Americans in Australia are eagerly awaiting next week’s US election

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Four years ago, Craig Boden voted for Donald Trump.

“I voted for Trump because I thought he was going to be a breath of fresh air for the American political system,” he told SBS News.

Mr Boden describes himself as an independent voter who leans right, but says his pick for president in 2020 isn’t so clear.

Born and raised in Boston, a resident of Hong Kong and now living in Brisbane, the 46-year-old says he remains undecided ahead of the election on 3 November.

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“[Democratic candidate Joe] Biden is running on a platform of ‘vote for me because I’m not Trump’ that, to me, is not good enough. And obviously, Trump is Trump, so I’m frustrated and I’m still up in the air,” he said. 

But there is no such hesitation for Michael Shafran.

US citizen Michael Shafran has lived in Australia for almost two decades.

Catalina Florez/SBS News

“It’s a no brainer for me; I will be voting for Joe Biden. I will vote for just about anybody but Donald Trump, he’s definitely, for me, the worst president of my lifetime,” he said. 

The New York native has lived in Australia for almost two decades and runs a bagel bakery in Sydney.

He is a registered Democrat and has always voted in US elections, so 2020 is no different.

“Donald Trump is a New Yorker, I grew up with Donald Trump. Everyone in New York … doesn’t like Donald Trump, he’s incredibly unpopular in his home state because we know he’s a fraud,” he claimed. 

“Trump is talking about ‘absentee ballots are going to result in fraud’, but both he and I vote via mail and I voted by mail for 19 years without a hitch.”

Americans abroad

While there are tens of thousands of kilometres between Australia and the US, their ties diplomatically, financially and socially are close. 

The 100,000 Americans who call Australia home form the sixth-largest US population in the world. 

They are most likely to live in New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). 

Graph showing the number of US-born migrants coming to Australia has increased.

The number of US-born migrants coming to Australia has increased.

ABS

There are about three million Americans abroad who are entitled to vote, with Canada being home to the largest population, followed by the UK. In both, Mr Biden is more popular than Mr Trump. 

While Mr Boden and Mr Shafran come from different starting points, they have arrived at the same conclusion; both think Mr Biden will win.

Mr Boden thinks before COVID-19, Mr Trump had followed through on his pledge to strengthen the economy but says his response to the pandemic will be the undoing of the man he voted for in 2016.

 

“COVID-19 isn’t Trump’s fault but what is Trump’s fault is a lack of a top-down federal government approach to fighting this deadly disease,” he said.

“America is four per cent of the world’s population, we have [approximately] 20 per cent of the world’s deaths due to COVID-19. That’s unacceptable.” 

He is hoping for better presidential choices in the future.

“There are 152 million people in the United States that are able to run for the presidency. These are our two choices. That, to me, is an abomination.”

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