According to The Economist, the Republicans’ greatest handicap is the presence of extremist elements within the party. Republicans in Geneva agreed there were concerns.
“You definitely have extremist fringes in both parties. But if you look at the candidates and president they are much more centrist,” said Ed Karr.
“This fear that Romney is going to be a hardcore Tea Party radical or Christian Evangelist is completely unfounded. He’ll be a real centrist. If you look at his track record as governor of Massachusetts he brought both sides together and he’ll be able to work with everyone.”
William Olenick echoed this: “There is extremism in both parties and I don’t like it. With the left you have the radical environmentalists and on our side you have different factions who are pretty much one-issue oriented and they can be pretty extreme. What we need to do is to work together as Americans and not this partisanship.”
But Geneva is perhaps a reflection of the political divisions in the US.
“This is like my seventh election cycle and for years Republicans and Democrats abroad worked together on voter registration and for the Americans International Club of Geneva,” said Olenick.
“Two election cycles ago the Democrats dropped out, calling it a Republican club – that’s nonsense. We work together to show the Swiss and international community our political process.
“That’s the Democrats Abroad table,” he said, pointing at an empty table. “They didn’t send anyone.”
Which is not quite true. Many Democrats were also present at the Crowne Plaza, including Ammad Bahalim, vice-president of Democrats Abroad Switzerland, who gave an speech.
But most Democrat partygoers left early. A separate event has been organised by Democrats Abroad Switzerland at another location in Geneva.
Photo: the empty Democrats Abroad table