At the risk of sounding cliche, the 2020 general election is indeed going to be the most consequential election of our lifetimes. Donald Trump, through his ignorance, narcissism, greed and corruption, – and governing the country in the style of a mafia Don – has done irreparable damage to the U.S. and the world in less than 4 years. We have just over 10 months to set things right again.
Here in Barcelona – permanent or semi-permanent home to an estimated 10,000 to 20,000 U.S. expats, and temporary home to a steady stream of interns and college students studying abroad – your local DA chapter is doing its part to unTrump the world. Since last summer, we have hosted a series of events to watch seven Democratic presidential primary debates together. The most recent was held January 15th at the Eroica Caffè and had the best attendance yet. We are not sure if that’s because the race is heating up, due to excitement and curiosity about the new venue, or because Trump has now been impeached, but in any case, about 35 people showed up to watch the debate. Many stayed afterward to hear from Iowa native Charles Friedman, who explained how the caucus system works in that state, as well as his thoughts about what might happen next summer if there is a brokered convention [if you are interested in receiving one of his handouts, send an email to email@example.com]. Several more debates will be held in the months ahead, so watch this space for announcements.
Chapter members have also been busy this month visiting college study-abroad programs in Barcelona and registering students to vote while they are here. So far, we have spoken with students from Arcadia, Boston College and University of Chicago. There are dozens of these programs located in Barcelona and we need volunteers to help reach out to students. If you are available on a regular or sporadic basis, please let us know.
Coming up next, we will join Barcelona en Comú and Women’s March Barcelona in a panel discussion following a screening of the documentary film Knock Down the House, the inspirational story of four progressive young women (including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez) who ran for Congress in 2018. Please join us for this exciting opportunity on Thursday, January 23 beginning at 6:30 p.m.
On February 18th, Democrats Abroad members will get an email invitation to participate in the Global Presidential Primary to choose Democrats Abroad delegates to the National Convention. This email will include all the information you need to vote online. However, if you live in or near Barcelona or are able to travel there, we will be holding two separate events for in-person voting on Tuesday, March 3 (Super Tuesday) and Saturday, March 9. Watch for further info in your email, this page, and on social media (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram).
In early December, the House Intelligence Committee released the dryly titled but undeniably captivating "Trump-Ukraine Impeachment Inquiry Report", setting off an impeachment process for just the 4th time in U.S. history. In the months leading up to this action, and in the news-packed weeks since, one word has been constant: Ukraine.
Harry Edelman, Head of Youth Engagement for DA BCN, participated as a part of three U.S. delegations to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) for election observation missions in Ukraine throughout 2019. He observed during the first round of the 2019 Ukrainian Presidential Election on 31 March in the city of Dnipro. Again, in the second round on 21 April in Kiev Oblast. And for a third time in Mykolaiv Oblast during the snap 2019 Parliamentary elections on 21 July.
On December 12, Democrats Abroad Barcelona met at the charming Catalan restaurant El Disbarat, where Harry gave an informal but very informative presentation on Ukraine. He put current events into context with insights into the country's history and culture, its electoral process, and the surprise election of Volodymyr Zelensky. He also explained the procedures and the important role played by international election observers.
Many thanks to Harry for sharing his experiences, to Hunter for moderating, and to all the attendees who came prepared with excellent questions and comments!
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