High stakes: Can Nina Turner pull out a win for the socialist left?

AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

National Journal has called this race in Ohio a “battle for the soul of the Democratic Party.” The socialist left is going all in to push for candidate Nina Turner. Last weekend AOC visited the district and gave a speech doing her best to make the race about national issues and the chance to be “visionary.”

“This isn’t about Nina vs any opponent; this is about the people versus big money,” Ocasio-Cortez said, during a campaign event for Turner on Saturday, according to Fox 8.

“This is a deep blue seat. It’s a deep blue seat. Districts like Ohio’s 11th should be leading the country on issues. They are opportunities, they are very rare opportunities, very rare districts like this one that can take and be visionary,” she added.

Meanwhile, the establishment pick in the race, Shontel Brown, is arguing that she’s the right fit for the district. Former Rep. Marcia Fudge, who held the seat until she became President Biden’s HUD Secretary, is prevented from stating her opinion on the race by the Hatch Act but her mother isn’t. Brown’s campaign used that to its advantage and put together this endorsement clip.

Today, Politico reported both sides are digging in. The far left in particular is desperate for a win.

The stark differences between the two teams — the progressives behind Turner and the party establishment supporting Brown — have transformed the race into proxy war for feuding factions of the Democratic Party and further heightened tensions…

In recent weeks, Turner’s lead has all but evaporated. Multiple polls have shown the race in the single-digits, and a super PAC, Democratic Majority for Israel, has pummeled Turner with over $750,000 in TV and radio ads…

“The stakes in this race are high. If Turner wins, it would put some juice behind Bernie’s efforts to push Biden to get the full $3.5 trillion budget,” said Sean McElwee, co-founder of a liberal polling outfit, referring to Senate Democrats’ infrastructure proposal. “If Turner loses, I think there will be a sense among progressive groups that we have to be a little bit more serious about really contesting these races.”…

“We would send a strong message,” said Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.), a leader in the Congressional Progressive Caucus who endorsed Turner. “When people see that’s a path, we can have more candidates, period.”

If Nina Turner wins, the far left will have another member of the Squad and more encouragement for other like-minded candidates to run for office next year. If she loses it will be another high-profile failure like similar efforts in Virginia and New York City.

The progressive left was a disaster for the Democratic Party in the 2020 election. One more push for Medicare for All and “defund the police” will almost certainly result in a GOP controlled House. So the best thing here might be for a Turner win which encourages the left to let their freak flag fly and thereby damages the party nationwide next year.

But hoping for a repudiation next year isn’t quite as satisfying as seeing a progressive candidate who was leading by 40 and praised by AOC go down in flames right now. At the moment the polling shows Turner still has a lead, albeit a much smaller one than she did before. Hopefully, Brown can close the gap.