So Nina Turner lost, and most of us are pretty fucking depressed about it. There has been an air of hopelessness regarding the future of the left, and there is no doubt that the Democratic establishment is aiming to perpetuate it. Much like with the 2020 Presidential Election, the media narrative is proving to be the only force the establishment can use that is more powerful than money, and they plan to ignore the actual reasons behind Nina Turner’s loss in favor of generic, partisan “bad Democrat, she no like Biden” talking points. Make no mistake about it, the only reason Nina Turner loss is because of the influx of cash spent in the last few days of the race. Nina Turner may have raised more money overall, but DMFI used theirs at just the right time to swing the election. If anything, the fact that Nina Turner only lost by about 4,000 votes despite every dirty smear and trick used by the establishment shows how powerful our movement is. And let’s not forget, there are other 2021 elections as well.
So while the establishment media is running corporate puff pieces about how Nina is facing consequences for criticizing Biden and how it’s over for the Bernie Sanders wing of the party, progressives are currently crushing it in Washington state. Though the full results are not in yet, late returns have heavily favored progressives, and it does seem that a fair number of them will be advancing to the general election. The most noteworthy of these elections is for Seattle City Attorney, where incumbent centrist Democrat Pete Holmes has conceded, thus ensuring that the general election will be between abolitionist Democrat Nicole Thomas-Kennedy, and “tough on crime” Republican candidate Ann Davison.
Now, I haven’t been too secretive about the fact that my politics are significantly further left than any serious candidate for office in the past decade or so, save for Chelsea Manning and Mike Gravel. Hell even Nina Turner was not entirely up to my standards, despite the fact that her election would have significantly shaken up the Democratic party. While the race for Seattle City attorney may not be the biggest race in this state, I can say that Nicole Thomas-Kennedy was the candidate I most wanted to win her primary.
Nicole Thomas-Kennedy’s platform includes ending the war on drugs, decriminalizing sex work, defunding the Seattle police department, and refocusing the office of City Attorney to focus on prosecuting wage theft, corporate landlords, and big oil companies. She is not only progressive, she is unapologetically progressive, and getting her elected would be an absolute God send. Even if her position is significantly smaller than most of us would prefer, let’s not forget that most politicians start out small. So while the results are not entirely in yet, we do know that she will be going to the general election against a Republican candidate in a city that heavily trend blue. Unless they attempt the large scale character assassination that we saw against Nina Turner, Nicole Thomas-Kennedy could very well go on to win this. But once again, let’s not get too complacent. She could use all the help she could get.
Nicole Thomas-Kennedy – Donation Link
The most high profile race in Seattle is undoubtedly the Mayoral election, and the general election will come down to two candidates. The first of these candidates is the Neoliberal Bruce Harrell, who has the endorsement of mostly establishment politicians and business leaders, and who plans to increase the number of police in a city with a long history of police brutality. The second candidate is Lorena Gonzales, who has been endorsed by Bernie Sanders, Pramilla Jayapal, and Julian Castro, has a record of progressive advocacy, and who is in favor of defunding the police and prioritizes the Green New Deal more so than any other candidate in the race. The primary has ended with Bruce Harrell leading by 2 points. Regardless, both of these candidates will be advancing to the general election in November
Lorena Gonzales – Donation Link
Another race of note is the election for King County executive. For the first time in his tenure, incumbent Dow Constantine is facing a challenge from the left against former state Senator Joe Nguyen. In the past, Constantine was criticized for giving $135 million dollars to the Seattle Mariners for “maintenance of Safeco Field,” spending 73% of the general fund on law enforcement and jails, giving county contracts to an accused rapist, and downplaying the murder of an unarmed 20 year old Asian man by the police. Coincidentally, that same instance of police violence is what actually inspired Joe Nguyen to run for State Senate in 2017. While Constantine has had a pretty significant lead in the primary, Joe Nguyen still has until the general election to catch up. Given that Constantine has raised over a million dollars in corporate donations, it is safe to assume that Nguyen, who is running without corporate donors, will need some more to catch up.
