Hillary Clinton addresses AIPAC in Washington DC.
While Republicans Overseas is investing in a massive campaign to get Americans living in Israel to vote in the November 8 US election, its counterpart, Democrats Abroad, is armed with one major resource: fear of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.
Republicans Overseas has hired a team of Israeli campaign strategists and spokespeople to get out the vote in the Jewish state. Democrats Abroad will suffice with volunteers and a leadership team that has gone through restructuring.
Some 30 supporters of Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton gathered at a Jerusalem cafe on Wednesday night to strategize how to mobilize to make sure all the Clinton supporters eligible and eager to vote for her are registered.
The meeting was run and organized by volunteers Tally Zingher and Jonathan Morgenstein, a veteran who served in Iraq with the US Marine Corps.
In the last US presidential campaign four years ago, he ran Veterans for Obama in Northern Virginia. He said he was pleased by the response to the hastily called and poorly advertised meeting.
“There are clearly a lot of Americans here who want to come out and do everything possible to ensure Hillary Clinton becomes president,” Morgenstein said. “There are thousands of Americans in Israel who will bring energy to this campaign because of their support for Hillary and their fear of the possibility of a Trump presidency.”
Speaking by phone while manning a Democrats Abroad booth at an exhibition, Morgenstein said that along with enthusiasm for Clinton, there were many people who have told him they intend to vote just in order to help Trump lose.
“They have responded that they weren’t Democrats but deeply believe in the ‘Never Trump’ viewpoint,” Morgenstein said. “Disaffected Republicans who find Trump a national security threat or at least a bad presidential candidate recognize that the only thing that can prevent Trump from being president is electing Hillary Clinton.”
Hungary-based Democrats Abroad regional vice chairman Merrill Oates said from Croatia that events will be held in the major cities of Israel, with membership drives and speakers.
Oates, who is in charge of volunteers throughout Europe and the Middle East, said Democrats Abroad was receiving information from US states on people who requested ballots and voted in the past.
People who have been involved in efforts to bring out the Israeli vote over the past two decades said the Democrats and Republicans were starting their campaign much too late. They said that the Israeli postal service is in disarray and that there still are states where registering to vote must be done through the mail.
Oates said there was still time to register to vote in any of the 50 states. The earliest state’s deadline is October 1 and some states allow registration into November, he said. He recommended visiting votefromabroad.
org, a website his organization runs that helps people from both parties register to vote and provides information on deadlines.
“Some states you can request a ballot by email and in some you can even vote by email,” he said. “It’s definitely not too late."
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