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Democrats Abroad: The Blue Vote Café

Democrats Abroad: The Blue Vote Café

By Democrats Abroad
Every American living abroad can vote in the U.S., and can engage politically back home through Democrats Abroad, an official arm of the Democratic Party.

Brought to you by David Schellenberg and Rachel Eugster (co-chairs of the Canada's Capital Region chapter of Democrats Abroad) this podcast is about Americans living outside the U.S.--who we are, what we stand for, how to get engaged back home, and how to make sure your vote is counted, Because when Democrats vote abroad, Democrats at home win.

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Episode 5: DA member Brian Hassett attends the New Hampshire Primary

Democrats Abroad: The Blue Vote Café

The LGBTQ+ Caucus in Democrats Abroad
A coversation with Martha McDevitt Pugh and Tre’Shawn Griffin-Noordermeer who are the co-chairs of DA’s Global LGBTQ+ Caucus.
March 6, 2021
The Global Asian American & Pacific Islander Caucus of Democrats Abroad
Our guests is this episode are Emily Lines and Cory Lemke.  They are the Co-Chairs of the Democrats Abroad Global Asian American and Pacific Islander Caucus.
February 27, 2021
The Global Youth Caucus in Democrats Abroad
Alex Rehbinder speaks to Rachel and David about the experience of stepping up from the country-committee level to revive DA's Global Youth Caucus, which he now co-chairs. The conversation touches on DA as a guilty pleasure, getting past the shyness of campaigning, and the YC's goal to field at least one young'un as a candidate for each global office in DA's internal elections. They talk about the YC's plan to formalize the mentoring of younger DA members by veteran DA members, the progression from holding the hat to putting your name in it, and how all issues--especially climate change--are youth issues. 
February 20, 2021
The Democrats Abroad Women’s Caucus
Meet Ann Hesse and Christina Skovsgaard from the Global Women’s Caucus. We discuss what a caucus is, the Women’s Caucus’s seven Action Teams, and Event Pizzas. We trace the line from John Adams to the ERA; touch on Ann’s view of DA members as part of a vast global laboratory of policy experiments; and note how much fun it can be to work to create a better world—all under the eyes of goddesses.
February 13, 2021
Conversation with Steve Nardi, the Chair for Democrats Abroad Canada
Learn about the incredible effort from members across Canada in the past election.
December 12, 2020
From transition time at the White House to communications for Democrats Abroad Canada: a conversation with Dianna English
What was it like to serve in the White House through the 2016 transition?  What has it been like to go from that inside view to working from outside the country with Democrats Abroad?  Dianna English, Communications  Director for Democrats Abroad Canada, sits down with David and Rachel to talk about home as a mobile concept, working in the Peace Corps, and about finding your people.  We also touch upon how much happens in Canada during an American election, exactly what it is about Canadians, and how washing your hands in Ethiopia relates to taking off your shoes in Canada.
November 14, 2020
A conversation with Tyra J. Garrett, writer, teacher, and activist
On Oct 23, 2020, The Toronto Star posted a piece by Tyra J. Garrett that began: "Dear Canadians, Let’s talk in plain terms: The United States of America is where brown dreams go to die." Rachel and David immediately reached out to talk to its author. In our conversation, Tyra shares with us her perspective as a young Black woman in Trump’s America who grew up with Obama as President. She talks about what things were like for her grandparents as share-croppers, and about her secret identity as a teacher and her superpower as a writer. We dip into whether America was too ambitious to think we could elect a woman right after electing our first African-American president, and touch on the reactions of Canadians to her Toronto Star piece. We talk about how the divisive nature of the current climate can be addressed in the wake of a Blue victory, and about whether David or Rachel has the better guest accommodations. Go Leafs Go!
October 28, 2020
Checking in with Democrats Abroad Chair Julia Bryan
Democrats Abroad chair Julia Bryan sits down with Rachel & David to give a snapshot of Democrats Abroad’s activities leading up to the 2020 election, and a taste of what comes next. From 560K+ phone calls, to helping to “cure” ballots, to the number of DA members vote in battleground states, DA—the state party for Democrats living outside the U.S.--is posed to be the margin of victory in many races up and down the ballot. The conversation also touches on archaic voting vocabulary, how to vote for dog-catcher, driving off the map, why an election office might give out false information, and what makes far and away the best registration portal for voters abroad.
