Shontel Brown's Stunning Upset Victory and How Ohio Democrats Stopped the Coronation of Nina Turner

It wasn't supposed to be this way for Nina Turner.

When, in December, she entered the race for the to-be-vacated House seat of now-Secretary Marcia Fudge in northeast Ohio, Turner brought to bear massive name recognition, the backing of the entire national alt-left establishment, and a fundraising apparatus to raise more money than anyone knew what do with. The rest of the Democratic field was scattered, with little resources and name recognition to compete with a national figure, let alone confront a national war chest filled to the brim by Bernie Sanders' formidable money machine. Even during her bizarre concession speech blaming "evil [Jewish] money" for her loss, Nina Turner revealed that her campaign raised an eye-popping 6 million from 264,000 donations and 90,000 donors.

But she hardly cracked 33,000 votes at the ballot box, and a race that her campaign boasted she had it in the bag by a 35-point margin just two months ago, Turner lost by nearly 7 points.

How did this happen? How did a candidate who had everything - money, name recognition, poll numbers, star power - blow it all in less time than it takes for Vegas to clean you out? Turner and the alt-left media establishment is busy crafting a narrative that Turner's demise is a result of "corporate Democrats" bringing their own start power to bear for Brown and the "Israel lobby" spending freely to put negative attacks against Nina Turner on the air and on billboards as the main reasons Turner lost.

The narrative they are crafting is a result of their Trump-like delusions of grandeur and the unwarranted conviction that their "movement" and candidates cannot fail, rather, they can only be failed. It's a narrative with a blinder, and in all honesty, I probably shouldn't correct them as it will lead them to further failure and bode well for pragmatists like myself.

But I am a helper. (Also, they are not likely to take my advice.) So I will point out that the narrative they are crafting is, at best, surface-deep.

The truth is that the Democratic voters in this majority-Black, heavily Democratic district sent a few messages. First, they weren't interested in a coronation. Second, they wanted their member of Congress to be an ally, not an adversary, to the Biden-Harris team in Washington, DC. Third, they wanted their Democratic nominee - who is almost sure to be the winner of the general election in November - to be a Democrat in good standing.

It is true that early left-wing gloating about the upcoming coronation of Nina Turner and her high profile and national support drew attention to this race. It is also true that Shontel Brown, a local county councilwoman, protege of Sec. Fudge, and the chair of the local county Democratic Party, was impressive in building her own support and profile one brick at a time. She received critical support at critical times. The Congressional Black Caucus, Hillary Clinton, and Biden-whisperer Rep. James Clyburn came on board with Brown, giving her some much needed infusion of support. Brown also got strong support from the Jewish and pro-Israel communities in the district and a major boost from independent expenditures by the pro-Israel group Democratic Majority for Israel.

But Nina Turner and her allies had a huge cash advantage throughout the campaign. Turner herself revealed in her election night speech that she raised a gargantuan $6 million for the campaign. That is better than twice as much as was raised by the Shontel Brown campaign. Brown had more independent expenditure on her behalf - which does not count Turner's support from dark money organizations like Our Revolution - but combined, Turner and her supporters significantly outspent Brown and her backers. All in all, Turner and her partisans spent $6.6 million to Brown and her proponent's $5.5 million.

The excuse that follows the money line for the media's Turner accomplices is complaining about negative messaging from the Brown/allied camps.

Campaigns are about contrasts, and without a doubt, you cannot compete with an early, heavy favorite without drawing sharp contrasts. Shontel Brown, her team, and her independent backers did that. But the reason that messaging stuck was simple: everything they said about Nina Turner was true.

The sharpest, and most effective, narrative crafted against Nina Turner was that she was a flamethrowing disrupter and not a team player for Democrats in our common fight against a Republican party that, by the day, turns more and more fascistic. She had no interest in being a partner with Joe Biden and Kamala Harris; rather, she craved the role of sticking it to the Democratic leadership on behalf of, and as a member of, the "Squad" of far-left legislators.

So when ads went on the air and campaign lit pieces hit the mailboxes showing Turner, in her very own words, comparing a vote for Joe Biden - not as he ran against Bernie Sanders but as he faced Donald Trump in the general election - to being forced to consume human waste, there really was no one to blame but Turner herself. When ads and lit showed Turner actively opposing Hillary Clinton after the 2016 primary had concluded, aiding along and eventually electing Donald Trump president, no one could be held accountable for her intransigence but Turner herself. When ads showed Turner saying "Hell No" to the 2020 Democratic Platform that was the most progressive major party platform in history with support for universal health care, a $15 minimum wage, and climate action, those were her words.

In addition, crucially in this district, another part of Turner's record - her hostility to Israel and her at-times open and rank antisemitism - mobilized the district's significant Jewish population against her while bringing support for Brown, a pro-Israel Democrat, from groups that, like most Democrats and President Biden - believe the Jewish people have a right to self-determination and that Israel has a right to exist and defend itself.

Turnout in Jewish-dominated areas were about 30%, roughly doubling the overall turnout of about 17%. In her victory speech, Brown acknowledged their contribution to her triumph. For their part, Turner and her backers were busy using antisemtic tropes accusing Jews of "buying" a seat in the House.

If voters got the impression that Nina Turner was more eager to make a point than to make progress, it's because her own words and actions backed that up. Voters did not reject Turner because anyone lied. Voters rejected Nina Turner because they found out the truth about her.

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