How the left plans to shrink the Democratic establishment

Progressives are aggressively contesting upcoming special elections in deep-blue House districts. The goal? Electing the most liberal members possible.

2/26/2021 2:30:00 PM

Progressives are aggressively contesting upcoming special elections in deep-blue House districts. The goal? Electing the most liberal members possible.

Progressives are aggressively contesting upcoming special elections in deep-blue House districts. The goal? Electing the most liberal members possible.

By02/26/2021 04:30 AM ESTLink CopiedWashington hasn’t paid much attention to the handful of upcoming special elections in deep-blue House districts. There’s little reason to: it’s a near-certainty that the seats will elect Democrats.But progressives are keeping close tabs. And they are

Knoxville police say multiple agencies are on scene of school shooting 17-year-old killed after getting electrocuted by power line downed during severe weather Harvey Weinstein's Nearly Blind and Lost Teeth, Lawyer Claims at Extradition Hearing

aggressively contesting the races in an effort to stop establishment-oriented Democrats from claiming the offices. The elections come at a critical time on the Hill, as lawmakers debate top liberal priorities such as a $15 minimum wage, student loan debt forgiveness and police reform.

Progressives want to elect the most liberal members possible in these Democratic-held areas — especially when their party’s razor-thin majority in the House gives them more clout to influence the chamber’s agenda than in past years. So heavy-hitters such as Sen. Bernie Sanders, members of the so-called Squad and the Congressional Progressive Caucus are all jumping in to help their preferred candidates succeed. headtopics.com

“The progressive movement is largely judged by the number of seats it holds in Congress. So whenever you can add more seats, that gives you more power,” said Waleed Shahid, communications director for the Justice Democrats, another top left-wing group that has waded into one of the specials. “Since the election of the Squad, we’ve seen a more aggressive and assertive bloc of Congress form.”

The most high-profile race is taking place in Ohio, where Sanders’ former campaign co-chair Nina Turner faces Cuyahoga County Democratic Party leader Shontel Brown. But that’s not the only flashpoint. In Louisiana, a former state party leader endorsed by the CPC’s political action committee and an outsider activist are both taking on the candidate favored by former Rep. and now-White House senior adviser Cedric Richmond. And in New Mexico, progressives are hoping to hold onto a seat that is expected to be vacated by a prominent champion of the “Green New Deal.”

Turner is seen as the left’s best shot to win one of the three seats. She is a prolific fundraiser with a national following from Sanders’ 2016 and 2020 campaigns that’s helped her bring in more than $1 million. Her closest rival, Brown, only collected $40,000 by the end of 2020. As a former local elected official who represented part of the Cleveland-based 11th District in the state Senate and City Council, Turner is also a well-known figure in the area.

Her strong chances are partly why the progressive movement has gone all in for her, with Turner winning the support of several prominent left-wing names, including Sanders, Justice Democrats, the Working Families Party, and Reps. Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib and Cori Bush. She is also being advised by Aisle 518 Strategies, the firm behind Sanders’ powerhouse small-dollar fundraising strategy in his presidential bids, as well as Sanders’ longtime aide Jeff Weaver and former pollster Ben Tulchin. headtopics.com

Multiple people shot, including police officer, at high school in Knoxville, Tennessee A guide for Muslims observing Ramadan during the pandemic Will Smith Movie Pulls Production Out of Georgia Over GOP Voting Law

In this July 15, 2019, file photo, Rep. Ilhan Omar, right, speaks, as Rep. Rashida Tlaib listens during a news conference in Washington. | J. Scott Applewhite, File/AP“It will be a huge test of the strength of the progressive movement,” Turner said in an interview. “[The pandemic] makes it very clear that we have to do better and that when we have the power to do better — and I mean we the Democrats — we should not hesitate to be bold and visionary. It is very clear that we need health care as a human right in this country. We can't capitulate.”

Despite being massively outraised at the end of last year, Brown is viewed as a formidable opponent to Turner. She is a Cuyahoga County council member who has rolled out a number of endorsements, including from Congressional Black Caucus chair Rep. Joyce Beatty, local officials and pastors.

In an explicit shot at Turner, who fiercely criticized then-candidate Joe Biden during and after the 2020 primary, Brown has promised to be “a partner” to the presidential administration ― “not a thorn in their side.” Turner said she is “running against the status quo."

Brown has picked up the support of the Democratic Majority for Israel, whose political arm hasheavilyin the past in defeating progressives running against establishment and moderate Democrats in primaries. The group’s involvement is another sign that the two flanks of the party see the special as a proxy war. headtopics.com

“Shontel can certainly win,” said Aaron Pickrell, a Democratic strategist based in Ohio who is not affiliated with any of the campaigns. “I don’t think it’s necessarily Nina’s to lose. I think that it’s competitive right now.”In Louisiana, the winner of the 2nd District special election — the only one of these races that has a set date so far — will fill Richmond’s New Orleans-based seat. In Ohio’s 11th and New Mexico’s 1st districts, the races are to replace Reps. Marcia Fudge and Deb Haaland, respectively, if they are confirmed by the Senate for Biden’s administration.

