I didn't wanna say anything before because I kinda like Rab's angsty spirit, but yeah, I've found it easy to see why Shontel Brown won this contest. Though Brown was called the "establishment" candidate in this race, I feel that that descriptor is, in certain spiritual senses, a bit misleading. It makes it sound as though she had some kind of starting advantage here when, in reality, Nina Turner was the national celebrity figure in this race, whereas Brown, the victor, was just some local city council member who up until last month was known only in her district.
Nina Turner was a co-chair of Bernie Sanders' 2020 presidential campaign, the head of his Our Revolution activist group, and a former Majority Whip in the Ohio state senate for six years. She (Turner) enjoyed celebrity endorsements of her own, including those of Bernie Sanders, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and the Justice Democrats, to name a few, and despite her claims to have been defeated by big money from "special interests", in reality enjoyed a huge campaign fundraising advantage. Turner indeed enjoyed lots of support. Most of it, however, was in California, not, you know, Ohio where she was running.
"As of the first quarter fundraising reports released in April, Turner had raised about $2.2 million to Brown's $680,000. Turner's campaign said last week that it raised another $930,000 in June alone. Brown's campaign, while not giving a monthly total, touted $162,808 in donations raised 24 hours after receiving a late-June endorsement from Rep. James Clyburn. The South Carolina Democrat helped President Joe Biden pull ahead with his endorsement in the 2020 presidential primary.
The lion's share of Turner's early fundraising support came from California donors (2.2 times what she raised from Ohio donors, according to the Federal Election Commission) as progressives across the nation look to Ohio's special election to swing the political pendulum within the Democratic Party. Brown raised more from Ohio donors than anywhere else, and 13.4 times more than she raised from California donors, according to the early FEC reporting."
A month ago, Turner concurrently enjoyed a 40-point lead over Brown. My point being that this race was clearly her's to lose from the outset, not Brown's to win. That's why I say that the characterization of Shontel Brown as an "establishment" candidate up against a populist underdog in Nina Turner feels a bit misleading in a certain sense. Brown did NOT enjoy any kind of starting advantage. Furthermore, the threat of a Republican victory in the district was non-existent and as such pragmatism was an argument the Brown-aligned forces couldn't rely on like they often do in other elections. And yet Brown won anyway.
There were technically a few differences between the economic positions that Shontel Brown and Nina Turner ran on (such as whether all tuition at public colleges and universities should be abolished or "just" all of it for the 90% of the population making under $125,000 a year for example), but frankly the Brown campaign did not contest these issues, thus making it evident that Turner's principled stances on economic policy were, unsurprisingly, popular in her district. But Turner was also the defund-the-police candidate in this race (pretend you're surprised), has refused to answer questions like whether the U.S. should impose economic sanctions on Israel (not the settlements, mind you, Israel as a whole, period), and declined to endorse either Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden for president even after their successful nominations in 2016 and 2020 respectively. Some of these stances place Turner to the left of Bernie Sanders and AOC, both of whom, for example, supported the Biden campaign following his nomination (as did I). It fits in with the caricature of this type of person that Turner is also a college professor specializing in social studies on the side. These are the real reasons why she lost.
I just think the progressive movement really could stand to get outside of its little online bubble a little more often these days and listen more to what ordinary working people actually want and don't rather than determining a list of positions to stake out based on what's popular on college campuses and certain corners of the internet and then fabricating ways in which all of them are supposedly broadly popular. You know? Be less elitist. Isn't that the very thing and attitude you lament so much and aspire to fight against?Last edited by Jaicee - on 04 August 2021