December 20, 2021

DA-Spain December Newsletter 2021

Message from DA Spain Chair

It’s December, which means it’s holiday season once more. Many religions and cultures celebrate special days this time of year; for both of us, Christmas is the holiday of choice this month. And Christmas in Spain can teach us all a lot about what’s to come in the months ahead.

In the USA, of course, Christmas Day is pretty much an ending. It means presents get unwrapped and put away, carols stop ringing out of car radios and at shopping malls, and householders start eyeing the space they’ll regain in the living room when the tree finally gets taken down.

In Spain, though, December 25th is the beginning of the 12 days of Christmas, which will culminate in the coming of the three Wise Men on January 6th, el Día de Los Reyes. On that day, Spanish families celebrate the arrival of the Kings with gatherings, gifts, and parades. Here, Christmas Day is a beginning, not an end.

Democrats Abroad Spain goes through a similar push-me-pull-you with endings and beginnings this time of year. Certainly December is an ending for us, as we close out our books on the year. We tally up how many members we gained and lost this cycle, check our bank balance, and reflect on what worked and what didn’t in terms of programming and outreach.

But it’s also a time for us to contemplate what’s ahead. Next year is an election year, and predictions for the midterms aren’t pretty right now. Fortunately, we’ve got amazing folks working on Get Out The Vote programs, membership initiatives, and fundraising efforts to pay for all of the above (and more) in the year ahead. Having celebrated the past, we’re ready to move into the future.

With the elections and COVID-19 and heaven knows what else around the corner, we’re confident that 2022 will be yet another challenging year. But as they say in the Christian tradition, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” Thanks to you all, whatever traditions you hold dearest, for being part of that light and for walking together through whatever lies ahead.

With best wishes for the holidays and the new year,

Kathy and Carlos


Calls to Action

New and Easier Tax Filing Forms

You know what they say about death and taxes – and those of us living overseas must face the inevitability of paying taxes twice as often. Thanks to years of hard work by the Taxation Task Force, we finally have a tax plan that benefits Americans living overseas. The Overseas Tax Relief Bill (H.R. 6057), which will make tax filing vastly more simple and will increase the foreign earned income exclusion, has been introduced in the House of Representatives – now it’s up to us! Instead of just sitting around and griping about your tax burden, take action. Call or write to your members of Congress and explain to them the real burden of filing taxes in two countries and how the provisions of this bill will benefit you, their constituent. Tax reform will only happen when enough Americans abroad reach out to our members of Congress and demand it. See this page for more information about the bill and for some great tips on how to contact your members of Congress.


Democrats Abroad Great Member Update

It’s that time of year, when the Global Membership Team has to go through our organization’s entire member database (more than 17,000 individuals) in order to weed out all the inactive member records. You can help us by logging on to the website, reviewing and updating your information. Here’s what to do: 


  1. Log in & click “account settings” under your name
  2. Update/verify your information under “private profile settings”
  3. Once complete, verify by clicking on “save profile settings”
  4. A blue box will appear that says “account settings updated” 

This will take just a few minutes of your time, and will help our volunteers immensely.


Donate to Save US Democracy

Democrats Abroad is a 100% volunteer-run organization that depends on donations from members and supporters like you to keep the lights burning and to reach international voters. Our work was decisive in 2020, and it will be again in ‘22 and ‘24. Please consider donating once or on a recurring basis. Sustaining donations, giving an amount as low as €5 per month (or even less), enable our organization to plan ahead and pay for major investments this year, including phonebanking campaigns and a completely new website. More information on how you can help our global organization here. And if you prefer to donate directly to DA Spain, click here.

Featured Article

A Quick Primer on Spain’s Political System and Parties

This article is the first in an occasional series, presenting concise information to help members better understand the political system of our host country. In this first missive, we provide an introduction to the Spanish governing system.


Article 1 of the Spanish Constitution states that Spain is a parliamentary monarchy dedicated to liberty, justice, equality, and political pluralism. Moreover, national sovereignty resides in the Spanish people. The state’s authority is shared between the king, the legislative power, the executive power, and the judicial power. 

