PARIS — This was a caucus like Iowans had never seen before: Voters from Egypt, Italy, Amsterdam and beyond descended on a Paris town hall Monday to choose their Democratic candidate for the 2020 election.
Some are serving at U.S. military bases, some are studying in foreign capital, and some had never met another Iowan abroad until Monday. Some used to vote Republican. And they all loved being able to caucus outside Iowa for the first time, huddled in a municipal meeting room up the street from the Louvre Museum.
Only 17 voters took part in the Paris caucus, so the result says little about the political direction of the state.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s corner drew the biggest crowd, putting her on top with eight votes, followed by Sen. Bernie Sanders and Sen. Amy Klobuchar. South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg made it into the first round but didn’t make the decisive final “alignment.” No one voted for former Vice President Joe Biden.
The voters erupted in frequent laughter, exchanged social media handles and begged for each others’ votes. They celebrated Midwest values and European public health care systems — and debated passionately about how best to beat President Donald Trump.
They’re all part of a new experiment aimed at making Iowa’s unusual voting process more inclusive by allowing caucuses outside the state. Paris was one of just three international satellite caucus locations.
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Jessica and Aaron Beckman of Waterloo flew across the Mediterranean from their posting in Cairo to support Sanders in Paris.
“Because we’re in the military, this is the first time we’re actually able to caucus,” Jessica Beckman said. “It’s a great opportunity.”
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