Sanders tops Glasgow poll in Iowa Democratic caucus

By Ross Grahame

Iowans in Glasgow were among the first in the world to cast a vote in the 2020 US Democratic Primary race.

The overseas caucus was organised and chaired by Strathclyde’s own post-graduate student Colyn Burbank, a member of the Iowa Democratic Party.

Held on Monday 3 February the turnout was much higher than expected, with nearly  50 people crammed into a flat in Glasgow and included a strong media presence.

Iowans came from across Glasgow, Edinburgh and even Germany to take part in the early vote for the next Democratic candidate.

Unlike the wider Iowa caucus which was plagued by technical issues with an App and delays to the results being published, the Iowa caucus in Glasgow ran smoothly with no major issues. The caucus was celebrated as “a special moment of possibility for positive change” by the Iowan voters.

The caucus was dominated by the further left-wing Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren supporters. Iowans referenced the NHS several times, and how they want a more European health system in the US arguing in a Sanders presidency.

One Iowan said he looked forward to the day he can “make health decisions, not financial decisions” when sick or injured. The influence of living in Europe affected the caucus and likely strengthened the left-wing Bernie Sanders campaign.

Former Vice President Joe Biden did not have a single supporter in the Glasgow caucus, mirroring Biden’s disappointing night in the rest of the state. And former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg only received a small number of votes in Glasgow despite his surprise joint-victory in the state generally.

Iowans had mixed predictions for the general election in November this year to take on Donald Trump regardless of whoever the Democratic nominee is.

Colyn spoke about the “really hard fight…it’s going to get ugly”, predicting a divisive campaign like Trump’s victory in 2016.

Other Iowans spoke about a disconnect to the American electorate, sharing: “I can’t trust the American public”.

However, the caucus was celebrated as a bridge keeping the Iowans involved in the US election. One Iowan, Lucy, said that the caucus and election was the “first time I have ever felt something politically in my life”.

Iowa is always the first state to vote for candidates in the Democratic and Republican party primaries that conclude in July later this year. Events held by the group “Democrats Abroad” will be taking place across the UK until July allowing Americans living elsewhere to vote.