Joe Nguyen – Donation Link
In the primary for Seattle’s 9th City Council position, Seattle Peoples Party founder, progressive activist, and 2017 Mayoral candidate Nikkita Oliver has taken the lead to replace the aforementioned Lorena Gonzales. Oliver has been endorsed by the Seattle Democratic Socialists of America, the Working Families Party, Sunrise Movement Seattle, Seattle City Councilors Teresa Mosqueda and Tammy Morales, and State Senator Rebecca Saldaña, among many others. Some of Oliver’s policy positions includes decriminalizing homelessness and sex work, a Seattle Green New Deal, cutting the Seattle Police budget, and ensuring universal healthcare. They will be advancing to the general election against Sara Nelson, who believes that the current progressive Seattle Council is “not pragmatic,” and in keeping the SPD’s bloated police budget. Currently, Oliver is leading Nelson in her own neighborhood.
Nikkita Oliver – Donation Link
The last race in Washington state worth noting is for Port Townsend City Council, where former Green Party and Progressive Party candidate for Washington’s 6th Congressional District Tyler Vega, has advanced to the general election against Libby Urner Wennstrom. Unfortunately, Wennstrom is leading Vega by 55%, which means that Vega has some serious catching up to do. The plus side is that Wennstrom’s large lead only amount to a 1,500 vote difference due to the size of the town, so it isn’t impossible for Vega to close that gap, and that your small dollar donations will likely help more than some of the more expensive campaigns we’ve seen. While I couldn’t really find much info on this specific race, I will point out that fellow TCSN member Jose Requen has interviewed Vega on our podcast TCSN Live, which is linked above.
Tyler Vega – Donation Link
So we can naturally see that Washington state, particularly the Seattle area, is in the middle of a progressive wave at this time. However, it’s not the only area that saw progressive primary victories last week. The most noteworthy of these victories is that Kevin Dahl, who has been endorsed by Justice Democrat Raul Grijalva and the Arizona Working Families Party, has won the primary for Tucson City Council ward three, and is pretty much guaranteed a victory in the general election due to the ward’s partisan leaning. A manual recount has also declared Kristin Richardson Jordan the winner of New York City Ward 9’s close primary race.
This past week has also saw Detroit City Clerk candidate Denzel McCampbell, Detroit City Council Ward 6 candidate Gabriela Santiago-Romero, and Lansing City Council ward 2 Candidate Oprah Revish, have all advanced to the general election in their respective primaries.
Denzel McCampbell is a communications director and advisor for Justice Democrat and “Squad” member Rashida Tlaib, and is running against four term incumbent Janice Winfrey. Winfrey has been criticized by McCampbell for slow voter turnout, failure to provide the internet resources, not providing a way to access the voting records of the City Council, and prevalent errors in counting ballots. Unfortunately, it is looking to be a difficult race for McCampbell if the primary results are any indications. While McCampbell’s vote total is fairly close to that of Winfrey’s 2017 challenger Garlin Gilchrist II, who Winfrey beat by under 2% that year, Winfrey has almost doubled her 2017 primary performance and leads McCambell by 44%. While this could be due to the increase in registered voters who just decided to vote for the incumbent without doing much research, it is still a difficult obstacle for McCambell to overcome.
Denzel McCampbell – Donation Link
On the plus side, I’m willing to guess that Gabriela Santiago-Romero will be winning the general election considering that she has the endorsement of Rashida Tlaib and the ward’s former incumbent Raquel Castañeda-López, while I can barely even find any info on her opponent. As for Oprah Revish, she will be advancing to the general election against incumbent Jeremy Garza. Revish is running on a campaign of redirecting police funds into community programs and education, which Garza is opposed to, and has been endorsed by the Greater Lansing Democratic Socialists of America and the Black Lives Matter Lansing PAC. As with Tyler Vega, Oprah Revish was pretty far behind the incumbent councilor in the primary. However, that is also because the ward’s relatively low population.
