Trump rhetoric is driving Americans abroad to vote
Democrats, including in the UAE, believe that Trump's incendiary comments are harmful to Americans and their interests abroad.
Inflammatory rhetoric by Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump will likely drive Americans abroad to vote in higher numbers than ever before, according to Orlando Vidal, UAE chairman of Democrats Abroad, the official organisation for registered Democrats living outside the US.
Trump has repeatedly come under fire for his remarks about Muslims, which at one point included calling for a complete shutdown on Muslims entering the US, although this was later amended to a call for "special scrutiny" on foreigners coming from "regions associated with Islamic terrorism".
Register to vote from abroad
> Democrats Abroad is calling on all American expatriates in the UAE to register to vote. Among the easiest ways, they note, is through VoteFromAbroad.org, a non-partisan website that helps people register.
> American Democrats abroad are also advised to visit DemocratsAbroad.com, while Republicans can head to https://www.facebook.com/republicansoverseas
He has also been criticised for his comments on Mexicans, whom he characterised as "rapists" who are "bringing drugs and crimes".
"The terrible, racist, inflammatory and frankly untrue statements that Trump has said about Mexicans, Muslims and others will galvanise people abroad to vote in unprecedented numbers this election," Vidal told Khaleej Times.
Vidal said many Democrats believe that such incendiary comments are harmful to Americans and their interests abroad.
"When it comes to Muslims in the United States, I fly back and forth a lot between Dubai and the US. The other day I was arriving into New York and, seeing a Muslim family waiting at the airport for their loved ones with flowers and a big sign, it struck me that under a Trump presidency we may not see that," he said. "It's just wrong, and disruptive, and it's very harmful to US foreign policy and to us Americans living abroad."
Vidal noted that many Americans abroad - both Democrats and Republicans - are particularly concerned about FATCA, the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act.
FATCA, which was passed in 2010, requires American citizens living abroad to report their worldwide income and foreign bank accounts to pay taxes in the US. In the UAE, financial institutions are obligated to report information on US citizens to authorities in the UAE, which report the findings to the US.
Vidal noted that - unlike Republicans - Democrats living overseas would like to see amendments made to FATCA, rather than call for its complete repeal.
"Most Americans who leave the United States do so for the very same reason that immigrants come to the United States, for economic reasons," he said. "There may be an impression that Americans living abroad are wealthy, and that's just not the case. We go abroad for work.
"It can be a burden, and compliance with FATCA could be made easier. Democrats Abroad is not asking for a repeal of FATCA, just some amendments."
For this reason, Vidal noted that - in his opinion - Hillary Clinton is the best candidate for Americans living abroad.
"She's promised some reforms to make it easier for Americans living abroad to comply with the law, and exempt Americans who are residents of those countries, as opposed to people on temporary residency abroad," he said. "Hillary is not only the better candidate, she is certainly the most experienced candidate that we have had in the history of the United States. Who else can you point to with that experience?"
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