The Spanish Constitution also divides Spain into various municipalities, provinces, and autonomous communities. These governing entities enjoy the autonomy to manage their respective interests, under the leadership of locally elected officials. At the very top, the Spanish central government, located Madrid, serves as the nation’s executive power. 

Spain’s political and governing system 

The legislative branch of the Spanish government is referred to as the General Courts (las Cortes Generales) in the Constitution’s text. The General Courts are divided into two chambers: The Congress of Deputies and the Senate, similar to the US Congress and Senate. 

The Congress of Deputies is a chamber of 350 seats and is presided over by a chamber’s president and a board of spokespeople. Representatives to the Congress of Deputies are elected every four years. The main legislative function of the Congress is the proposal of new laws, which then leads to debate of the laws between the parties. The law is passed by a majority vote. 

The Senate is a chamber composed of 265 seats. The main legislative function of the Senate is to deliberate laws that are passed from the Congress, which can take up to two months. Then the Senate can either ratify the proposed laws from Congress or block them, comparable to the US Senate. 

Caucus News

Women’s Caucus

Living in Spain isn’t all fun in the sun, siestas and fiestas.

To help you navigate the minefield so that you can have more fun in the sun (or, this time of year, on the ski slopes), DA Spain’s Women’s Caucus is hosting a webinar series called ‘Living in Spain.’ Once a month, for an hour, a guest speaker will present on a topic of mutual interest and answer audience questions.  

To kick off 2022, we welcome Mr. Ignacio Pellicer and Mr. Pedro Heredia, from the law firm Pellicer and Heredia, who will speak about residency visas and other matters related to immigration. This webinar will be held on January 12th, 2022 at 18:00 CET.

To tailor these webinars to your needs, please send in your questions ahead of time. We will pass them on to our speakers, so that they are aware of your concerns and can plan the talk accordingly. Send your questions to [email protected] by Monday, January 10th. If you can’t make the live session but would like a recording of the webinar, go ahead and send in an RSVP. We will send a link to the video to all who RSVP here.

For more on upcoming webinars in the ‘Living in Spain’ series, click here.

In other news, the Supreme Court is in the process of revoking women’s rights to bodily autonomy, a right enshrined since the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, and we are not having it. Read more here.


Youth Caucus

Our newest initiative, Democrats Abroad Spain Youth Caucus, is quickly gaining speed. Just a few weeks after launching, its Instagram account has amassed 240 followers. If you aren’t following them yet, what are you waiting for? When you join this instagram account, you’ll find that it’s been driving great engagement with interesting discussions around the most pressing topics. 

If you are interested in volunteering with the Youth Caucus, or can help connect us with Americans in Spain aged 18-35, contact Hunter Baldridge. We’re looking to find college students, auxilliares and young Americans of all stripes who are devoted to promoting progress and positive change in our shared homeland.

Chapter and Verse



In spite of the threat of Omicron, we were able to hold our holiday gathering on December 9th, attended by about a dozen members and hosted by Eroica Caffè Barcelona. We had such a great time catching up, sharing stories and making plans for the year ahead, that we completely forgot to take pictures! 


La Lucha Continúa will resume in January with a very special guest: Rachel Vindman, activist, writer and co-host of the popular podcast, The Suburban Women Problem. If you watched the first impeachment proceedings against Donald Trump, her last name probably sounds familiar: her husband, Lt. Colonel Alexander Vindman, was a key witness. Rachel will share her insights into the current American political situation, why women in the suburbs are breaking up with the GOP, and why it is so important that we all vote in November 2022. RSVP here.


On January 22, we will have a voter registration stand at the Barcelona Expat Fair. The fair is free for attendees, so stop by and we will help you fill out and send in your Federal Post Card Application (FPCA). If you would like to help out at this event, contact us.


