A few days back, Hillary Rodham Clinton accepted the nomination in the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia officially ending the US Primaries, and starting the campaign for the white house. Ahead are three months of all kinds of campaigning, mudslinging and message.
I worked covering the primary elections of the Democratic party for the Portland Tribune, in the city of Portland, Oregon, a state situated between Washington State and California, which is often literally a stop between Seattle and San Francisco. A thriving, growing Portland that is still very much in the shadows of the older Washington sister and the giant cities of California, the world 6th economy.
Oregon ended as a double toss up this general election season, double toss up first, because it was ignored by the nominee due to it Sanders strong support, and ignored by the republicans due to it strong Democratic leaning. And that was just the primaries, on the general election it tends to be flown over by the presidential candidates, specially by the Republicans. National politics do end up feeling as something foreign.
May 17th was the deadline for voting in the Oregon Voting System, where ballots are all treated like absentee ballots and you can mail them or if you wait to the last minute, drop it off at the official 24 hour drop boxes across town. 8:00 PM was when polls closed and Oregon would start counting. At stake there were a number of local initiatives, school bonds, local, and mostly unopposed non-partisan offices, Portland Mayor, and primaries. Registered democrats and republicans will pick their candidates for November races including the Governor, and their representatives to the US Senate, and of course their nominee for president of the United States of America.
My assignment was to cover both presidential democratic campaign parties, but the story ended up in the background due to more local focus on mayoral and gubernatorial campaigns. As the news were poring all day, it was a correct assumption that I'd visit the Clinton camp first in time for the results in Kentucky to move to the Sander's camp at the time of his stump speech webcasted live from California, where the last real battle of the campaign would be fought, and with great polemics that will hunt the DNC going on to the presidential race against the Republican nominee Donald Trump.
During the Democratic National Convention, the intensity of the Bernie Sanders fans was international news, and not surprisingly, after my coverage of Sander's campaign stops in Southwest Washington and Oregon, the passion contrast was obvious from the first moment. While at the Clinton campaign there was a lot of optimism and collected enthusiasm, at Bernie's camp, the youth and the energy were extraordinary.
The way Bernie Sanders carried the message to voters that are usually absent from the process was remarkable. It will be imperative for the win in November for the Clinton campaign to be able to harvest as much of that energy as possible. As successful as the DNC was, it is still a question how Hillary Clinton is going to bring back to the fold all the "Berniers", and how much the "Bernie or Bust" movement will really flock in meaningful numbers to alternative parties such as the Green Party or the Libertarians.