Message from DA Spain Chair and Vice-Chair
It’s October, and for Americans that means Halloween. I’m all about the candy, but the horror and fright parts, not so much. In fact the last scary movie I saw was “The Shining” in the summer of 1980. I went to the movie with my roommate, and she and I slept with the lights on for two weeks after that.
So I know scary when I see it, and I see it in the news every day. My current nightmare is the polling numbers in the Virginia gubernatorial race. The Republican in this race is a Trump darling who refuses to state his positions on important issues such as women’s reproductive rights. He does think it’s a shame that Virginia expanded health coverage to more of its citizens, and that Virginia needs restrictions on voting despite little or no evidence of voting fraud in the state. Despite these derelictions, Youngkin and the Democratic candidate, former Governor Terry McAuliffe, are virtually in a dead heat at this point.
Democrats Abroad is working hard to elect McAuliffe, supporting him with social media initiatives, direct mailings, and phone banking. Many of our members in Spain have joined in this effort, and today I’m asking you to do the same. If you’re available to help, please reach out to us at [email protected]. We need you!
Thanks, Kathy and Carlos
Calls to Action
Virginia State Elections Information
Election Deadline is November 2! Vote NOW
Virginia voters, mail back your ballots as soon as possible. Virginia will allow voters to fix mistakes on their ballot, like not having a witness signature, but only if your ballot is received by Friday, October 29. *Remember: you must have a witness sign your ballot!
Ballots must be postmarked by November 2, at 7pm and received by November 5, at 12 Noon EST.
DON’T HAVE YOUR BALLOT? There’s Still Time! Go to www.votefromabroad.org and follow the prompts to fill out the form to request your ballot. To ensure you receive your ballot in time, please check the box to have your blank ballot sent to you by “Email/Online” or “Fax”.
ALREADY VOTED? Thank you for returning your ballot for the VA State elections. Now, be sure to confirm that it was accepted--make sure your vote is counted! Track your ballot online using this website: https://vote.elections.virginia.gov/VoterInformation/Lookup/status
Ballot Not Accepted? Mail in a Backup Ballot TODAY If your ballot was rejected for lack of signature, you can send in a new one. Your Local Election official in Virginia can email you a new ballot. But time is running short.
We recommend you fill out and mail in a Backup Ballot (the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot, or FWAB). The Backup Ballot is only for overseas voters and protects your right to vote.
Things to worry about through Thanksgiving – and maybe beyond
December 7 will mark the 80th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, which catapulted the United States into World War II, forever ending any chance of an isolationist foreign policy. The war against Japan in the Pacific was hard fought, with many "Banzai" infantry charges and Kamikaze suicide bombers. The latest Congressional short-term patch on the national debt ceiling has involved the GOP’s own kamikaze tactics on Capitol Hill, forcing a party-line vote which kicks the can down the road until December 3 – close enough to warrant comparisons. Is this any way to govern a global economic and military superpower?
It is important for every American voter to know, despite Mitch McConnell's consistent disregard for the facts, that an increase in the debt limit has nothing to do with "tax and spend" on future Federal programs. Increasing the debt ceiling simply allows Uncle Sam to pay for existing obligations. In simple domestic financial terms, it means being able to meet the mortgage or rental payments, not funding a new wine cellar or home office in anticipation of the next pandemic
In all fairness, we need to acknowledge that some Democrats on Capitol Hill have been in the kindergarten sandbox, playing their own version of the circular firing squad. The fissures between self-identified moderates and progressives are based on serious disagreements over policy. However, with razor-thin margins in both Houses, the situation brings to mind the humorist Will Rogers' assessment: "I belong to no organized political party. I am a Democrat." Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Chuck Schumer must be in nightly need of strong sedatives, trying to deal with AOC on one side and the Manchin-Sinema axis on the other.
