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Sat Mar 16, 2019, 06:01 PM

Well, you know the election season has started in earnest when..............

When you start to get email from campaign managers asking when it would be convenient for you to take a phone call from (pick one). You already know what the call will be about: "can you give me money?"

I usually pick from three standard responses.

1. "Sure, he/she can call, but I am overseas, so it will be a transatlantic call, and I have an insane schedule, so it will have to be arranged on short notice." One major candidate has actually said yes, please to this (maybe google told this candidate something I don't know?), which was the kickstarter for the reason for this long-winded post. Please bear with me.

2. I don't respond at all, as their positions and/or presentation do not come across as presidential to me.

3. "Sorry, but your candidate has exhibited very un-presidential behavior in the recent past, and I am not in interested in speaking with him/her."

Now, I know how come they have my email and phone number. I have contributed to almost ALL of them at some time in the past. Sanders, Warren, Booker, Inslee, Beto, Klobuchar, Hickenlooper, Gillibrand, Castro, Harris (?? I think?), etc. But that was for either Congress or a governorship. I didn't even know who Pete Buttegeig was in 2016, so I have never contributed to him. He seems to have gotten himself elected mayor of South Bend without my help just fine.

I have communicated, in writing, to all Senators who publicly urged Al Franken to resign need not bother. Some do anyway. Some just don't pass information on. Every year I have to tell new staffers of Gabby Giffords' sensible gun laws group that I don't NEED special attention from Mark or Gabby (I've known them for over ten years). They, at least, apologize for the oversight.

However--this past week, one of the candidates whom I might consider supporting, if our views jive on enough issues important to both of us, actually did reach out, and still wants to talk with me. Now, I'm no big fish, can't even contribute the max allowable (and if they insist on pushing for that, the conversation is over). You can know people--their net worth still doesn't rub off on you when you shake hands or chat over dinner.

I'm taxed in Germany, so every for $50 I send them, I have to earn $100. Of all the solicitors of contributions that ever called me, only ONE (Russ Feingold) seemed to know that.

NO ONE seems to be interested in Americans Abroad. This is what I will ask about. We are a voting bloc of about 6 million people. That is a population greater than over 20 of the States of the Union. There will always be the idiots who think we are all gazillionaire tax exiles living in villas in Monaco or on the Cayman Islands and sailing on yachts, but there are about 5,999,700 of the 6,000,000 of us to whom that does NOT apply. Many of us live in countries that have higher income tax rates than the USA, plus a 20% sales tax on everything and service we purchase, and we STILL have to file US tax returns in case someone missed something somewhere. Only three countries in the world do not recognize residence-based taxation: the USA, Eritrea, and some other small African nation that I have forgotten. Most of us are here because our jobs sent us here, our personal lives (i.e. married a foreign spouse that did not want to live in the USA) demanded it, or we just found our life's calling outside the USA without that meaning we wanted to renounce our citizenship (virtually no one does--"I yam what I yam," and all that).

Sure, there is medical care reform, tax reform, correcting foreign policy, defense policy, addressing income inequality without Nazi style confiscation from people we don't like, and repairing the Justice Department--assuming that one is even possible at this point. But all candidates seem to have laid out their positions on the "DUH" issues: poverty is bad, lack of education is bad, lack of health care is bad, and climate change is bad. Like Jesse Jackson told in his legendary address to the DNC so many years ago: "you're RIGHT. But that's not enough."

Now before the calls start raging for this to have been posted on the primaries board, it was consciously NOT put there. First off, the "Primaries" board is by definition about a series of events, the first of which doesn't take place for nearly 11 months. I look, but I don't play, as there are no primaries that are upcoming this year, and therefore nothing to comment on. I find the requirement to state a preference (or lack of one) a bit putting off, but that's not my decision, and I'm happy to not play. Predictably, posters there often have interesting things to say, and then the "usual suspects" act (seems to me anyway) like paid staffers, dutifully letting us know every time their candidate has switched toothpaste brands.

This post is not about the far-off primaries. It is about campaign finance (or, at leatst, one aspect of it that has come home to me here in Germany).

