American Expats Living in Mexico Could Play Key Role in Close US Election
Angela Kocherga - Dallas News
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October 7, 2016
Could Expats Decide the U.S. Election? (Seeker Daily)
A few years ago, Ben and Bonnie Benoit considered returning to the United States, believing it was time to go home. Now as they follow the U.S. presidential election from their ranch home in Mexico’s wine country, they’re glad they didn’t.
What they see as divisive politics in the U.S. — the presidential campaign between Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump — confirms their decision to stay in Mexico. Sometimes as they watch and read the news, the Benoits are filled with dismay.
“Someone like Trump comes along and I can’t believe the country I thought was in existence ... is not,” said Ben, 76, who retired in Baja California, where he and his wife make wine. “I think we’re all in shock. I think we’re also terribly embarrassed.”
The U.S. presidential contest is generating buzz across the globe, where expatriates are in a frenzy about politics back home. Only Canada has more Americans than Mexico, but Trump’s Mexico bashing has made being American a bit more awkward these days.
“A lot of our Mexican friends are frightened of him,” Bonnie said.
In a close race, the vote abroad is that much more critical. Democrats and Republicans in Mexico say they’re seeing a huge spike in interest as they organize the “get out the vote” effort. Many are hosting large gatherings, including debate-watching parties.
The votes of expats, especially those registered in battleground states, can make all the difference, as was the case back in 2000, when George W. Bush beat Al Gore in a controversial election that ended up before the Supreme Court.
“The 2000 election raised awareness of the potential role of overseas Americans' ballots. Admissibility of overseas ballots was key in that election,” said Amanda Klekowski von Koppenfels, a senior lecturer in migration and politics at the University of Kent in England and author of Migrants or Expatriates? Americans in Europe.
“Overseas Americans are not polled; they could indeed provide winning margins in close elections,” she said.
Read the rest at Dallas News
Related: Mexico's Problem Goes Beyond US Elections, Straight to the American People (Worldcrunch)
Related: Latino Evangelicals Endorse Clinton Over Trump (Newsmax)
Related: Trump Accuses Obama Administration of 'Letting People Pour Into' U.S. 'So They Can Go and Vote' (The New Civil Rights Movement)
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