Oprah Revish – Donation Link
Well damn, over 1,500 words in and I just finished the recap. I made sure to go over these races for a few reasons. The first of these is that most of these candidates will need help in the general election, and that getting the word out is probably a good idea. But the second reason is because I’ve seen a lot of people that are quick to be discouraged because Nina Turner lost. While it is sad that she lost, it seems like a lot of people are quick to lose sight of the bigger picture. The Democratic Party has a strong defense system that is very difficult to overcome in a one on one round. If we are going to take down a titan such as this, we need to wear it down piece by piece. The more of these candidates get inside the system, the more it erodes from the inside.
The mistake that many on the left assume is the assumption that one single candidate can get elected and fix everything. As I stated in my piece about Nina Turner’s race, the establishment oligarchy has an internal defense mechanism as well. And it’s worked effectively at wearing down people like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to the point where they don’t have the emotional fortitude to fight tooth and nail every day when nearly every other congress person is using every manipulative, gaslighting, abuser tactic to get her to sell out her values. But the more progressives we elect into congress, the more the abuse is spread out.
And where these smaller, local races come into play is that they not only make life better for the inhabitants of their cities, but they also replace one corporate pawn every time. And over time, these victories pile up. In other words, the establishment will naturally be defensive towards a congressional campaign in an off year, but they are less likely to notice us if we elect 100 progressive city councilors than if we elect one progressive congress person. Now one may say that the amount city council races covered in this piece is pretty far from 100, but keep in mind, I’m mostly talking about the races in major cities. I don’t even dare try to find out about every candidate running in every remote town in the country. Granted that’s mostly because finding the info is damn near impossible, but even if it was easily available, it would be so time consuming. On top of this, Nina Turner started out as a City Councilor, and Bernie Sanders started out as a Mayor. While we may need some more immediate replacements at the very top, winning these local races also means planting the seeds for the future, given that many may run for higher office themselves. In other words, this is trickle up economics, baby!
So anyway, now let’s talk about the 2021 election primaries that have yet to occur, starting with the ones later this month.
The first of these races is for Birmingham City Council Ward 3, where progressive candidate Alice Speake is attempting to flip the seat of incumbent Valerie Abbott, who has held this seat since 2001. I must admit, I found almost zero information about Valerie Abbot. She has held this office for 20 years, and not only does a Google search bring up absolutely nothing about her record, I can’t even figure out what her policies are! The closest I can find about her is a Facebook page that she has not posted to since 2019. In other words, I can’t even say if she’s done her job well or not.
On the other hand, Alice Speake is someone who is clearly focused on the issues, and on what needs to be fixed. Her campaign page indicates that her plans include laying the groundwork for a Green New Deal, investments in infrastructure and recreation, rent control ordinances, and participatory budgeting. Her positions are made clear and are easy to find, which provides a stark contrast to the current incumbent. The general election is one August 24th, and the runoff election, if needed, will be on October 5th.
Update: Unfortunately, I could not complete this piece before the primary in question. Valerie Abbott managed to fend off a runoff election by less than three percentage points.
Alice Speake – Dona tion Link
The 24th also has primaries is St Petersburg Florida. Unfortunately, it looks like the Mayoral race is looking to be a lost cause since the leading “progressive” in the race, Darden Rice, is now behind in the polls because she criticized an opponent for having Republican donors despite having even more Republican donors than the person she attacked. This means that the only genuine progressive in the race is Michael Ingram, who has virtually no chance of catching up.
The plus side is that St Petersburg progressives can still put their support behind Richie Floyd, the DSA endorsed candidate for St Petersburg City Council Ward 8. Thus far, Richie Floyd is leading in terms of fundraising, and has secured many notable endorsements, including the current incumbent Amy Foster, so it is entirely likely that he will at least advance to the general election. Given that Florida has been an area where progressive have struggled in the past few years, it’s pretty important for us to organize and build up whatever base we can there.
Update: Richie Floyd has advanced to the general election against Jeff Danner. Considering that Floyd managed 51% of the vote in a crowded jungle primary, it is likely that he will win the general election.