October 21, 2020
386 years of accumulated wisdom: Conversations with 4 nonagenarians
Rachel and David sit down to discuss the 2020 election in turn with Grace Moyer, Pauline Kaszyca, Evelyn Lloyd, and Grace Pope—a group of voters with, between them, the perspective of 386 years.  From memories of Truman (a “feisty little man”) and Roosevelt (who spoke in a “sociable way that was new”) to thoughts about the current occupant of the White House (none flattering; some explicit), all four currently live in Canada and are passionate about exercising their right to vote from abroad.
October 13, 2020
How you can help Get Out The Vote (GOTV) for Democrats Abroad
Are you doing everything that you can do to make sure everyone votes in this election? David and Rachel outline some of the ways in which Democrats abroad are working to ensure that everyone with the right to vote from outside the country does so.
September 16, 2020
The Democratic National Convention experience for three members of Democrats Abroad's delegation
Rachel and David chat with DA delegates Adrianne George, Marisa Grimes, and Anya Leonhard about what expectations they brought to the convention and what the experience was like. Between them, the three represented DA members from Europe and Asia; included old hands and newcomers; and spent time with the Black Caucus, at policy round-tables, and working on platform language on healthcare. Plus a bonus: You can view the TV interview Anya refers to--if you don't have enough German to follow the discussion, you may still enjoy the body language!
September 10, 2020
Our 20.20 Prize Draw winner: DA member Roxanne Rabalais!
DA member Roxanne Rabalais won an appearance on the Blue Vote Cafe by donating to Democrats Abroad in our recent 20.20 Prize Draw Fundraiser. David and Rachel chat with Roxanne about what drew her into registering to vote, being on the receiving end of a get-out-the-vote phone call, how taxes led her to find DA--and about her equestrian-flavored apparel business, Spiced (
September 5, 2020
JJ Karofsky discusses her successful election to the Wisconsin Supreme Court in April 2020 (Season 2, Ep10)
What was it like to be elected to the Wisconsin Supreme Court during a pandemic--and how did Justice Jill J. Karofsky launch her 10-year term with a run? What led her to public service, and why did she change her middle name? What measures can the courts take to help jurors?  What is the National Mustard Museum, and what does it have to do with Wisconsin's newest Supreme Court Justice? Rachel and David sit down to chat with Justice Karofsky about all of this and more. For more info: . To get your ballot (do it NOW!!): .
August 8, 2020
Insights into Joe Biden from former U.S. Ambassador to Canada Bruce Heyman and his partner Vicki Heyman (Season 2, Episode 9)
For more info: . To get your ballot (do it NOW!!): . The Heymans share stories about Joe Biden with David and Rachel, and talk about the campaign’s focus on getting out the American vote from around the world. They speak of Biden’s “secret sauce”—the leadership skills that make him particularly suited to this moment—and about how the deal he made with President Obama when accepting the vice presidency uniquely prepares him for the presidency.  Learn about the importance of every vote, of hustling hard to preserve what we love, of what supporters of other candidates can look for from a Biden presidency, and of flipping Me to We.  There is (as so often) a reference to pets—though not in their usual form.  The episode ends with a heartfelt valentine to Canada.
July 31, 2020
Interview with Nse Ufot from The New Georgia Project (Season 2, Episode 8)
Nse Ufot joined Rachel and David to talk about her work as Executive Director of The New Georgia Project (a non-partisan effort to register and civically engage Georgians), and how it had its roots in a conversation that began in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. We talk about voter suppression, Georgia's place in a rapidly transforming population, the critical importance of every vote in every election, the gospel choir theory of organizing, and Nse's time as a member of Democrats Abroad. With a side of ice cream and a lot of laughter. For more info: . To get your ballot (do it NOW!!): .
July 23, 2020
Shepherding the Democrats Abroad 2020 Platform from Start to Completion (Season 2, Episode 7)
Aaron Kruse, co-chair of the Platform Committee, joins Rachel and David from Beijing on the best day of his life to talk about the process of forging the Democrats Abroad 2020 Platform. We talk about health care, gun control, the environment, taxation, services for Americans abroad, and how everywhere you go, you will bump into someone from Iowa. We discuss the grueling process of reading 4800 submissions and steering 60 or 70 volunteers, and the multiple shirts needed to get through the final stages of approving a platform with an overwhelming majority. We touch on the question of whether progressives are readier to live overseas, or whether those who choose to live overseas adopt progressive outlooks, and we end the episode with a wedding proposal and pets. For more info: . To get your ballot (do it NOW!!): .
