(English is not my native language, please bear with me.)
My first memory of American politics: I am eight years old and Jimmy Carter is up for reelection, I watch him on Swedish television and I am attracted to his personality in a way that I can't quite understand. He seems warm and friendly, sure, but that's not quite it, there is something there that reminds me of the good grownups I have met in my life, a sense of humility, vulnerability, sincerity.
I was devastated when he lost, I couldn't understand what the American people saw in Ronald Reagan, I couldn't believe how cheaply the Teheran hostage crisis was used against him.
Also, I think this was when my lifelong affection for the Democratic party started.
As I grow older I became more aware of how involved the US was in other countries during the cold war, countries such as Chile, Nicaragua, Angola et al, and I saw how much harsher and more cynical the US behaved in especially Latin America during Republican administrations.
Sweden's geopolitical exposure to the Soviet Union could have made us more friendly to the more hawkish Republicans, but lingering animosity from the Vietnam War and a political discourse dominated by the Social democrats (some may have heard of prime minister Olof Palme), meant that the US was politically impopular in wide circles in Sweden during the eighties.
The Scandinavian countries, with strong welfare states, have a problem identifying with the Republican party. Or to put it more bluntly, I believe plenty of (politically aware) Scandinavians saw the Republican party as extreme long before the Tea Party came along.
Well, Mondale followed, and Dukakis. The Democratic party never disappointed me, it kept on nominating wonderful people for president (Mondale was funny and charming too), and I could never relate to the Republican candidates, they never struck me as very genuine or good people (which is a terribly naive and silly thing to say - but there it is.)
I wasn't a great fan of Bill Clinton but I understood that the the Democratic party had to move slightly to the centre since nominating wonderful liberals wasn't enough - unbelievably - to win elections.
I stayed up all night for Gore in 2000 and was in despair when Florida moved from blue to "too close to call" to red. I cried during John Kerry's concession speech in 2004 (my favourite candidate beside Carter and Mondale) and I was jubilant to see Obama win in 2008 and 2012.
But ultimately it's not about the political leaders (though I have to say Democrats have many great politicians; Barbara Boxer, Elisabeth Warren, I could go on naming names), it's about the important role of the Democratic party. The rise of evangelical right-wing anti-science christianity, right-wing antigovernment populism has turned the Republican party into a profoundly dangerous political party.
And I don't mean dangerous as in debt default and global financial mayhem, I think the Republican party is giving democracy itselt a bad name, which is not only perilous to the US but destabilising to the entire world.
I may never have the privilige to cast a vote for a Democratic candidate (we have some good politicians in Sweden too but what happens in the US is simply more important), but I stand in awe before you. Your fight is truly a good fight and in so many ways the future of the world depends on it.