MORNINGTON—The Victorian branch of Democrats Abroad Australia (DAA-VIC) met this past weekend at Kirks on the Esplanade – a gorgeous coastal area on the Mornington Peninsula situated adjacent to Port Phillip Bay, to discuss current get-out-the-vote (GOTV) efforts, party reforms, advocacy efforts, and dissatisfaction with the current administration.
DAA-VIC members briefly discussed how the Democratic National Committee (DNC) has taken significant steps to unify its members before the 2018 mid-terms and the 2020 presidential election. From August 23-25, party leaders will convene in Chicago to adopt changes to the delegate process for the party’s convention. Democrats Abroad’s eight DNC members are expected to attend and will cast their votes on the re-designed plan. Moreover, chapter members were in agreement on the party’s strategy to not only criticize Republican policies on their obvious weaknesses, as was done in 2016 but to also emphasize to voters what the Democratic Party stands for.
With a little over 100 days until the U.S. General Election, chaos reigns within Republican ranks. In just the past few days, a Trump judicial nominee was withdrawn after a Republican senator discovered past racist writings by the nominee and openly opposed his appointment; politicians have questioned the patriotism of the president and the direction of the Republican party; and dozens of lawmakers are scratching their heads after the recent Trump-Putin summit conducted in complete privacy. DAA-VIC members conversed over these recent developments and were motivated more than ever to get out the vote for Americans residing abroad.
Since the age of Trump, Democrats are winning elections in red-state races that Republicans never thought possible. After a robust discussion about how the president continues to willfully ignore the U.S. intelligence community’s unanimous conclusion of Russian interference in the 2016 election, and how he refuses to hold Russia responsible for its blatant attack on American democracy, chapter members were clearly fired up in taking action.
“Politicians’ actions in my home state of North Carolina have been, shall we say, less than ideal. I assure you I’m 100 percent voting in November,” stated Elizabeth, a DAA-VIC member.
“I’ll make phone calls, contact my congress-members, write people -- I’m ready to do whatever it takes,” remarked Lucy, another attendee and long-time U.S. expat.
Melissa, a local member and proud organizer of the Women’s March in Melbourne, offered her thoughts: “I’m surprised and .frustrated to feel that I’m fighting for equal pay, representation and fundamental human rights where it feels we’ve taken a giant leap backwards in every way that matters and in a way our forefathers would be horrified by.”
The chapter’s vice chair, Marybeth Yarosh – who is currently on travel in the U.S. and Europe – spoke briefly after the Mornington meeting and strongly urged for chapter members to keep up the pressure and activism. “Although we live across the ocean from our voting districts, it’s easy to get complacent and feel powerless against repeated attacks on our rights as American citizens. But we’re reminded that we’re not alone. Our opinions matter, we have voices and we need to use them. Every moment that passes is an opportunity to let Republicans get away with destroying America’s values, or an opportunity to do something about it.” Yarosh went on to encourage all Victorian members to become more involved in whatever suits your preference. Democrats Abroad continues to push out meaningful “Tiny Actions” which take only moments to complete every week. The party also has several caucuses available to join for members to take even more actions for those wanting to step up in volunteering.
Members and all other Americans living in Victoria are reminded to check their voting eligibility status with their home jurisdictions if they have not done so already, and to ensure that absentee ballots are cast in their state’s primary as well as the election in November.
Democrats Abroad is the official arm of the U.S. Democratic Party for Americans residing outside of U.S. states and territories. The Victoria chapter of Democrats Abroad Australia is an active group of members whose primary focus is exercising their right to vote from abroad and electing Democratic candidates, in addition to raising awareness of and advocating for issues that concern Americans living abroad.