June 27, 2020
The Healthcare plank of the Democrats Abroad Platform (Season 2, Episode 7)
The Healthcare plank of the Democrats Abroad platform begins: "Understanding that healthcare is the highest concern for many Americans – including many of our families and friends living in the U.S. – Democrats Abroad advocates for high-quality, equitable, and freely available healthcare for all Americans – and for everyone living in the U.S. – which we regard as a fundamental human right." Rachel and David are joined by Kent Getsinger from Australia to explore the details of Democrats Abroad's vision for healthcare under a Democratic administration. For more info: . To get your ballot (do it NOW!!): .
June 24, 2020
The Democracy and Elections Plank of the Democrats Abroad 2020 Platform (Season 2, Episode 6)
A conversation with Heather Stone in Israel and Asha Subas in London, England, who brought the Democracy and Elections plank across the finish line. (Democrats Abroad's 2020 platform was adopted on June 7.) We discuss the vulnerability of the postal service, and its importance for citizens voting from outside the country. We touch on money in politics, corruption, voter suppression, and the necessity to explicitly state our support for civil rights, freedom of speech, and freedom to peaceably assemble, as well as how to address disinformation and misinformation. For more info: . To get your ballot (do it NOW!!): .
June 20, 2020
A conversation with Angela Fobbs, Chair of DA's Global Black Caucus (Season 2, Ep 5)
In this wide-ranging conversation about racism, its effects, and what we can do to address it. Angela (who live in Germany) shares with David and Rachel the story of her involvement with DA, how she founded the Black Caucus, and what its role is within DA--and we even get into the definition of a kakistocracy. For more info:  To get your ballot (do it NOW!!):
June 2, 2020
Meet Miguel Madrigal, a young delegate attending the Democratic National Convention from Costa Rica (Season 2, Ep 4)
In May 2020, Miguel Madrigal (Costa Rica) was elected by the Americas Region of DA to be a member of the delegation Democrats Abroad is taking to the Democratic National Convention. The youngest member of the DA delegation at 24, Miguel, who is pledged to Joe Biden, beat 115 other candidates to win this coveted position. Rachel and David talk to him about what he did--and how it felt--to win the election. The conversation reveals one fact of potential embarrassment to David, and finishes with a bit of fun. For more info: To get your ballot (do it NOW!!):
May 30, 2020
The Environment and Energy Plank in the Democrats Abroad Platform (Season 2, Ep 3)
"Climate change is the central challenge of our time." Thus begins the Environment and Energy plank of the Democrats Abroad platform. David and Rachel talk to Jim Christiansen (in Paris), who was involved in drafting this section of both the 2016 and the 2020 platform, about the current draft, feedback from members, challenges presented by the current administration, and what happens next. For more info: (Or connect directly to the platform.) To get your ballot (do it NOW!!):
May 23, 2020
The Taxation Plank in the Democrats Abroad Platform (Season 2, Ep 2)
The issue of taxation is a critical one for Americans living outside the country. David and Rachel sat down with Carmelan Polce (in Australia), who chairs DA's Taxation Task Force, to talk about why this topic forms a plank in our platform. What do legislators at home need to understand about the effects of taxation laws on income earned outside the U.S.? How can it be that American abroad have to pay taxes on such things as welfare payments from our countries of residence? What impact did 2017 tax reforms and the global intangible low-taxed income (known as the GILTI tax) have on Americans living abroad? And where can you turn with questions? For more info: (Or connect directly to the platform.) To get your ballot (do it NOW!!):
May 14, 2020
The Democrats Abroad Platform Process (Season 2, Ep 1)
What goes into the creation of the Democrats Abroad Platform? How can you shape the 2020 draft before it is final? How does our platform affect the election for the entire United States? David and Rachel connect with Farid Ben Amor in Geneva and Salli Swartz in Paris, two of the four co-chairs (with Aaron Kruse and Wen-Wen Lindroth) who led a team of hundreds of DA members to produce the draft. For more info: (Or connect directly to the platform.) To get your ballot (do it NOW!!):
May 5, 2020
Episode 8: The CARES Act and Americans abroad
In the teeth of the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. is providing money to its citizens. Do Americans living abroad qualify for this relief? Still maintaining social distance, Rachel and David tackle your elgibility for money through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, and whether you need to do anything to receive it. (For more information, visit the FAQ compiled by DA's Taxation Task force, led by Carmelan Polce: And please send your stories about the difficulty of complying with tax law as an American abroad to, subject headed "my tax story.") With shout-outs to Suzy Q doughnuts and Rachel's accountant in Ottawa.
