Early this morning, while we reflected on the disheartening results of the US Presidential election, we took heart in also reflecting on the hundreds of thousands of lights of goodwill that are our members, our leaders, our donors and our volunteers.
Thank you to our country committee and global leaders across the world who donated their time and commitment to Democrats Abroad efforts this year.
The following article by Tom Fina, Executive Director Emeritus for Democrats Abroad, reminds us all of the necessity of continuing our get out the vote efforts to ensure a Democratic House and Senate.
Letter from Washington
Executive Director Emeritus
The print and electronic media are brimming with campaign news. Election day is less than two weeks away. The near consensus prediction is that Hillary Clinton will win. On that assumption, what happens the morning, the weeks and the months after?
The morning after, will Donald go quietly into the night? Fat chance. Will he continue his campaign to de-legitimize Clinton’s election as he tried to discredit Obama with his birther campaign? Probably.Read more
George Takei, LGBT activist, director and actor, met with Democrats Abroad today to give his view point on the election and answer questions from members all over the world. We also heard from our very own Martha McDevitt-Pugh, who leads the DA LGBT Caucus, Rep. Jared Polis (CO 2), Rep. Seth Moulton (MA 6), and Dominic Lowell, head of LGBT outreach for the Clinton campaign.
Ada Shen (China) introduced George Takei; Alex Montgomery (Hong Kong) interviewed him and also introduced and interviewed the remaining speakers. The event was the fourth and last Global Town Hall of this election year, and was well attended by members from around the world.
More than 30 countries have held debate watch parties this week, and we are enjoying seeing the pictures roll in!
Debate watches have continued all around the world, as Americans come out in droves to rehash the debates, ask voter registration questions and sign up to volunteer. We're loving all the pictures country committees are posting on Facebook - keep them coming in and we'll keep adding them to the site!!
Americans abroad got up early this morning, or stayed up late last night to join their friends and fellow Americans to watch the first Presidential debate. Members in Singapore, Chile, Canada, and the Dominican Republic all watched the debate live. Throughout this week, Democrats Abroad will hold more than 50 events for Americans and friends to watch recordings and discuss the debate.
Check out our events listing for a debate watch near you. And if you're on Facebook or Twitter, look for #debatewatchabroad for more details.
Voter registration initiatives have been going on all year for Democrats Abroad committees and chapters, but this is the time of year we move into full gear to get out the overseas vote. On the weekend of September 16-18 we joined the Clinton Campaign for a #WeekendOfAction, staging rallies, fundraisers and – of course! – voter registration drives in locations right around the world.Read more
We're on to Day Four of the Convention - and Hillary Clinton's historic acceptance speech, when she becomes the first woman to accept the nomination of a major party for President of the United States.
The day began for the Democrats Abroad delegation with a breakfast with the Oregon delegation. We met many of their delegates and told them about DA, including Senator Jeff Merkely and Governor Kate Brown. And we were all joined by Senator Bernie Sanders as part of a "Thank You " visit, where he got to thank his many Oregon supporters including Senator Merkeley and the Oregon delegation, both Sanders and Clinton delegates, got their chance to thank him.
There were many powerful speeches through the day, but certainly one of the most powerful of the night, if not the Convention, came from Mr. Khizr Khan, the father of an American hero, Capt. Humayun Khan, who was killed in Iraq, defending his unit from a suicide bomber. In case you missed it (and you would have if you were watching Fox News as they cut away to a commercial), it is well worth watching - and watching again. After the speech, Mr. Khan emphasized that he was not there to speak for Hillary Clinton but had a message for Mr. Trump Clutching the Constitution, Mr. Khan delivered an emotional and devastating critique to Donald Trump, as he reminded him that the Constitution provides for equal protection for all. And concluded by telling Mr. Trump, "You have sacrificed nothing. Here's a clip of the story of Capt. Khan spoken by Hillary Clinton and his father's address to the Convention. (skip the ad)
And here's another video that delegates didn't get to see because of time constraints, but is now making the rounds. As the son of another Dorothy, I think it has a powerful message for women - and men - about how far we've come and who got us there, including the role that Hillary Clinton has played in the lives of women in the U.S. and around the world. Here's the Facebook video.
More to come from our delegates on the last day of the Convention.
Day Three at the Convention and we will be hearing from Vice President Biden, our next Vice President Tim Kaine - AND President Obama. It should be an inspiring evening. Tim Kaine is a long-time friend of Democrats Abroad. Here he is joining DA Switzerland with a votefromabroad.org banner.
Here's another post from Ryan Turner - a Sanders delegate from Spain (and now Italy) - about Day Three.
Feeling and general intensity of the entire convention was definitely much calmer today than the first two days. One of the most memorable moments that Bernie fans remember from the previous day was the heartfelt words given by Larry Sanders to his brother Bernie. Things were relatively calm yesterday compared to Tuesday after a protest that occurred after Bernie Sanders call to waive procedural rules and declare Hilary Clinton the nominee by acclimation. The protestors proceeded to the media tent chanting "Walk Out! Walk out!".. I can assure you ALL that these protestors are the one percenters of sanders supporters. Of our entire delegation of nearly 2000 sanders delegates, I can say with certainty that there were no more than 30-40 protesters. They do not seem to represent the majority of us Berniecrats.
The two biggest surprises of last night's speakers were certainly Leon Panetta who was booed by the crowd due to his obvious ties to the is war involvement and Michael Bloomberg, a surprise speaker used by Hillary to reach out to independents and fiscal conservatives in the Trump camp. Joe Biden had the most electrifying speech of the night and his swagger and panache as a first-rate statesman and politician is always a crowd pleaser. He's easily one of Politics' most likable personalities! His message "it's not your example of power but the power of your example" that shows strength!
