Democrats and Liberal Democrats Abroad
Posted by jonathanfryer on Friday, 15th April, 2011
One thing that goes in Barack Obama’s favour as he heads into the 2012 US presidential election race is that Americans have usually granted a second term to an incumbent seeking re-election, with the notable exception of Jimmy Carter in 1980. Bill Barnard, International Treasurer of Democrats Abroad (and immediate past Chairman of the organisation’s UK chapter) told the Association of European Journalists (AEJ) at Europe House today that another advantage Obama has is that as yet no substantial Republican challenger has been identified. Sarah Palin’s star is in the wane, he believes, even if she still has high name recognition. I pointed out that many people in Britain are horrified by suggestions that this might be the first ‘billion dollar election campaign’, but Bill says there is little chance of UK-style spending limitations being adopted State-side. Being able to contribute as much as one wants to a campaign is seen as an extension of the right to free speech, he commented. That means that branches of Democrats abroad are expected to raise large sums of money for US elections. At a dinner in London for Al Gore, for example, tables were filled with US expats prepared to pay $10,000 a plate. I can’t see many British expats being ready to stump up such sums, nonetheless the Liberal Democras are now building up a network of chapters abroad. Brussels and Luxembourg, not surprisingly, has had one for some time; many pro-Europeans are naturally attracted to the LibDems. Recently a second branch was launched in Hong Kong. Other should follow soon, including, one hopes, in the United States.