April 14, 2020
Episode 7: The Global Presidential Primary results are In!
Americans around the world chose to cast their primary vote with Democrats Abroad. While maintaining social distance, Rachel and David take a look at the numbers: Who won our delegates? How was turnout? What are our voters' ages? How did Canada's share of the votes stack up? For more info: To get your ballot (do it NOW!!):
March 30, 2020
Episode 6: Samuel Baltz compares elections.
Also on Super Tuesday, we sat down in the tavern with Samuel Baltz, an American-Canadian and a PhD candidate in political science and computer science at the University of Michigan. In a 20-minute crash course on the science of comparing elections, we touched on voting in the U.S. and Canada, the influence of money, voter suppression, the 8- to 10-year swing toward change, what voters seek in a leader, who picks our candidates, what people in the U.S. can do to get people living outside the country to vote, and whether it matters what words you use when you phone someone to ask them to vote. And . . . we wind up at the end with a surprise reveal. Recorded on March 3, 2020 (Super Tuesday). For more info: Visit us on Facebook at:, Follow on Twitter: @DemsAbroad Check it out on Instagram: demsabroad
March 7, 2020
Episode 5: DA member Brian Hassett attends the New Hampshire Primary
Anyone can be a roving reporter! On Super Tuesday, we phoned Brian Hassett from the tavern ( where we were running our Voting Centre. Brian is a DA member based in Toronto (and a Dead Head), who travelled to New Hampshire to experience the primaries in person, despite having decided to vote later on, in Democrats Abroad’s own Global Presidential Primary. But did it help him make up his mind? And which candidate offered the best post-voting spread? Watch for Brian's book, Blissfully Ravaged in Democracy, which he will be publishing soon. Recorded on March 3, 2020 (Super Tuesday). For more info: Visit us on Facebook at:, Follow on Twitter: @DemsAbroad Check it out on Instagram: demsabroad
March 7, 2020
Episode 4: Getting involved with Democrats Abroad
Have you found your place within Democrats Abroad?  David and Rachel explore some of the volunteer roles, from small things like postcards and phone calls to . . . well, no, you can't take over the podcast. Includes a fleeting cat reference. Recorded Feb. 9, 2020. For more info: Visit us on Facebook at:, Follow on Twitter: @DemsAbroad Check it out on Instagram: demsabroad
February 16, 2020
Episode 3: Voting at an Iowa Caucus for the First Time
Lance Lehman is US citizen but he has lived in Canada almost his entire life. Recently he travelled to Iowa with his brother to find out what the experience is like. Listen for what happens when John Kerry notices your Christmas sweater. Recorded Feb. 9, 2020. For more info: Visit us on Facebook at:, Follow on Twitter: @DemsAbroad Check it out on Instagram: demsabroad
February 16, 2020
Episode 2. Request your absentee ballot!
Why do it now? Why do it every year? Why use instead of going directly to your voting state? Rachel and David try to thread their way through the quirks and cautions of voting by absentee ballot so that you don’t have to! For more information: (Recorded on January 19, 2020.) For more info: Visit us on Facebook at:,  Follow on Twitter: @DemsAbroad Check it out on Instagram: demsabroad
January 20, 2020
Episode 1. What is Democrats Abroad and why does it hold a Primary?
Episode One. What is Democrats Abroad, and how do presidential candidates qualify for its Presidential Primary ballot? What is Democrats Abroad doing running a primary in the first place?  Who gets to vote in it, and how can you do so? Why would you want to vote for your favored candidate through Democrats Abroad instead of through the state where you vote? Rachel and David supply the answers as they kick off the podcast with a burst of laughter. (Recorded on December 8, 2019. Check for updates as the Democratic candidates qualify for the DA ballot.)
December 22, 2019