Making your new year’s resolutions? How about a resolution to help save US democracy by volunteering with Democrats Abroad Barcelona? We will need a slew of volunteers to assist with voter registration, phone banking, fundraising, social media outreach, sending postcards to voters, event organizing….. This is a team effort, and we need you! Sign up here. And be sure to join our Signal group to stay in touch.



The Thanksgiving dinner and cocktail hour fundraiser was a great success!

New friends and long-term members alike got together to celebrate the holiday, eat a good meal, and enjoy some drinks afterwards. And, with your help, we raised 300 euros towards our efforts in Democrats Abroad Spain!



Join us at The Toast Taproom Malasaña for our last event of the year. On Thursday, December 16th, at 19:00h, we'll be getting together to enjoy a few drinks, socialize, and discuss politics. Everyone is welcome. Bring the whole family!

Date: Thursday, December 16th
Time: 19:00-21:00h 
Location: The Toast Taproom, Calle de San Vicente Ferrer, 33

RSVP here or via Facebook

We hope to see you there!



DA Valencia’s Vice Chair, Chris Schwandt, hosted a Thanksgiving Leftovers picnic in the park, providing everyone the opportunity to use their leftover turkey and gather one more time to give thanks for the wonderful life we are living here in Spain. We enjoyed great company and conversation, while meeting some newcomers who’ve just begun their Spain adventure in the very recent past.


DA Valencia’s Treasurer, Dana Philen, has launched a monthly Coffee Get-Together to help connect like-minded Americans and provide a forum for lively conversation. These social meet-ups are scheduled on the first Friday of each month, with December 3 having been the first installment. Come join us each month for coffee and breakfast, along with the chance to create lasting connections with fellow Americans in your city.


In January, DA Valencia will begin Voter Support for the upcoming midterms. We’ll begin with volunteer training in January to prepare  our volunteers who’ve signed up to host Voter Support tables in their neighborhoods. As in past years, we will help Americans Register to vote, Request ballots for primaries and the general election, as well as Return those ballots. We look forward to ensuring that Americans from every state have the support they need to see their voices heard.



Democrats Abroad Alicante is bringing its community together for the holidays! As a follow-up to our Mix-and-Mingle get-together in November, we organized a holiday fundraiser and citywide Holiday Lights Walking Tour in Alicante! WHAT A GREAT TIME 

The city was all sparkle and brightness as we were guided through the centro by tour guide Felipe, and the 25+ crowd of members loved it all. Many thanks for supporting our fundraising efforts as we inch closer to our year-end goal. And, as we come ever closer to the midterm elections, our broader and most important goal is to keep our members informed of the issues at hand and to provide details on how to vote for each state in which they are registered. The time will come when we all must do our share to keep our Democratic dreams alive in the States, but for the time being, from all of us on the DA Alicante committee, we wish you a wonderful holiday!

Spain Fun Fact

Feeling lucky this year? Maybe you should buy a lottery ticket. El Gordo, Spain’s Christmas lottery, is the biggest in the world and has been held without interruption since 1812. A winning ticket in the 2021 lottery (there are a total of ten in a series) carries a prize of €400,000 – before taxes, that is. Of course your chances of winning are slim: mathematically speaking, one in 100,000. Nonetheless, again this year, people across the country (and around the globe) are anxiously purchasing their potentially golden tickets. The drawing will be held on December 22. 

In Closing

To stay on top of all the news, follow Democrats Abroad Spain on social media (or volunteer to help us with social media outreach). 


And please forward this email to your American friends in Spain who may not know us!

Warm wishes for the holiday season!

Donations to Democrats Abroad go directly to registering Americans and get out the vote (GOTV) activities such as phone banking, postcards, and most importantly, social media. Democrats Abroad is an incredible investment in our Democracy because it is 100% volunteer led and organized. Every euro or dollar you give supports our work to elect Democrats who will fight to make a better life for all Americans.  

We are able to do it economically and help win congressional districts and states that make a difference in election victory. DA is a global organization committed to helping Americans abroad to be involved in our country no matter where we live.

If you cannot afford to make a donation, consider volunteering your time, or bringing a friend to the event.