Saturday, May 07, 2016

On the Eve of the Guam Primary


People on Guam do not get to vote for the President of the United States.

As one scholar at UOG loves to mention, just about no one in the United States gets to vote for President either, as the Constitution makes clear that the electoral college determines the leader of the executive branch, not the will of the general population.

But this misses the point when people say that people on Guam don't get to vote for President.

Guam, as a territory, a colony, doesn't have any electoral college votes.

We get to pretend that we can vote.

The Government of Guam prints out ballots that we can fill out, and we get to participate in a very fancy straw poll.

As the electoral college votes are tallied, Guam is absent from the constitution of the United States through red and blue shapes on computer and tv monitors.

It is an interesting reminder of the delicacy of Guam's political connection to the United States.

All it takes is the will of a group of people in Washington D.C. or in the media, and suddenly Guam doesn't exist anymore. 

But sometimes, during Presidential campaign seasons, Guam does matter and it does exist.

In 2008, the race between Obama and Clinton was very tight and every delegate could matter.

As such, the primaries towards the end of the schedule, which normally aren't supposed to matter, suddenly do.

Guam got attention, not all of it friendly, from Democratic leaning and mainstream media.

We are at a similar point today, where some slight media attention is turning to Guam. Where candidates and their family members have penned platforms or letters to the people of Guam, asking for their support.

Unlike with the general election, these votes do matter, as Guam's delegates get counted into the total, and either Hillary or Bernie can claim the island as an important symbolic victory.

Below are some recent articles about the Democratic primary in Guam tomorrow.

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Clinton and Sanders scrap for delegates in Guam
By

The lingering race for the Democratic presidential nomination is moving to an unlikely battleground this week: the tiny island territory of Guam.

Both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are running radio advertisements on the Western Pacific island, costing each candidate more than $10,000, before Democrats cast their ballots in the island’s caucuses this Saturday.

Clinton went up on the airwaves first, according to data provided by the media-monitoring company The Tracking Firm. She reserved about $22,000 on a number of stations on the island, beginning Tuesday and running through Saturday.

Sanders responded on Thursday, making a $12,000 outlay through Saturday on many of the same stations.

Persuasion efforts on the island haven’t been limited to radio advertising: Chelsea Clinton penned an op-ed supporting her mother’s campaign for the Pacific Daily News published on Wednesday. “My mom is running to break down all the barriers that still stand in our way, and Guam has more than its fair share of barriers,” she wrote for the paper. “I hope that the people of Guam know that a President Hillary Clinton would pay attention to Guam and Guam’s issues and fight every day to provide the same ladders to opportunity as on the mainland.”

Guam will send 12 delegates to the Democratic convention this summer — seven pledged delegates and five superdelegates.

The candidates themselves won’t be traveling to Guam — they are focused on the primary in West Virginia next Tuesday, and the May 17 primaries in Kentucky and Oregon.

Voting in Guam will be conducted Saturday from 10 a.m. through 8 p.m. local time at a shopping mall in the capital of Hagåtña. The caucus is closed to non-Democrats, but already-enrolled voters can register with the party at the caucus site.

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Hillary Clinton Receives Three Key Guam Endorsements
Tony Azios
Guam Daily Post
May 2, 2016

Three of Guam’s key Democratic leaders have announced their endorsement of Hillary Clinton for U.S. president, ahead of the island’s May 7 caucus between the former secretary of state and Sen. Bernie Sanders.

“I strongly endorse Hillary Clinton for president,” said Guam Delegate Madeleine Bordallo through a press release issued by Hillary for America, Clinton’s official campaign. “There is no one more prepared to tackle the challenges that face our next president more than Hillary.”

“It is an honor and a privilege to endorse Secretary Hillary Clinton,” said Taling Taitano, Democratic national committeewoman for Guam.

“Hillary Clinton has the strength, compassion and principled leadership that we need in a president,” said Sen. Rory Respicio, Democratic national committeeman for Guam. “She is knowledgeable about the issues important to the people of Guam, and she will be a great leader for the nation.”

The triple endorsement comes on the wings of several critical East Coast primary victories for Clinton on Tuesday. With Clinton winning four out of five state primary contests and furthering a massive lead in both pledged and unpledged delegates, Sanders’ presidential campaign is increasingly seen as unviable, with no realistic path to securing the Democratic presidential nomination.

Guam’s delegates

Still, Guam’s 12 Democratic delegate votes are being pursued by both candidates as Clinton tries to wrap up the party’s nomination process to pivot toward the general election and Sanders attempts to close the delegate gap and gain leverage to push for platform concessions.

Sanders’ campaign also released its official Guam platform earlier this week, spelling out the candidate’s positions on issues such as the territory's political status, his support of war time reparations, Compact of Free Association impact funding, and managing the growing military presence.

