Why I Left the Democratic Party and Why You Should Too

To put it plainly, the party left me and the people.

The party left us by continuing to ignore the people and what they want. They do this by standing with the same old same old politics of the establishment and corporations at the expense of the working class. Instead of being the party of big ideas as it once was back when they fought for Social Security and Medicare, they are now the party of the status-quo-plus-tweaks.

The party claims to be the party of the people yet they hold their progressive ideas conference at one of Washington, D.C.’s most expensive hotels, the Four Seasons. Then they sell the tickets to said conference at $1,000 and fail to invite one of the most progressive Senators in the U.S., Senator Bernie Sanders or his supporters (The Nation).

The party proclaims to be about getting money out of politics and ending Citizens United, nevertheless, they refuse to take corporations on in the public sphere and wouldn’t return to an Obama-era policy that banned lobbyist money from funding the Democratic National Committee (DNC) (The Guardian). Furthermore, despite the broad support of guaranteeing health care as a right, they still refuse to support single-payer healthcare or sometimes called Medicare-for-All.

The party even says it wants more people to vote and be the voice of the people. Then I wonder why they challenged the open primary system in Hawaii claiming that allowing independents to vote in their primaries was a violation of the party’s constitutional rights (The New York Times). But when the general election comes around they are all too eager to have said independent’s votes to elect their candidates.

And yet party leaders cannot understand why they are losing election after election and the people’s support. According to a recent poll by the Washington Post – ABC News, 67% of Americans believe that the Democratic Party is out of touch with their needs (The Nation).

I am not the only person who is frustrated with the party. There are thousands of us if not millions. We stood up to say we wanted change when we supported Former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley and Senator Bernie Sanders for President and many of us did vote for Hillary Clinton because we understood that Trump should not become President.

Unfortunately, now we need to stand up to change politics as usual inside the Democratic Party because it is not working.

My message to the Democratic Party:

Because you have refused to listen to us, our values, and our ideas. Because you have refused to make us feel welcome or hear our voices, it is time to make you hear by leaving your party.

Your actions have made it quite clear that you do not want us.

Therefore, I, along with many others have left and are leaving the Democratic Party.

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Join the Resistance!

The U.S., a standard-bearer of democracy for the world, has become a ‘flawed democracy,’ as popular confidence in the functioning of public institutions has declined – Democracy Index.

If you ask me, I think that we are quickly falling into a fascist state run by an authoritarian President.

Week one of Trump’s rule is full of lies about the total number of attendees at his crowning, supposed “voter fraud” and attacking the media for calling him out. He also proceeded in deleting White House website pages on civil rights, the LGBTQIA+ community, climate change, and persons with disabilities. He even demanded a list of all who worked to combat climate change and recently told top State Department officials to leave.

Within the first week, he signed many harmful executive orders including authorization to build a U.S. – Mexico border wall; stripping federal money from sanctuary cities; reinstating local and state immigration enforcement; reviving the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines; one that would expedite environmental permitting processes for infrastructure projects; an order imposing a hiring freeze on the federal government; an order that directs federal agencies to ease “regulatory burdens” of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Additionally, with the Republican-controlled Congress Trump’s cabinet appointees seem to be gliding through the Senate. Further, it appears that their major achievement, the repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is at full speed ahead. Repeal efforts have already passed in the Congress, by a vote of 51-48 in the Senate and by 227-198 in the House.

Let me repeat what will happen if the ACA is repealed. It would mean that 57 million senior citizens and disabled Americans with Medicare would see higher premiums and deductibles. Repeal would increase Medicare spending by $802 billion over the next ten years, according to estimates by the Congressional Budget Office. Repeal would also take Medicaid away from nearly 17 million people.

Next up for the Republicans and Trump could be your civil rights. For example, rounding up an entire ethnic group and deporting them or reinstating “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” or passing a federal marriage ban.

If we look specifically at Iowa, LGBTQIA+ people have a lot to lose, for instance, the amended civil rights code that includes sexual orientation and gender identity, the Iowa Safe Schools law, and adoption rights.

So, what can we do about this!?

Join the resistance! Join local organizations that are fighting back. Join the Democratic Party in their fight against this fascist administration.

Hold campaigns are calling and writing your government representative be it local, state, or federal. Hold sit-ins at their offices. Demand answers for why they are supporting this administration and their actions. If your representative is fighting with you, thank them and encourage them to fight on.

Just do something!

Go here to join Our Revolution: https://ourrevolution.com/
Go here to join Organizing for Action: https://www.ofa.us/
Go here to join Planned Parenthood: https://www.plannedparenthood.org/get-involved
Go here to join the National Organization of Woman: http://now.org/
Go here to join the ACLU: https://www.aclu.org/
Call your Rep or Senator here: HouseSenate

Remember one of the best Presidents in U.S. history

and something to make us laugh

2016

 

This past year has been very exciting and challenging. Many events have taken place. Let’s begin with January.

In January, I started working for the Bernie Sanders campaign. On the campaign, I worked under a field organizer to help ensure they met all of their goals. I was working in Iowa on the caucuses where I was based in Council Bluffs and also did organizing in Harrison County.