Any threat to the stability of the US dollar if the country is unable to pay its bills is also extremely dangerous to expatriates dependent on a stable exchange rate. A suggestion for concerned Dems Abroad: Write to your Congressperson and both Senators, of whichever party, to demand that they behave like grownups and 1) Support a substantial, long-term increase in the debt limit, then 2) Take steps to abolish the debt limit permanently. It is a purely legislative measure, adopted temporarily in 1917 to finance "Liberty Bonds" during World War I and then enacted as a general measure in 1939. The limit has no Constitutional basis. With this issue resolved, Congress can turn to the serious, much delayed legislation on infrastructure and broader social reform, both of which are issues affecting Americans of both parties and all ethnic and economic groups.
Some solid, eye-popping numbers on the US economy. Gross Domestic Product in 2020 was $20.93 trillion. At September 30 this year the national debt was $28.43 trillion. These numbers bring to mind the late Illinois Senator Everett Dirksen, a Republican of the Old School, who commented on an appropriations bill, "A billion here, a billion there, and pretty soon you're talking about real money." Speaking about real money, some good news for Dems Abroad, and all others receiving Social Security payments. As of January 1, there will be a 5.9% increase, based on the US rate of inflation.
The Supreme Court re-opened for business on October 4, with a docket for the autumn session including hot potatoes such as legislation by various State governments attempting to overturn Roe v. Wade and efforts to restrict voting rights. As usual, there is hand-wringing about politicizing the supposedly non-political Court. However, as Maureen Dowd pointed out in a lethal New York Times op-ed column, that myth was demolished back in December 2000, when a 5-4 vote by the Supremes halted vote counting in Florida, thereby giving us Bush Junior, his Svengali Dick Cheney, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and a hands-off approach to the US economy which led to the 2008 financial meltdown. They might all have found an appropriate home in Suzhou, China, not far from Shanghai, where there is a centuries-old enclosure named "The Garden of the Inept Administrator."
A call to action in this political off-year: There are gubernatorial races next month in New Jersey and Virginia. Democrats Abroad who vote in those states should be sure to send back their ballots immediately. New Jersey is normally in our camp, but there is never room for complacency, as 2016 proved. Virginia is a different kettle of fish. We have been gaining ground, largely thanks to suburban voters around the Washington Beltway, but margins are razor-thin. The stakes are especially high now, with legislatures hard at work on gerrymandering and voter suppression, so control of statehouses can be critical.
Some old-line Republicans seem to understand the existential threat to US democracy posed by Trump and his core followers, who have seized control of the GOP machinery up and down the line. This has led to a public appeal entitled "We are Republicans with a plea: Elect Democrats in 2022." This follows "A Call for American Renewal" by more than 100 Republican former officials, pointing out the struggle of "Rationals v. Radicals" within their party. At the state, county and local level, this kind of thinking might offer some useful tactical alliances a year from now.
As proof that intra-party battles are bipartisan, opinion researcher David Shor has ruffled some Democratic feathers with the assertion that party strategy is being incorrectly shaped by left of center, well educated, middle- and upper-middle class theorists shaping election messages that are ineffective or even counterproductive among potential swing voters. As a practical matter, this involves stressing pocketbook issues which resonate with non-college graduates across all ethnic groups, Black, Latino, Asian and Caucasian, rather than social issues such as LGBTQ rights or defunding the police. Shor comes to the table with solid credentials in opinion polling. He called a number of state results in the 2012 Obama campaign with pinpoint accuracy.
Living in Spain isn’t all fun in the sun, siestas and fiestas.
There is also making your way through the bureaucratic minefield and discovering what people mean when they say ‘Spain is different.’
To help you navigate the minefield so that you can have more fun in the sun, DA Spain’s Women’s Caucus is proud to announce a new webinar series called ‘Living in Spain.’ Webinars are programmed for now through the spring and include topics ranging from paying your Spanish taxes to talking to your MAGA hat-wearing uncle at the holidays. Read more...
RSVP for the first event: Living in Spain - Spanish Taxes on November 3, 2021 at 5 PM CET.
Are you curious about caucuses?
Mark your calendar, because we are planning a very special panel discussion on Tuesday, November 23, featuring DA global caucus coordinator Karen Frankenstein together with several of the global and local caucus leaders. Karen and the team will answer all your caucus-related questions: what are they, why are they important, who should join, how can caucuses amplify our voice? Stay tuned for more information by checking Spain's Events page.