Clinton’s Democratic National Committee supporters rebutted through endorsements, pointing to Clinton’s personal experience with Guam and knowledge of the challenges it faces.
“Having visited Guam twice, she knows our critical issues such as Compact impact, self-determination and the strategic role Guam plays in national security,” Taitano said in the press release.

“She understands the issues important to the people of Guam, and I know that with her in the White House, we will have a friend who works to address federal issues that impact the lives of our people,” Bordallo said.

Guam's presidential caucus for the Democratic nominee is on May 7 and allows for same-day voter registration.

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Hillary Clinton is a friend of Guam and the right choice to be our Democratic nominee and the next president of the United States.

I have known Hillary for most of my years of public service. We were first ladies together when Bill Clinton was governor of Arkansas and Ricky was governor of Guam; she was first lady of the United States during most of my two terms as lieutenant governor; and she served as a U.S. senator from New York and then Secretary of State during my time as Guam’s representative in Congress. I have always known Hillary to be an intelligent and motivated individual who works hard to positively affect change for others.

Throughout her life of public service, Hillary has fought for justice and equality for women, children and families, the middle class and working Americans, and the poor and underprivileged. She has been a strong advocate for Guam and has supported many issues important to our island and our people. Throughout her career, she has visited Guam on several occasions, and she understands well the challenges that we face as an island in an increasingly volatile part of the world.

As a senator, she supported efforts to resolve war claims for the survivors of the Japanese occupation of Guam and to improve benefits and advocated for more assistance to be provided to the U.S. territories. She was also keenly aware of the challenges of Compact-Impact in the affected jurisdictions, and I know she would work with members of Congress from the affected jurisdictions to find innovative ways to solve this challenge.

As secretary of state, Hillary was a key architect of the rebalance strategy to the Asia-Pacific region. She understood that America must have a strong presence in our region and that the future of trade and security for our country will depend in large part on the stability of the Asia-Pacific region. I know that as president she would continue to focus on the Asia-Pacific region.

In addition to supporting these issues, it is Hillary’s passion and devotion to making real change that will positively impact our residents and millions of Americans across our country that makes me confident that Hillary is the best candidate for president of the United States.

In 1995, I led the Guam delegation where Hillary gave her now-famous speech to the United Nations Fourth World Congress on Women in Beijing, where she proclaimed that “human rights are women’s rights, and women’s rights are human rights.” This sentiment has been the foundation of her career of public service.

She will fight for those who need it most and will not give up until everyone is treated with the dignity and respect that they deserve, and that everyone can compete on a level playing field. Hillary has demonstrated time and time again that she can get things done and has the results to prove it.
We need effective leadership in Washington, given the challenges posed by extremely conservative elements of the Republican Party.

I’m with Hillary Clinton this election. I encourage our Guam Democrats to join me in voting for her on May 7 to be our nominee and the next president of the United States. Let us help Hillary break the bamboo ceiling in national politics to become the first female president of the United States.

Madeleine Z. Bordallo is the Guam delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives. She previously served as lieutenant governor of Guam, senator in the 16th, 19th, 20th, 21st and 22nd Guam Legislatures, and first lady of Guam.

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As the Guam Caucus approaches, the people of Guam have to consider who to support for president. I believe the best choice for Guam is Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Sanders opposed the war in Iraq and fought for and won expanded and improved education and health benefits to U.S. veterans. As chairman of the Senate Veterans Committee, Sanders authored a comprehensive veterans bill that expanded health options for veterans.

Sanders continues to fight for the progressive values of the Democratic Party, including universal health insurance and providing equality of opportunity to all young people. His Medicare for All universal single-payer health insurance plan would eliminate premiums, deductibles and co-pays for all Americans, including people who live in the territories, replacing them with a progressive income tax. According to the health plan, the average American family would save over $5,000 per year.

Just as important to young adults is Sanders’ plans for tuition-free college at public colleges and universities. This means that at institutions like the Guam Community College and the University of Guam, students would save thousands of dollars a year and more of our high school graduates and GED-earners would be more likely to be able to continue their education.

Sanders has recently released the most comprehensive policy platform addressing Guam’s issues of any presidential candidate of all time. He firmly supports equal voting rights for Guamanians, including fair representation in Congress, and the people of Guam’s right to self-determination.
Sanders has a large lead among independents that can transform the landscape of this presidential election. Sanders is the only serious contender for president who has favorable opinion ratings and wins virtually every matchup against any Republican challenger.

I am certain that when Sanders is the nominee for president, he will win and follow through on his support for Guam’s issues.

Julian Janssen is a resident of Tamuning.

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