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The White House in Washington, D.C. (Chris Hannay/The Globe and Mail)
The White House in Washington, D.C. (Chris Hannay/The Globe and Mail)

On the U.S. campaign trail with Canadian expats Add to ...

On Nov. 6, U.S. voters will have two choices for president: Barack Obama or Mitt Romney.

But the election is clearly about more than just red or blue. Many issues are at stake, from employment and health care to military intervention and education investment.

Since July 4 – the U.S. Independence Day – we at The Globe have run a project to give a broader scope to our election coverage.

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We harnessed a network of Canadian expats living in the United States (largely made up of Globe and Mail readers) to be cultural translators for election issues. They range in geography (check out this map), ideology, age and occupation.

We’ve presented debates between the expats on a variety of topics and watched the presidential debates along with them in a live blog.

The expats have also sent us dispatches from across the United States. Here are a few of my favourites:

  • As the school year began, tensions were high between teachers and governments across the United States and Canada. Owen Harkness, from small-town Ontario, is now a teacher in New York City. He says the unions are a big part of the problem.
  • Ashley O’Kurley, from Edmonton, visited a Republican campaign rally in Miami after Mr. Romney picked Paul Ryan as his running mate. Mr. O’Kurley isn’t too impressed with the tribalism of U.S. parties.
  • One of the most inflammatory comments of this campaign were made in August by Missouri Republican Todd Akin about what a “legitimate rape” is. Carla Chropkowski, a former probation officer in Saskatoon (who often dealt with sexual assault issues), gave her perspective from St. Louis.
  • After the horrific shooting at a Sikh Temple in Wisconsin, Jason Sidhu, from Vancouver, told us what it’s been like to live as a Sikh in the United States after 9/11. It hasn’t always been easy.
  • Mr. Romney’s Mormon religion was a big deal when he sought the Republican nomination in 2008, though it’s been talked about less in 2012. Luke MacDonald, who studies at Brigham Young University in Utah (Mr. Romney’s alma mater), tells us what Mormonism teaches about politics.

Members of the group even organized their own real-life meetup after spending months talking in a private forum. Some of us met up in Washington, D.C., and took in the sights.

It’s less than four weeks until voting day. We hope you’ll continue watching the campaign with us.

Follow on Twitter: @channay

 

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