The Bern

In Union Square last week you could feel the Bernie love. It was like a party for someone’s dad that all the kids in town wanted to be part of. Feel the Bern, a twitter hashtag that became a central part of Bernie’s official campaign was everywhere – on badges, bags, stickers and even tattoos. And on Primary day there was so much excitement and energy on the street it seemed possible that Mr Sanders just might take New York. This wasn’t to be, but the party isn’t over yet.

The Primary is idiosyncratic in that ‘the people’ decide who is going to be the party’s nomination for President. Well, some of the people anyway. Apparently you have to be registered as a Democrat or a Republican at least 6 months before the Primary to be able to vote. If you are registered as an Independent then you can’t vote. And even if you are registered for the two party system, you can still be struck off the register at the last minute, as some 125,000 voters were in Brooklyn. The NYC Board of Elections is run by commissioners nominated by the two parties, it is not directly answerable to the city. So weird things happen. Regularly. If I had a few spare years I might try and understand how the whole system works, but for now my thoughts turn to the Australian election and the comparatively brief window before July 2nd in which the players have to create slogans, print badges and crank up the tattoo parlors. If time runs out, maybe some of the badges here could be recycled…

Berniebadgesunion squareschlepvoteIMG_8466IMG_8468

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4 Responses to The Bern

    • I really wanted to get a sense of the election vibe and Union Square is usually the best place to go. I didn’t see anyone campaigning for Hillary and the only Trump message I saw was a piece of note paper on the back of a US postal truck saying ‘vote Trump 2016’…!

  1. Lyndl Marshall says:

    You do get around! The NY system is not a mystery. For those who wish to vote in a party’s primary, one needs to be a member of that party. I would caution my friends who wanted to be Independents that they were taking themselves out of the nominating process. I am a firm believer in closed primaries. Open primaries are open to all kinds of hijinks. Good reporting, thanks. And I agree on shortening the whole process. Unnecessary, expensive, exhausting…

    • Thanks Lyndl – it’s a learning process for me – but interesting to see the Mayor is offering $20M this morning as ‘incentive funding’ to the Election Board…..!

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