On February 1st, Sen. Sanders won half the Iowa delegates. Iowa was a tie this was huge news for the Bernie Sanders campaign. The official results were 49.8% for Clinton and 49.6% for Sanders. Therefore, Sen. Sanders won 696.82 state delegates, and Hillary Clinton won 700.9.

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Locally, Pottawattamie County, which was supposed to be a stronghold for Hillary Clinton went to Bernie Sanders, 50.7% to 49%. Further, in my precinct, Council Bluffs 11, it went 62.5% for Sanders and 37.5% for Clinton.

Bernie Sanders had a great showing in Iowa for a long-shot candidate.

Following the Iowa caucuses, I began working in Nebraska on their caucuses as a Field Organizer. During this part of the campaign, I was based in Lincoln. Thus, on the weekends I would spend my time there and weekdays in Council Bluffs organizing in Omaha and Dodge County, NE because I was still a full-time student at Iowa Western Community College.

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After the Nebraska Caucuses, I went back to working in Iowa, but now I was organizing the Sanders campaign participation in the County and District Conventions. We worked to make sure that Sen. Sanders would get a fair representation of the delegation he won on the night of the caucuses.

I also worked in Kansas on their District Conventions doing the same job and in Colorado on their State Convention doing similar work, but I also had the opportunity to monitor the official counting of the ballots and helped with the certification of those ballots as the Sanders, campaign representative.

Moving forward, in June at the Iowa Democratic State Convention, I ran for Democratic National Committee (DNC) member. I did lose the election. Together we won. We won at the state conventions around the nation, in California, Missouri, Nebraska, Texas, and Washington.

Even though I lost, we won, because we won enough votes to show a strong standing against the party establishment demonstrating that we want change.

Specifically, at the Iowa State Convention, we passed one of the most progressive Democratic State platforms.

  • Calling for single-payer healthcare
  • Supporting the death with dignity act
  • Protecting LGBTQIA elders against discrimination
  • Support of health insurance coverage for transgender individuals
  • Support of tuition-free state college and universities
  • Opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership
  • Support of equal human rights for Palestinians and Israelis.
  • Calling for 100% renewable energy by the year 2025.
  • Opposition to fast-tracking trade agreements.

The convention even agreed to a plank calling for the abolishment of superdelegates.

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In July, I officially came out in support of Hillary Clinton. This was after 29 million people voted in the Democratic primary. Bernie Sanders won 1,831 national delegates, 13 million votes, and Hillary Clinton won 2,220 national delegates.

It was an honor to have volunteered and been a staffer for Senator Sanders. Together, we began a revolution to transform American politics and that revolution continues. We fought and are fighting for a government that works and represents us all, not just the one percent.

In August, I moved to the University of Iowa to get my Bachelor’s degree in psychology and perhaps sociology. At the University of Iowa, I have taken the following classes, Behavioral Neuroscience, Clinical Psychology, and Sociological Theory.

However, moving to Iowa City wasn’t all fun because a couple of things happened after I got here. I received terrible news of a friend passing away. Her name was Pauline Beck.

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Pauline was a great person who would do anything for the people she loved. She even had an impact on many lives by her generous heart. She was a friend to many and was like a mother to others.

I first met Pauline the first day she walked into the 2016 Bernie Sanders office in Council Bluffs, Iowa. From that day forward she was in the office nearly every day. She took care of many of the needs of the office, or she would find someone who could. She provided many home cooked meals, cleaned the office, and made many creative decorations.

She is greatly missed by many.

Then we have November where Hillary Clinton won the popular vote but lost the undemocratic Electoral College vote to Donald Trump. We lost the battle but not the war.

On November 10, the vote total was 59,695,628 popular votes and 279 electoral votes for Donald Trump to 59,920,291 popular votes and 228 electoral votes for Hillary Clinton which her lead would grow to nearly 3 million votes.

As a progressive Democrat, I was proud to have voted for Hillary Clinton, and I am deeply saddened by the results of this election.

Even though Democrats did not win back the Senate as expected or gain more seats in the House; Democrats did not lose everything. Just look at the states. In states like California, Nevada, Washington, Colorado, and others they all passed progressive ballot measures.

Arkansas

  • Legalized medical marijuana

California

  • New background checks for ammunition and prohibits possession of large capacity magazines
  • Legalized marijuana for use by adults 21 and over

Colorado

  • Raised the minimum wage
  • Allow terminally ill patients to end their life with assistance of a doctor

Maine

  • Legalized marijuana for use by adults 21 and over
  • Raised the minimum wage

Massachusetts

  • Legalized the possession of marijuana

Montana

  • Legalized medical marijuana

Nevada

  • Expanded gun background checks
  • Legalized marijuana

North Dakota

  • Legalized medical marijuana

Washington

  • Increased the minimum wage

14956434_1272438012819316_4901109538472250760_nAdditionally, in November Blair Lawton announced that he would run for Chair of the Iowa Democratic Party and I threw my support behind him.

