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Cablegate: Super Tuesday in Surabaya

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RR RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHJS #0021 0440136
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 130136Z FEB 08
FM AMCONSUL SURABAYA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0157
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS
RUEHWL/AMEMBASSY WELLINGTON 0076
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 0078
RHHMUNA/HQ USPACOM HONOLULU HI
RUEHJA/AMEMBASSY JAKARTA 0144
RUEHJS/AMCONSUL SURABAYA 0162

UNCLAS SURABAYA 000021

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR EAP, EAP/PD, R, ECA, IIP

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGPV KISL KPAO ID
SUBJECT: SUPER TUESDAY IN SURABAYA

1. (U) Summary: Congen Surabaya hosted a Super Tuesday
Election event at the Consul General's residence for 35 invited
guests from the media, local political parties, and academia.
The Consulate's Pol/Econ Officer and Public Affairs Officer led
a discussion of Blue State vs. Red State dynamics, focusing on
their own home states of New York and Utah, in addition to
giving a basic explanation of the Electoral College and the role
of state primaries. Guests posed questions about U.S. political
life and the mechanics of voting in the U.S. Invitees made
their preference known in a mock primary election by voting for
Barrack Obama, who spent four years of his childhood in
Indonesia. End Summary.

Red, Blue, and Purple
--------------------------

2. (U) Following an introduction by Consul General, Surabaya's
Pol/Econ Officer gave an outline of U.S. presidential elections
and the Electoral College. He introduced the 'Red State - Blue
State' phenomenon from the 2000 and 2004 election results. By
using a map with election results colored in shades of red,
blue, or purple to indicate its support for Republican or
Democratic candidates, guests could see that supporters of both
parties live throughout the United States. The country is
actually more 'purple' than the red/blue divide would indicate.
Surabaya's Public Affairs Officer discussed the touchstone
issues that are likely to determine whether a state is 'blue' or
'red.' His home state of Utah (which was red even on the
predominately purple map) served as a useful model for
explaining issues and demographics typical of red-state voters.

Super Wednesday in Indonesia
-------------------------------------

3. (U) Election commissioners, Islamic social institution
leaders, university and college faculty members, local and
national media outlets, and representatives from six different
political parties attended the event, which was actually held on
Wednesday due to time zone differences. Senator Barrack Obama
received 20 of 25 votes in a mock primary election. Guests
agreed that Obama's higher name recognition resulted from his
four years as a grade school student in Jakarta. Trailing
Obama, John McCain led a group of five other candidates who also
garnered some support. After the mock primary, focus shifted to
the televisions as official results from western states were
announced.

Who's Going to Win?
-----------------------------

4. (U) Intense interest in the campaign and the electoral
process was clear during the question and answer session.
Guests raised questions about the importance of a candidates'
experience to voters, the voter registration process, and race
relations, among others. One journalist wanted to understand
Barrack Obama's ability to score victories in states without a
large African American community -- like Iowa. Their questions
demonstrated the depth to which these participants are following
the American political process.

5. (U) Guests told Consulate Officers that they came away from
the event with a greater understanding of the role of political
parties, a better knowledge of issues Americans deem important,
and a sense of how "open" our campaign process is despite its
complexities. Media coverage of the event was extensive and
universally positive. Most of the five papers that covered the
event highlighted Obama's victory in the straw poll but also
included the discussions and some of the questions and answers.
We anticipate a continuing and growing interest in Indonesia
about the U.S. elections and will continue to use this as an
opportunity to encourage democratic reforms and political
participation.

MCCLELLAND

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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