April 04, 2024

April 2024 Newsletter



Every month I consider what I want to open with, always with the intention of getting you engaged, your ballots requested, registered to vote and maybe getting other people to register to vote. I probably follow the news more intensely than most - I’m definitely over-informed, and I usually wish I could just hit delete. But I can’t - and while much of the news is dismal and frustrating and even alarming, sometimes there are glimmers of hope that the movie really doesn’t end like this. A recent event struck me in this way.

Many of you probably caught at least a whiff of last week's Ronna McDaniel/NBC fiasco (it seems like last year now - it wasn’t). The amazing thing was what followed - a virtual insurrection by the entire line up of MSNBC news anchors AND a few surprises over at NBC. Collectively, on-air and in full view, they built a narrative about democracy and the importance of a free press as a bulwark against misinformation, lies, and corporate interests. We will never know, but it certainly felt coordinated and impassioned. Of course MSNBC has been the hallmark for leftist values - but that’s not all they are. These “hosts” - Morning Joe, Nicole Wallace, Joyce Reid, Chris Hayes, Lawrence O’Donnell - of course, Rachel Maddow - are masterful storytellers - and let us not underestimate the power of good storytelling.

Why do we care? Because a healthy democracy depends on a strong, committed and powerful free press, one which not only investigates the truth, but serves it up in a way that makes sense out of crazy. That’s been hard to come by in the digital age, with corporate interests having taken over our most iconic newspapers and virtually all of the television networks. You have to spend too much time digging around and corroborating information so you know it’s true or that the framing isn’t skewed. AI is going to make this even harder. It’s exhausting and making more of us turn away, believing nothing and not knowing whom to trust.

The saying goes that one person can make a difference - but I don’t buy that. One water molecule isn’t moist; one ant can’t do anything. One person may make some noise, but If ONE of those journalists had stood up and made a statement, you might have seen it cross your social media, but it would have gone largely unnoticed. But the entire line-up? It was the all-stars passing the baton from 2-11pm - and they created such a pressure point that the parent network (NBC) had to listen. Rachel Maddow helpfully teed up the off-ramp, saying Sometimes, we make mistakes. It’s a sign of strength to admit it. Less than 80 hours after she had been hired, Ronna McDonald’s career as a TV “contributor” was over.

The point is, even though it feels hopeless, or you feel like your vote doesn’t matter because you’re in a blue city or a blue state, or you’re angry at any variety of issues - your vote is critical. We are fighting to protect democracy - it’s that simple. And if that’s not enough, everything you value is on the line: social security, medicare, a woman’s right to bodily autonomy, the climate, taxing billionaires.

This is not hyperbole - Trump is a sociopath who has made it clear what he intends to do if he gains power. Please don’t sit this one out. Find your inner warrior, and fight for a better world. If all this falls in the United States, it will find it’s way across the very small ocean to your little escape valve called Portugal.

Why do you vote? You vote because you still can.


Okay then - there’s lots of things to share as per usual. Lots of events. Lots of ways to get involved.


Our sole mission at Democrats Abroad is to make sure all Democrats are voting. We have important primaries ahead of us. If you are from New York or a swing state - or if you haven't yet requested your ballots, please do so. Got to Vote From Abroad and request your ballot.

Pease reach out for help or questions.

NEXT: Join our Get Out The Vote team!

Stage 1 of our GOTV efforts is done. We called virtually all of our 1700 members - at least those who gave us their permission. We learned that many of you did not yet request your ballots but appreciated the reminder. Many of you voted in the Presidential Primary - a critical step in the process for giving Democrats Abroad power at the 2024 Convention in Chicago. The result? Little tiny Portugal is 7th in the world for voting - after the biggest countries in the world with the most active and oldest chapters. We also have had almost a 150% increase in ballot requests over 2020 - thats 35% of our members. Sorry to get nerdy here, but the next largest country request is Germany at only 12.5%. This is both a reflection of our growing membership and the hard work of a fantastic group of volunteers. On behalf of leadership, I want to give a huge thank you.

Stage 2 is starting with regional groups getting together to write postcards. We will be focussing on members who have opted out of emails and calls, the swing state voters and generations who don’t answer their phone (you know who you are!).

Stage 3 will be later in the summer as the global campaigns begin in earnest. Please consider joining our phone-bank team for this late stage reach-out. We need you.

If you are interested in phone-banking or joining teams for postcarding, please contact Rick Poulin at [email protected] or me at [email protected]


APRIL 7, 2pm ZOOM: Defending Democracy: The Vital Role of a Free Press in the Age of Disinformation. Author and Journalism Professor, Jessica Roberts leads a conversation about how the teaching and practice of journalism is not meeting our current reality. The timing of this could not be more relevant. Her latest book: https://www.intellectbooks.com/effective-journalism


Meet-ups: Our various regions are organizing and growing. We will be having monthly meet-ups all over the country: Cascais, Lisbon, the Algarve, Porto, Setubal. Please look to our Events page for up-to-date information about where and when as locations and times will change. Some of these will be action oriented, some will have speakers, some will be planning. ALL have the over-arching goal of increasing membership and helping people to register to vote and request ballots.


We are averaging about 90 new members a month - this doesn’t happen organically but is the result of hard work. Please consider joining your local team or getting a friend to join Democrats Abroad, so we can more easily help them get registered. Let’s not leave one stone untouched!


As Election Day nears and with it the hard reality that Trump could win, we are having more and more members join our team. The easiest lift is to join your local group. Please reach out to me and I will connect you to the proper leader of your region.We need someone to help organize the Silver Coast - compared to other regions, we are not organized or growing. It’s a big area, and it would be fine to break into smaller areas (Coimbra, Tomar, Caldas/Nazare/Alcobaca), but we need some local folks to raise their hands. If you have organizing skills and live in this area, please reach out to me.

Social Media/Communications - If you are comfortable posting on Facebook and Instagram, please join our incredible Communications team. We need one or two more people. Ditto if you have advertising or Project Management experience - it will help us in both creative brainstorming and organization.

Fundraising: We could really use some expertise in fundraising. Or someone willing to organize a fundraiser. Our coffers are woefully low - and getting out the vote costs money. Please consider donating - no matter how much or little, it will help us reach people. Currently the small group of volunteers are not only doing the bulk of the work, but making in kind donations so we can buy postage, make T-shirts, plan tabling events this summer. Thank you in advance!!

Volunteer Opportunities and More

Donation: Please consider making a donation - again, in order to gain traction, we have certain costs. Right now, the people organizing are also having to pony up the money, for postcards, postage, flyers, posters, banners - not to mention hosting meet-ups and in-person events. If you can’t or don’t want to volunteer - please consider making either a one-time or monthly donation.

And please make sure to donate to Portugal and not global.



As always, things to think about:

Ezra Klein on Birthrates Plummeting and why you should care: 

Simon Rosenberg is a fan favorite and big friend to Democrats Abroad. Here is a gift article from the New York Times: Simon Rosenberg

Heather Cox Richardson on recent shenanigans and in support of voting.

The Atlantic - a gift article so please read within 2 weeks - The Rise of Techno-Authoritarianism

and to calm your brain...Something that has nothing to do with politics:

Ten Percent Happier


Sending lots of hope and good energy. Feel free to reach out.

Sally DeSipio, Chair DA Portugal

[email protected]

DA Portugal