U.S. expats who are Democrats here are showing increasing support for U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, the Vermont politician who wants to be president.
The support was obvious at the U.S. Independence Day picnic July 4. Expats in the vicinity of the Democrats Abroad booth wore Sanders t-shirts.
Sanders is further to the left than his opponent for the nomination, Hillary Clinton. He advocates breaking up major Wall Street financial institutions, supports free health care for all, promotes more progressive taxation and seeks a federal minimum wage of $15 an hour. He also opposes the Keystone pipeline and international trade agreements and backs unionization of workers.
In a December op-ed piece in the Washington Post he asked:
“Do we continue the 40-year decline of our middle class and the growing gap between the very rich and everyone else, or do we fight for a progressive economic agenda that creates jobs, raises wages, protects the environment and provides health care for all? Are we prepared to take on the enormous economic and political power of the billionaire class, or do we continue to slide into economic and political oligarchy?”
His attraction here is based, in part, on disenchantment with President Barack Obama and concern that Mrs. Clinton carries too much political baggage to be elected if Republicans field a viable opponent.
Typically overseas political organizations do not support candidates before a party nomination. But individual U.S. citizens can make political donations and urge others to vote for their candidate.
Sanders, 73, is serving his second term in the U.S. Senate. He entered as an independent. He was mayor of Burlington, Vermont, before winning a congressional seat.
Affinity also is a consideration. One outspoken expat at the picnic said he was supporting Sanders because the candidate also was Jewish. Religion aside, members of Democrats Abroad here generally are seen to be more liberal than the average party member.