I'm sure LOTS of us are getting either phone calls or requests to take them. Has anyone else been asked to take a call from, and speak with their (or any other) candidates yet? I mean, not including anyone who already works for one of the candidates. I expect a lot of this in a year. It seems early now, except that we ALL know that this will be like 2008: the race for the Democratic nomination is a de-facto race for the presidency. (Caveat--it was in 2016, too, so NOTHING can be taken for granted).

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Response to DFW (Original post)

Sat Mar 16, 2019, 06:14 PM

1. Do you know if Beto said anything about Al?

I was hoping a few years ago Al would run before the mess.

I thought I picked someone than a few more got in I like. So undecided for now.

I like Beto but unsure if he is tough enough to take on Trump and his people who will bully to the max including family.

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Response to marlakay (Reply #1)

Sat Mar 16, 2019, 06:24 PM

2. I have heard nothing at all about Beto making any such comment. He was in the House, of course.

At any rate, he was obviously not a sitting member of the Senate during the period when this all blew up.

Not only do I agree with you that Al might have run, I think he might have won as well. At this point, he is not interested. Unfortunately. The Republicans wouldn't have to dig out their own unfounded accusations. All they would have to do is dig up Democratic comments on the unfounded Republican accusations and present them as fact. This is how they operate. It would be highly distracting, and that is all they would need. With Al, the other Democratic Senators removed one of their most serious competitors before he even expressed any interest in becoming one. It's what we used to call a "left-handed compliment." The only consolation Al has is that enough of his colleagues apparently felt he would have been competition that would have been too difficult to overcome. Even if they DIDN'T feel that way, they would have been right if they had.

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Response to DFW (Reply #2)

Sat Mar 16, 2019, 08:16 PM

3. I always thought that too

They knew he could win.

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Response to marlakay (Reply #3)

Sun Mar 17, 2019, 04:00 AM

4. And that was seemingly enough to terrify the rest of them.

Not exactly a sterling reference on any of them. I am waiting for any of them, just ONE of them, to stand up and say, "we were hasty, and we made a serious mistake, so let me be the first to publicly state how deeply sorry I am." Others will probably follow, but the first one (and I doubt there will be such an animal) will be the one from whom I would be willing to listen to about their program and at least consider contributing to. Otherwise, I will either get impressed by someone else or I will wait for there to be a nominee.

*on edit--I just took a look at brooklynite's post about Hickenlooper on the "Primaries" board. Rather than any requests for what he had to say about ANYTHING, almost all of the replies were snide, sarcastic comments, blasting the poster for nothing other than commenting on having had dinner with Hickenlooper (good thing none of these people were around in 2012, or I would have been the one with a target on my back). Not one of the nasty useless posts were removed. If that is what that board has devolved into already, it's going to be one ugly board by September!

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Response to DFW (Original post)

Sun Mar 17, 2019, 12:05 PM

5. KnR

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Response to Hekate (Reply #5)

Sun Mar 17, 2019, 12:07 PM

6. Sorry for going on and on

Thanks for your patience!

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Response to DFW (Reply #6)

Sun Mar 17, 2019, 12:41 PM

7. No patience needed; I spotted this last night as I was heading for bed and left the page open...

Now I'm still a little short for time but wanted to tag it after reading through, tho I don't have much to add.

Two things -- I had no idea so many Americans lived abroad. You make excellent points about that. And -- the Primaries forum is already so ugly and imo pointless that I don't go there on purpose aside from jury duty.

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Response to Hekate (Reply #7)

Sun Mar 17, 2019, 01:20 PM

8. We are quite a numerous bunch for a bloc of voters with no say about anything.

We are, of course, spread out all over the globe, too, so it's not like you'll find a concentration of 750,000 of us in any one place. THAT would garner some attention. As it is, all we are good for is solicitation of fundraising.

I obviously share your view on the so-called "primaries" board (WHAT primaries?). I will accept that it is conceivable that that board is not populated by many posters with specific agendas, and no other reason for being in DU at all. I find it equally conceivable that the Pacific Ocean will convert to being 100% fresh water by 5:00 PM PST tomorrow afternoon. Neither scenario, however, comes across as highly likely to me. I mean, OK, candidates like Pete Buttegieg and Jay Inslee wouldn't yet have raised funds needed for that kind of staff yet, but plenty of other candidates surely have, and I am confident that one definitely has (not just DU, but all major blogs).

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