Deadline approaching to request accommodation for Iowa caucuses

When the Democratic National Committee nixed the “virtual caucus” plan, they destroyed any possibility of Iowans with disabilities participating in the February 3 caucuses by phone. Nevertheless, the Iowa Democratic Party is trying to make the in-person caucuses more accessible than in the past.

Democratic county party organizations have long been encouraged to arrange for precinct caucuses to be held at facilities that comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. However, that doesn’t eliminate all barriers that might keep someone from fully participating in the first step of the presidential nominating process.

For the first time this year, Iowa Democrats can submit a request for accommodation at their precinct caucuses.

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All I wanted was to scream at a billionaire

Tanya Keith is a Democratic activist in Des Moines and author of the recently published Soccer Stars on the Pitch. -promoted by Laura Belin

I am the Cory Booker precinct captain for my precinct in the River Bend neighborhood of Des Moines. When I heard he dropped out last Monday morning, I was gutted. Senator Booker was a unique candidate of hope in a sometimes angry field.

I was so firmly in his camp, I told people I didn’t need a second choice, I only needed to work hard to make him viable in my precinct. So after he left the race, I was lost, and I decided to go yell at a billionaire.

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Out of good group, Warren is my pick

Shawn Harmsen is a political and social justice activist in Iowa City. -promoted by Laura Belin

I believe Senator Elizabeth Warren would make the best president out of all of the candidates. So after spending more than a year carefully listening to candidates and watching their campaigns, I am excited to commit to caucus for Warren.

I have been a fan since she first appeared on the Daily Show, back when President Barack Obama reached out to her for her expertise and integrity to help save America in the wake of Bush’s 2008 recession, a recession that hit both of my parents pretty hard.

I watched as she helped put together a new agency to protect consumers, and how she got elected to the Senate after Republican senators blocked her from leading the agency she helped create.

The first time I saw her speak, and read her book, was a half-dozen years ago.  I wanted her to run in 2016.

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Democratic presidential primary schedule needs serious evaluation

Dan Guild: “The modern primary schedule greatly reduces the voice of African Americans in the selection of the Democratic presidential candidate.” -promoted by Laura Belin

On Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, let us remember the importance he placed on African American access to the ballot box. A portion of a speech he gave in 1957 is below.  The whole text is worth reading.

But even more, all types of conniving methods are still being used to prevent Negroes from becoming registered voters. The denial of this sacred right is a tragic betrayal of the highest mandates of our democratic tradition. And so our most urgent request to the president of the United States and every member of Congress is to give us the right to vote. [Audience:] (Yes)

Give us the ballot, and we will no longer have to worry the federal government about our basic rights…

Give us the ballot (Give us the ballot), and we will transform the salient misdeeds of bloodthirsty mobs (Yeah) into the calculated good deeds of orderly citizens.

Unfortunately, the modern primary schedule greatly reduces the voice of African Americans in the selection of the Democratic presidential candidate.

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Why Bernie Sanders is the only candidate who can beat Donald Trump

Caleb Gates lives and works in Cedar Rapids. He provides case management to new refugee families and advocates for new Iowans. -promoted by Laura Belin

When I came to bed on election night 2016 and told my wife Donald Trump had won, she cried and asked me, “Are you going to lose your job?”

I worked with refugees. In December 2017 I learned Trump’s anti-refugee policies were shutting down the program I worked for. I lost my job the following month.

I was blessed to find another job working with refugees, but many others in that field were not so fortunate. The Trump administration has stained the moral fabric of our country and decimated our global reputation. Many lives have been damaged or even destroyed as a direct result of the actions and decisions of this President. The stakes are high, and Democrats, independents, and even many Republicans feel it.

Given the stakes, priority number 1 for election 2020 is beating Donald Trump. We Iowans have a political responsibility to send a message to the country and the world, a responsibility greater than we deserve as less than 1 percent of the U.S. population and whiter and older than the country as whole. I will vote for whoever wins the Democratic nomination, but I want my caucus vote to help choose the right nominee. After mulling this decision for the last year, the answer is now clear: Bernie Sanders is the only candidate who can beat Donald Trump.

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How will the Democratic candidates reduce the risk of nuclear war?

Greg Thielmann grew up in Newton and worked for more than 30 years on nuclear weapons issues in the Office of Management and Budget, the U.S. Foreign Service, and the Senate Intelligence Committee. He currently serves as a board member of the Arms Control Association. -promoted by Laura Belin

When I was growing up in central Iowa during the Cold War, I sometimes found myself headed west on Interstate 80, imagining the way nuclear war would be likely to arrive in Iowa – a series of Soviet nuclear ground bursts in Omaha to destroy Strategic Air Command Headquarters, bathing Iowa in a heavy dose of radioactive fallout.

Now the Cold War is over, but not the nuclear threat. The Trump administration has abandoned the anti-nuclear deal with Iran and six other states. President Trump’s efforts to achieve nuclear disarmament on the Korean peninsula have fizzled. The U.S. has pulled out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty with Russia and is dithering over Moscow’s offer to extend the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START), the only remaining limit on the world’s largest nuclear arsenals. 

Meanwhile, the Trump administration proposes spending trillions of dollars to build new strategic weapons.

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