Dispatches From the Democratic National Convention

Why Democrats Living Overseas Don’t Want To Lose Obama    
Who's winning, who's losing, and why.
Sept. 5 2012 10:52 PM

Dispatches From the Democratic National Convention


The Democrats Abroad delegation will happily show you their papers.    

Illustration by Robert Neubecker.

Illustration by Robert Neubecker.

John and Dave,

Sasha Issenberg Sasha Issenberg

Sasha Issenberg is the author of The Victory Lab about the new science of political campaigns.

If you’re looking for people who can talk about how they’re better off today than they were four years ago, I recommend you pay a visit to the Democrats Abroad delegation, which is located just off the convention floor between Florida and Kansas.

These are Americans who live overseas, but are mostly registered to vote at their last domestic address. They are expats but renounce the term because some people think it means they used to be patriotic. The Democratic National Committee, unlike Republicans, treats them like a state or territory. This year, the Democrats Abroad delegation represents Americans living on five continents.

“Like many of us, we can see more than anyone how Barack Obama has improved our reputation abroad. It’s a particular difference between 2008 and now,” says Vicki Hansen Thackray, an Iowa native who lives in Luxembourg and serves as Democrats Abroad’s international vice chair. “It’s part of the reason we’re so ardent.”

Democrats Abroad made a surprisingly high-profile cameo in American domestic politics during the 2008 primary season when Obama emerged with a net gain of two delegates over Hillary Clinton from the group’s virtual seven-delegate primary. This year the delegation’s votes are a formality, but they say they are able to share ground-level testimony to Obama’s ability to deliver change.

“Before 2008, when we traveled abroad we wouldn’t tell people we were American,” said Kenneth E. Sherman, a former Democratic committee man in Buffalo who now lives in Ontario with dual citizenship. He was elected Democrats Abroad’s international chair in 2008, propelled by a campaign speech in which he waved his American passport. The point, Sherman recalled, was that during the Bush years he had been ashamed to show it to border authorities, presenting a Canadian document instead. Now, he said, “I am proud to carry my US passport again.”

Thackray expressed modest disapproval of her fellow delegate. She had never felt ashamed to be American, she said, but the four years of Obama had indeed brought an appreciable improvement to her quality of life in Luxembourg. “People want to sit next to me at the dinner table again,” she said.


Read the rest of Slate’s coverage of the Democratic National Convention.



Don’t Worry, Obama Isn’t Sending U.S. Troops to Fight ISIS

But the next president might. 

The Extraordinary Amicus Brief That Attempts to Explain the Wu-Tang Clan to the Supreme Court Justices

Amazon Is Officially a Gadget Company. Here Are Its Six New Devices.

The Human Need to Find Connections in Everything

It’s the source of creativity and delusions. It can harm us more than it helps us.

How Much Should You Loathe NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell?

Here are the facts.

Altered State

The Plight of the Pre-Legalization Marijuana Offender

What should happen to weed users and dealers busted before the stuff was legal?

Surprise! The Women Hired to Fix the NFL Think the NFL Is Just Great.

You Shouldn’t Spank Anyone but Your Consensual Sex Partner

Sept. 17 2014 5:10 PM The Most Awkward Scenario in Which a Man Can Hold a Door for a Woman
  News & Politics
Altered State
Sept. 17 2014 11:51 PM The Plight of the Pre-Legalization Marijuana Offender What should happen to weed users and dealers busted before the stuff was legal?
Business Insider
Sept. 17 2014 1:36 PM Nate Silver Versus Princeton Professor: Who Has the Right Models?
Dear Prudence
Sept. 18 2014 6:00 AM All Shook Up My 11-year-old has been exploring herself with my “back massager.” Should I stop her?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 17 2014 6:14 PM Today in Gender Gaps: Biking
  Slate Plus
Slate Fare
Sept. 17 2014 9:37 AM Is Slate Too Liberal?  A members-only open thread.
Brow Beat
Sept. 17 2014 8:25 PM A New Song and Music Video From Angel Olsen, Indie’s Next Big Thing
Future Tense
Sept. 17 2014 9:00 PM Amazon Is Now a Gadget Company
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 18 2014 7:30 AM Red and Green Ghosts Haunt the Stormy Night
Sports Nut
Sept. 17 2014 3:51 PM NFL Jerk Watch: Roger Goodell How much should you loathe the pro football commissioner?