News - November 1, 2012

Romney? No, Obama

American Wageningers are following the elections closely. 'It's humbling to get to vote in such important elections.'

Jennifer Lenhart campaigning.
The American presidential elections promise to be a neck-and-neck race.
How do American students and staff in Wageningen see the contest? 'Personally I find it quite peaceful to follow the elections from the Netherlands,' says Scott Brainard, MSc student of Plant Sciences. 'The campaign is an enormous media circus in which you are swamped by adverts. Now I can just quietly read about it in the newspaper.' There is certainly no shortage of attention to the elections in the Dutch media. But that does not surprise him. 'After all, the result will have an effect on the rest of the world.'
'It is humbling, indeed,' says Jennifer Lenhart, PhD student of Environmental Policy. 'The fact that you get to vote in an election which is so important that the whole world is influenced by it.' But she is worried too. About the tremendous polarization between right and left, for example. As well as the ever larger amounts of money available for venting these opposing views.
Lenhart is on the board of Democrats Abroad, an organization that helps Americans living overseas to vote. That is more difficult that it appears, she adds: the rules are different for each state, and even for each county. She has already posted her vote, for Obama. Brainard is going for the candidate from the left-wing Justice Party. He comes from one of the 'blue states' which are sure to vote for Obama. 'So my vote is not needed to keep Romney out of the White House.' Brainard does not know yet where he will be on election day. Lenhart will follow the results live at a big party in Amsterdam. With mixed feelings. 'American politics is frustrating, but it's fascinating too. And in spite if everything I do believe change is possible.'