Chapter and Verse
Barcelona members turned out on a sunny morning earlier this month to protest threats to women’s reproductive freedoms in the US and around the world. We heard personal stories and messages of support, and vice chair Rachel Mantiñán read the poem Eight Reasons, by Amanda Gorman. You can read the poem and see pictures from the protest here.
Another group of DA BCN members met for a letter-writing party and dinner hosted by Daniel James and Aaron Kllc. Virginia voters and avid GOTVers, Aaron and Daniel (and their guests, of course) penned a slew of letters to folks back in VA, encouraging them to VOTE BLUE! We will be organizing more events like this later this year and in 2022, so sharpen your pencils.
Our next La Lucha Continúa meeting will be held on Tuesday, October 26 at 8pm CET. Rather than having a guest speaker, this will be a Barcelona chapter meeting and catch-up. We hope you will join us for a fun and relaxing time. RSVP here.
And speaking of fundraising, if you are looking to get more bang for your buck, a donation to Democrats Abroad is the way to go!
On October 2nd, DA Madrid hosted a demonstration for the Women's March. New friends and old joined us at Plaza Isabel II to protest SB 8 and stand up for reproductive rights.
If you didn't get a chance to join us on Oct. 21st, for a viewing of Knock Down the House, at The Toast Taproom Malasaña, the entire documentary is available on both Netflix and YouTube.
Would you like to see more film screenings? How about roundtable discussions or cultural/activist workshops? If you'd like to give us input to plan future events, fill out our survey here.
Our next regular monthly event will be on November 18th (3rd Thursday of the month), so mark your calendars! We're planning on holding an event to help us get in the Thanksgiving spirit.
As we're gearing up for the midterms, we'll have plenty of opportunities for volunteers to get involved in fundraising, communications, Get Out The Vote (GOTV) efforts, and more. For more information about volunteer opportunities, send an email to [email protected] or fill out this form.
See you on November 18th!
Americans across Valencia have been invited to attend Valencia’s 1st Annual Halloween Festival, on October 31. Within two hours of uploading the event registration form, maximum capacity was reached and in excess of 350 guests are expected to attend the venue. The Valencia chapter of Democrats Abroad is a co-organizer of the event and anticipates a lively evening spent in the company of fellow Americans. DAV will have stands at the event, with information about our organization and how you can join the effort to safeguard our democracy.
We will also be selling American brand products that will come in handy for your Thanksgiving meal preparations. Please stop by our stand and say hello! DA Spain Chair, Kathy Tullos, and her husband will also be in attendance and look forward to meeting our local chapter members.
If you did not manage to register within the 2-hour window when registrations were still active, but you’d like to attend this event, please email us at [email protected].
We still need additional event volunteers to help make this Halloween Festival a success. If you don’t have the time to volunteer, but can donate candy for our trick-or-treat campaign, please consider getting in touch. Both volunteers and candy donors can email us at [email protected].
The Democrats Abroad Alicante team continues to encourage voters to stay engaged in US elections. Two of our executive committee members sent a mailing to over 200 registered Virginia voters living in Spain, to remind them to vote in their important upcoming November election. Thank you Daniel and Di!
We are planning a fun and informative get-together for November. Our chapter includes the area between Denia and Torrevieja. We want to know what you think and we’ll be taking notes! A “Meet-and-Greet” event will be held in mid-November in Alicante. Stay tuned for the details. We are one year from the Midterm elections, so we want to keep Democrats engaged in what will be a very important election for the House and Senate. You can stay informed through our Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/DemocratsAbroadAlicante
Spain Fun Fact
All Americans know and love Halloween, but are you familiar with the more widely celebrated holiday in Spain, All Saints’ Day? Families across the country gather on November 1st to remember their dear departed, clean and decorate their graves, and then share a meal with traditional foods like roasted chestnuts and sweet potatoes, panellets and sweet moscatel wine. So this November 1, take a stroll through your local cemetery to see the joyful celebration of love and remembrance.
We hope you enjoyed the October Newsletter.
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And please forward this email to your American friends in Spain who may not know us!
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