Jonathan Erichsen, watching the election from a distance isn’t easy. “I probably feel the same as my non-American colleagues here. I’m aghast at what is going on particularly with the Republican party.”

Trump is in the lead as the Republican party’s presidential nominee. Photo: CC

Donald Trump is now the frontrunner in the Republican party’s nominating race. Thus, the Republican party is in a state of crisis because many of the party’s senior leaders disagree with Trump’s views, including his stance on immigrants and Muslims.

Denis Campbell is a British-American businessman and commentator on American politics who believes that Trump’s popularity stems from his dismissal of facts and logic. Campbell says: “The people who made the decision to follow Trump are doing it based on a gut feeling. They like the way he looks, the way he talks, he talks tough and he tells it like it is.”

Trump is 74 delegates short of the 1237 Republican delegate majority. Photo: CC

So far, Donald Trump has got more than half of the number of delegates he needs in order to win the nomination for the Republican party. Delegates are individuals such as party activists and local party leaders who represent their respective parties after the primaries are over.

The candidate who accumulates a majority of his/her party’s delegates during the primaries wins the presidential nomination and continues on to the general election. Tomorrow could be significant because the primaries will be held in five US states – some of which have a large number of delegates up for grabs.

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  • Denis Campbell
    Denis Campbell

    Raychel Santo
    Raychel Santo

    Zack Khoubane
    Zack Khoubane

    Jonathen Erichsen
    Jonathan Erichsen

    Democrats abroad

    Republicans overseas