Lenny Kravitz amazing performance was another surprise. He shows that Hilary's star-level support is surpassed only by Barack Obama himself. Tim Kaine did basically the same speech he did last week... I predicted he'd start speaking random Spanish and I was right!
Barack Obama.. BARACK OBAMA! I don't care what he said or how he said it.. In fact.. For the most part it was difficult to hear most of what he said. I was there in the room with the man himself! One of the most memorable experiences of my life!
Day Two of the Convention saw the historic roll call vote that nominated Hillary Clinton as the Democratic candidate for President. Democrats Abroad captured the attention of the world with an emotional vote by Larry Sanders, the brother of Senator Bernie Sanders - the real BernieBro. Many testimonials from ordinary citizens to Hillary Clinton's concern for the welfare of real people followed - capped by a moving message from President Bill Clinton about his wife and their life together. Some more posts about the days events from our Delegates follow.
Here's another post from Reno Domenico - a Clinton delegate from Ukraine - who has a special take on the news from Russia.
The theme of Day 2 of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia was bringing unity to the party. This has been achieved. When Senator Sanders moved for acclimation of Hillary Clinton’s nomination, Senator Sanders did all he possibly could to bring our party together, and helped lead the fight to elect Hillary Clinton president of the United States.
For me personally it was a tremendously exciting evening to be part of this historic event. The first nomination by a major political party of a woman candidate for president.
Our Democrats Abroad delegation which holds 17 votes announced our results: 10 votes for Bernie Sanders, and 7 votes for Hillary Clinton. Democrats Abroad received considerable attention because our delegation includes Larry Sanders, the brother of Senator Sanders. Larry, who lives in Oxford, England gave a very emotional speech when he gave his one vote to his brother, bringing tears to both their eyes. [Here's a clip of our delegation voting and Larry Sanders' speech - that's Reno on the left next to Democrats Abroad Chair Katie Solon]
The convention was moved. So was our delegation. And the internet and social networks lit up with the video of Democrats Abroad, bringing lots of attention to our small but mighty state committee inside the Democratic Party. Overshadowing our convention however was the fact that the DNC chairperson was replaced by Donna Brazile. Donna Brazile is a highly respected member of the Democratic Party, and her ascension was welcomed.
What caused this change at the top of the party in the middle of our convention was the news that the DNC email server had been hacked, ostensibly by Russian cyber spies. This has led to serious speculation that the Russian Security Services, and/or the Kremlin itself are directly involving themselves in the American presidential elections.
This narrative is driven by the fact that Donald Trump seems to have, as former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright pointed out last evening, “a fascination with dictators.” Secretary Albright, someone I had the pleasure of interviewing during our Democrats Abroad Global primary, pointed out that Republican candidate Donald Trump thinks very highly of Russian President Vladimir Putin, and has also spoken well about the former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.
Autocrats and dictators are always known as a strong men. That doesn’t make them good. Donald Trump also doubled down, again, on his obsession with weakening our NATO alliance, by reiterating that he thinks the NATO allies of the United States don’t carry their own weight financially and otherwise. This is amazing.
What is the truth in this Russian cyber case? Hard to say.
However, it is clear that the Russian political position has been improved by the exit of the United Kingdom from the European Union, and a weakening of NATO would result in a direct strengthening of the Russian position in Europe. President Obama this morning indicated that any softening of the NATO alliance would directly result in the softening of European borders from the Russian perspective.
This undoubtedly would have grave consequences for Ukraine’s position not just politically, but actually geographically. European resistance to the Russian position in Europe has been weakening steadily as time has gone by. Any weakening of NATO would undoubtedly result and a weakening of the European and American position regarding Ukraine. Donald Trump seems to specialize in playing on people’s fears and making people more afraid. Scared people, and scared nations, do irrational things. Ukraine’s geopolitical situation is precarious at best. Donald Trump’s love of strong men, and his fascination with Russian President Vladimir Putin does not help Ukraine at all.
In this case Ukrainians should be afraid. [And the rest of the world.]
One of the highlights for Democrats Abroad during the Philadelphia Convention was its "40th Anniversary" Luncheon on Tuesday. Celebrating the 40th Anniversary of its first participation as voting delegates in a Convention AND the 40th anniversary of the first presidential election in which overseas Americans were allowed to fully participate, the Luncheon also focused on the future and our Get Out the Vote efforts for this year's crucial 2016 elections.
We were joined at the Luncheon by speakers Senator Patrick Leahy (VT), Special Guest Speaker Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (NY 12), the "patron saint" of Democrats Abroad Congresswoman Dina Titus (NV-1), former State Senator Nina Turner of Ohio and Marcel Groen, the State Chair of Pennsylvania who welcomed us to Pennsylvania and spoke about his arrival as an immigrant to the U.S. Several other State Party officials from Georgia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Vermont, and Wyoming attended the Luncheon and we also heard from Larry Sanders, Bernie's brother and a Democrats Abroad delegate, and to close proceedings, Ambassador Amy Bondurant, the Clinton campaign representative to Democrats Abroad, spoke about our Get Out the Vote campaign.
Congresswoman Maloney, who is co-chair of the Americans Abroad Caucus spoke about her efforts to get HR 3078 passed, which would create a Commission on Americans Living Abroad to review all legislation for its impact on overseas Americans. Senator Leahy spoke about his own background as the child of immigrants. Senator Turner gave an impassioned talk about the necessity to preserve voting rights - and get out the vote.