I support Blair for the position because of his experience working on campaigns and his ideas on how to rebuild our party. Blair believes in contesting every legislative race and spending less time courting big donors and more time building grassroots donations from activists.

20160412_114409On December 5, I announced my candidacy for Vice-Chair of the Iowa Democratic Party. The election will be held on January 21.

I am running for Vice-chair because I want to give back to the party that has fought for my civil rights and fights for health care for all. I am running because I want to rebuild the party.

My passion stems from the fact that I know that if I want to have rights, I need to step up and fight for them.

Half of the year, I have been fighting for health insurance because the Social Security Administration decided that I am no longer medically disabled. However, the issue is that they not only want me to go to work which is fine but they terminated my health insurance, and I am left to my own devices to find health insurance. Meaning that I must find health insurance that will cover my medications including anti-rejection and cystinosis medications, which add up quickly, one of the drugs alone Procysbi cost over $63,000 for a 30-day supply.

This on-going battle with the Social Security Administration is quite stressful and demeaning. Especially because of the psychological evaluation, an enormous amount of paperwork, and calls I have endured during the last six months.

Participating in a psychological evaluation to determine if one need help through the Social Security Administration can be hurtful and demeaning especially when the psychologist has their biases against the client.

From the beginning, she was expecting a male and instead got me. On top of that, I was involved with the Democratic party.

Therefore, reading her evaluation makes one feel inferior and worthless. Specifically, in the evaluation notes, she states, “She appeared to be low average intellectual ability,” and she did this without doing any intelligence assessments. But we cannot forget how she calls me male several times.

How would I rate 2016?

The first part of the year was awesome I was full of hope and energy but as the year went on that energy and hope drained.

Currently, I have little hope for a better future, and my energy is draining fast. This is because of these recent events with Hillary Clinton losing, Democrats losing control of the Senate in Iowa, not gaining control of the U.S. Senate, and not to forget this on-going battle that I keep fighting with the Social Security Administration. I seem to be losing this fight, and I keep getting this feeling that hits me in the gut, it feels like I’ve already been defeated.

Nevertheless, with the hope I have, I will fight on!

Progressive Democrat

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Photo credit: PDA

I am a progressive Democrat. I am a progressive because I believe in social and economic equality. I see a future where the financial sector is more regulated, where corporations protect their workers and where we have fair trade.

373713_256875934351305_615712812_nI was an Occupy Wall Street protester during 2011, and I was there on the streets calling for the breaking up of the big banks and calling for the end of the massive college debt crisis.

I am a progressive that believes in expanding social security, expanding health care for all through either a public option or single-payer healthcare, free public college and university and a living wage.

I am a progressive who believes in paid family and medical leave and paid sick leave, paid parental leave, and paid vacation.

I am a progressive who believes in strengthening the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), and additional funding for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), and the Department of Labor (DOL).

1508165_725682764139401_2067267913_nI am a progressive who believes teaching social studies including Native American, Black, Latino, women’s, and LGBTQIA+ history, and comprehensive, evidence-based health and sex education that include LGBTQIA+ education.

I am a progressive who believes in the full support and enforcement of the Civil Rights Act (CRA) and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

I am a progressive who believes in full federal equality for LGBTQIA+ individuals and the passage of the Equality Act which will provide that equality.

I am a progressive who believes that government should be in the business of leveling the playing field so that everyone plays by the same rules and has an equal chance to get ahead in this world. I believe in a government that works for the protection of everyone and treats everyone equally.

This is what being progressive means to me.

Mika for Vice-Chair

Photo Credit: Linda Nelson

Today, I am announcing that I am running for one of the Vice-Chair positions of the Iowa Democratic Party. I am a former party official from Pottawattamie County and currently I serve on the Johnson County Central Committee. I am a former campaign staffer who has previously worked for President Obama’s and Senator Sanders’ campaigns.

My top goal is to work with the Chair whoever that is to rebuild our party but also to ensure we have a party that builds a 99 county strategy. We cannot leave House and Senate races uncontested.

I am excited to be running for Vice-Chair and give my fellow Democrats a choice. The next year must be about reorganization and rebuilding our party.

I grew up in Nebraska and transplanted to Iowa in 2012 because I believed in a better future and wanted to join the fight for it. In May 2012, I moved to Council Bluffs to work for President Obama as an organizing fellow. I have lived here ever since, volunteering on political campaigns and going to school at Iowa Western Community College and now at the University of Iowa.

photo (1)After the 2012 election, I worked with Nebraska State Senator Sara Howard to pass her bill LB380, a second-parent adoption bill. I ran a grassroots campaign for the bill which was sponsored by MoveOn.org.

In 2014, I was elected as the Pottawattamie County Democrats’ Affirmative Action Chair, and I served from February 2014 to October 2015.

In the Winter of 2015, I was hired by the Bernie Sanders campaign to be an organizing fellow which I was later promoted to field organizer and worked in several states including Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, and Colorado.

After the primary, I moved to the University of Iowa where I am studying psychology and sociology.

I am running because I want to continue to fight for a better future and the only way to do that is through a strong Democratic Party.

Submit questions here: mika.j.covington@gmail.com or call me at 712.314.8258