By Quentin Choy
Just hours apart from each other, two major events occurred in progressive politics. A loss in Ohio and a victory in D.C. spell a bumpy path ahead for the progressive movement in America.
The Loss: Nina Turner
Nina Turner, former Ohio State Senator and co-chair of the Bernie Sanders campaign lost the Democratic primary for the special election in Ohio’s 11th congressional district.
Turner was fierce and represented the Bernie-wing of the Democratic Party that drifted following Joe Biden’s securing of the Democratic nomination in 2020.
Unapologetically progressive and a true fighter of the working class, Turner ran to win a seat in the House of Representatives to further the causes in which she believes.
Turner lost to her opponent Shontel Brown by about 4,000 votes. Brown received a majority of the votes, winning 50.2% compared to Turner’s 44.5%.
Turner received endorsements from notable progressives including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Bernie Sanders. Dr. Cornel West spoke at an event for Turner days before the election as well.
Shontel Brown is a centrist Democrat and was endorsed by Hillary Clinton and establishment wing of the party. She is also closely allied with President Biden and his faction of the Democratic Party.
Some argued that Turner wouldn’t get much done in Congress if she had an adversarial relationship with the president, constantly pushing him from the left.
Keith Ellison, the progressive Minnesota attorney general who led the prosecution in the Derek Chauvin case commented on the insufficiency of party loyalty in terms of meaningful change.
“It is a very bad idea to say we just want somebody who’s going to do whatever the president says, even if you love the president.”Keith Ellison, Minnesota Attorney General
Although she won’t be a representative in Congress joining the progressive bloc, Turner vowed that she will continue to champion the same causes for which her campaign stood.
The Win: Cori Bush
Representative Cori Bush, who lost her first run for Congress in 2018 successfully led a protest on the steps of the U.S. Capitol building.
She protested the allowed expiration of the eviction moratorium which prevented mass evictions amid the COVID-19 pandemic and economic crisis.
Bush called on other representatives to return to the Capitol to vote on keeping the eviction moratorium in place.
Bush’s protests were unorthodox in its approach, adding to the effect of her protests.
Having personally dealt with homelessness in her life, her protest was sleeping on the steps of the Capitol through the cold nights and the hot days, showing what would happen to thousands of Americans should the moratorium expire.
Following her protest, the CDC created a temporary eviction moratorium meant to expire on October 3rd.
While the constitutionality of the moratorium’s extension is being debated, thousands have been saved from eviction for just a bit longer, which is clearly a win for working people and the poor.
Her actions were powerful enough to push Biden to support her goal.
“I don’t think anyone could hear Congresswoman Bush’s own personal story and experience and see her advocacy and her passion and not be moved by that. I know a number of members of Congress were moved by that as well.”Jen Psaki, White House Press Secretary
No matter what you think of Bush as a representative or of her stances on other issues such as policing, the courage and willingness that she demonstrated is admirable.
While Nina Turner’s loss in Ohio is painful, she will continue fighting in other ways to advance causes that benefit working people and their families.
Cori Bush showed Americans and other representatives the power that they can have when fighting as hard as possible for working Americans.
It was exciting to see a representative show so much fight on an issue, and no matter how small of a win it may be, I hope that others follow the same approach as Representative Bush did.
Nina Turner and Cori Bush: Progressive Wins and Losses Just Hours Apart
The Rise of the American Left and Nina Turner: What Her Win Would Mean
- Ohio Special Primary Election Results, The New York Times
- Shontel Brown, who stuck close to Biden, wins Democratic primary for House seat in Ohio, AP projects, NBC News
- Representative Cori Bush sleeps outside Capitol to protest end of eviction freeze: “I know what it’s like”, CBS News
- CDC issues new eviction moratorium, CBS News