Gricha Raether at Pinche Gringo BBQ, a traditional spot in Mexico City owned by a US citizen, that employs Mexicans deported from the US.
It is estimated that at least 1.5 million Americans live in Mexico, according to the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City.
The North American Project sought out Mexican-American Democratic and Republican leaders and supporters residing in Mexico to learn their views regarding President Donald Trump’s administration, their concerns about the November elections, and their activities within the country to promote the vote.
Gricha Raether, the chair of Democrats Abroad in Mexico City, is guessing that 85% of Americans living in Mexico will vote blue. Raether says he had feared a Trump victory in 2016. He decided to get involved in politics and contacted Democrats Abroad to collaborate and “stop this madness in the U.S.”
Raether reports that the nonpartisan website Votefromabroad.org, which assists Americans in registering to vote overseas, has seen registrations increase by more than 40% in comparison with past elections. If there is a correlation between those who have joined the Democratic ranks and those who have registered to vote overseas, he says, the result will be higher.
“If 10% of Americans in Mexico had voted in 2016, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton would have won enough votes to win the electoral college,” he says.
Raether believes another Trump term will bring about more police brutality; increased hate speech; a loss of U.S. leadership on international and human rights; and a regression on climate issues, given the U.S. abandonment of the Paris agreement. Regarding tax reforms imposed by Trump, he believes that they only reduced taxes on businesses in exchange for more investments and hiring, but, he says: “That money never reached the pockets of the workers.”
Raether is concerned about who will replace Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg since Trump’s appointee will be a conservative who will upset the balance of the court. (Raether expressed his concern before Ginsburg’s death Sept. 18.)
Raether believes a Biden victory would lead to an improvement in the U.S.-Mexico relationship since the Mexican government would then have a professional counterpart to engage with: “We are not going to meet with a president who one day says that Mexicans are the worst thing in the world and the next day they are the best, simply because it suits him. We’re not going to fit with a government like Trump’s, where he’s going to use tariffs to force Mexico to use its security forces, in an exercise where he practically moved the border wall to the south of our country.”
Raether votes in Texas. He believes that the U.S. electoral system discourages voting. “The reality is that, in most states, voting in such an election has no effect,” he says, since it’s swing states that ultimately determine the winner. He points out that in the 2000 and 2016 elections, the Democratic candidates won the popular vote.
Amy Glover, who has been a Mexican citizen for five years, says she’s excited to vote for Kamala Harris, who represents the union of three nations, with her mother from India and her father from Jamaica.
“I think it’s an opportunity to heal rough spots and unite the country,” she says.
Glover was born in Detroit, but grew up between San Francisco and Reno, arriving in Mexico in 1997 and raising two children with her husband, who is Mexican.
Glover is an economist and columnist and belongs to Democrats Abroad. She has published her views on the U.S.-Mexico relationship in national newspapers, writing about the importance of the Democratic vote in the 2020 election. She believes that Trump’s insults directed toward Mexicans have an impact: “We saw, in the violence in El Paso, the influence of the concepts of hate and social resentment.” She was referring to the 2019 massacre at an El Paso Walmart by a 21-year-old white male who described the attack as a response to “the Hispanic invasion of Texas.”
“This is not a normal election,” Glover says. “Trump’s presence is a threat to democracy. He has done much to generate hatred and has put institutions on trial. He himself questions whether the election will be valid. Frankly, this is something unprecedented in the United States. In Mexico, it happens all the time, but to question the validity of an election in the U.S., never.”
Alejandra Roman has voted from abroad in the last three presidential elections. An American citizen with an Ecuadorian father, she says that in 2018 she became more actively involved in Democrats Abroad. She fundraises and makes advocacy calls to ask her compatriots if they have registered to vote. She also does Zoom workshops to address doubts regarding voting abroad.
Roman believes that the voting process in the U.S., with rules that differ by state, is not transparent. She votes in Miami, where the process is done by mail. Yet Trump has declared that mail-in votes are susceptible to fraud. Roman, who has never voted any other way, says, “It’s 100% lies. He wants to create an atmosphere to reject the results in case he loses.”