While progressives view these races as opportunities to show that voters have an increased appetite for left-wing ideas in the midst of a pandemic and economic downturn, traditional Democrats such as Brown told POLITICO that their own victories would demonstrate support for Biden’s agenda and his first days in office.

US climate envoy John Kerry to travel to China for talks Blinken names chief diversity officer to lead change on a 'problem as old as the department itself' US budget deficit jumps to record $1.7 trillion this year

“It would speak to both the Biden-Harris administration but also my ability to get things done,” she said. “Campaigning on the ‘Build Back Better’ message is something that I was able to do in both my elected capacity and as chair of the Cuyahoga County Democratic Party.”

Former state Rep. John Barnes, Jr. and former state Sens. Jeff Johnson and Shirley Smith are also running in the primary, but Democrats watching the race said it is effectively a two-person match-up.In Louisiana’s 2nd District, prominent liberal politicians and groups including Stacey Abrams, the Sanders-founded Our Revolution and the CPC PAC have thrown their weight behind Karen Carter Peterson, a state senator who has endorsed “Medicare for All” and the Green New Deal.

As a former state party leader and Democratic National Committee vice chair, Carter Peterson is a mix of a progressive and establishment-aligned candidate. State Sen. Troy Carter, the Richmond-backed traditional Democrat who progressives by and large don’t view as left-wing enough, is another major candidate vying for the seat.

The left is somewhat split between two progressive contenders in the special election — Carter Peterson and Gary Chambers, an anti-establishment activist who gained notice for a viral video in which he confronts a local school board member. The race will go to a runoff if none of the numerous candidates running win a majority of the vote.

Chambers, who said he has raised nearly $400,000, said Shaun King, a left-wing civil rights advocate, and other nationally known progressives encouraged him to run for the seat. King confirmed his involvement, saying Chambers is “equal parts fearless and joyful” and that he has known him for years.

Chambers and Turner have spoken to each other about the difficulty of campaigning as progressives, according to a person familiar with their conversations. Chambers said if they win, the left will be better able to “defeat those arguments” for incremental reform made by moderate Democrats in Congress.

Many on the left view Carter Peterson as more electable than Chambers, in part because of her substantial experience as an elected and party official. Chambers is also from Baton Rouge, which is seen as a disadvantage in a New Orleans-based district. A CPC PAC aide said Carter Peterson stood out as the most viable progressive in the race.

In the wake of several progressive upsets in Congress recently, establishment candidates across the country have adapted and moved left. Carter disagrees with Biden on student loan debt — unlike the president, he said he believes $50,000 per person can be forgiven by executive order — and has come out in favor of Medicare for All.

Left-wing candidates have made similarly strategic decisions in an effort to be seen as more mainstream. Turner has stressed in her race that she was a delegate for former President Barack Obama.In New Mexico, the state Democratic Party chooses its nominee for the special. But that hasn’t stopped progressives from vying to keep the seat — which will be vacated by Green New Deal co-sponsor Haaland if she is confirmed for Interior Secretary — in their corner. In fact, in a primary where more than a half-dozen total Democratic candidates are campaigning, political strategists said there are multiple progressives in the running.

Some left-wing favorites include state Sen. Antoinette Sedillo Lopez and state Reps. Georgene Louis and Melanie Stansbury.Randi McGinn, a Democratic donor and trial lawyer, is another candidate making a play for the seat. Speaker Nancy Pelosi set ablaze New Mexico political circles when she recently released a

four-minute testimonialabout McGinn, in which she said, “I wanted you to know how important I think it would be for Randi to be in the Congress.” A Pelosi aide did not respond to a question about whether it was an official endorsement.National groups are weighing whether to get involved in the race — though the party picks the candidate, their endorsement could theoretically influence committee members. The CPC PAC has interviewed candidates in the New Mexico election, according to a staffer, as well as in the Ohio special.

The nearly 200 party members who will pick the Democratic candidate in New Mexico will themselves soon be elected to the state committee. That has led to candidates frantically trying to get their allies into the party apparatus, all while making the case that they are the true liberals in the election.

“This race has become a race of who can be the most progressive,” said a New Mexico-based Democratic consultant who declined to speak on the record. Read more: POLITICO »

Inside Queen Elizabeth, Prince Philip's more than 7-decade marriage

The queen and Philip married on Nov. 20, 1947, at Westminster Abbey..

Hard pass on Nina Turner. Hold onto your wallet Nina Turner is just a real bad idea. A complete divider who did whatever it took to support Bernie by trashing Joe, Hillary and others. Inshallah HELLO SOMEBODY!!! As they should. We need people in congress who really represent us. These old people gotta go.

And lose control of the house and the senate in the process 🤦🏼‍♀️ GOOD! Guerilla Progressiveism: ⚡ACTIVATE⚡ I won’t vote for Nina Turner. I am true blue Democrat and I will not change. Instead of trying to take over. They need to learn to work with Dems. Alternative title: How the actual moderate democrats plans to shrink the wall street gang.