Richie Floyd – Donation Link
On August 29th, we have a special election for California State Senate district 18, and the race carries a very similar dynamic to Nina Turner’s race. We have two candidates, each with a lot of major endorsements, that represent the two major sides of the Democratic party. Representing the corporate side is Mia Bonta, who is literally the wife of the former representative Rob Bonta. We used to call that nepotism back in my day, but apparently the times change. On the other side, we have Janani Ramachandran, who has the endorsements of Justice Democrat Ro Khanna, progressive Assembly member Alex Lee, former San Francisco supervisor Jane Kim, Our Revolution’s California and Bay Area branches, and the Sunrise Movement’s Bay Area branch, and is running on enacting Medicare for All, a Green New Deal, a true living wage, rooting racism out of our legal systems, and ending inhumane evictions.
Much like Shontel Brown, Mia Bonta is almost transparently corrupt. Before the primary occurred, she cast fraudulent votes and forged signatures on Dues Waiver applications so she could earn the endorsement of the California Democratic Party. She has since resorted to falsely claiming that Janani’s father is a millionaire, and framing her as a carpetbagger because she went to a private School in India, despite the fact that she was born and attended college in the US. While it may seem like the Bonta campaign is just throwing whatever they can at Janani, the actual intentions are much more insidious when one looks deeper into them.
The claim that Janani’s father is a millionaire comes from the fact that there IS a millionaire who shares the same name as her father. Despite the fact that the millionaire Kumar Ramachandran is way too young to have a daughter as old as Janani, the Bonta campaign was clearly relying on white voters inability to tell Indian people and names apart. Her carpetbagging accusations were also clearly meant to play on white people’s implicit perceptions that Janani isn’t a “real American.”
This is hardly the first time we’ve seen the Democratic Party weaponize bigotry against a marginalized community for their own benefit, but it does serve as a stark reminder that they view us as mere props. They only care about appearing to be progressive so they can use the left’s own rhetoric against them. We’ve seen transparently false accusations of sexual assault used against a gay man and a Muslim man in 2020, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they try it again in 2022. Please do not fall for these smears.
Update: California voters fell for the smears, and Mia Bonta got elected. *Sigh*
Janani Ramachandran – Donation Link
The 2021 elections just don’t end, do they? And to think that this is an off year of all things. The Massachusetts primaries are on September 24th. Like with Seattle, Boston seems to be experiencing a serious progressive push. The biggest race of significance is the Mayoral Primary, where former Boston City Council President Michelle Wu is a top tier contender. Every poll available at this time has Michelle Wu in one of the top two positions, which is a good sign that she will advance to the general election. She also has the endorsement of Elizabeth Warren, which is a major plus in Boston.
Wu’s biggest competitor is acting Mayor of Boston and the current City Council President, Kim Janey. While she is not as transparently corrupt as someone like Mia Bonta, she still has some issues of her own despite appearing progressive on the surface. She has been criticized by more than one of her opponents for not releasing the records of police officers accused of sexual assault. She says she plans to release them, but has been rather slow about doing so. Also her idea of “police reform” is “expanding the police force by 30 officers.” Because clearly the best way to combat corrupt cops is with more fucking cops.
Update: Michelle Wu has advanced to the general election, and is currently considered a strong favorite.
Michelle Wu – Donation Link
Boston’s City Council at large has four seats that are up for election this year. Considering that two of the current incumbents opted to run for Mayor instead, this means there will be at two new councilors representing Boston at large. Including incumbents Michael Flaherty and Julia Mejia, there are a total of 17 candidates in the field. One of these candidates is Ruthzee Louijeune, who has been endorsed by Elizabeth Warren, Sonia Chang Díaz, Sunrise Movement Boston, and Progressive Policy pledge, and whose platform includes lowering the price of housing and expunging marijuana conviction records. Additional candidates include Kelly Bates and Carla Monteiro, both of whom have a Green New Deal as part of their platform.
Update: Ruthzee Louijeune and Carla Monteiro have advanced to the General Election. Kelly Bates has not.
In the primary for Boston City Council Ward 4, there are a total of nine candidates, three of which are progressives. These candidates are the DSA and Sunrise Movement Boston endorsed Joel Richards, as well as Jacob Urena and Troy Smith. While all three candidates are in favor of Medicare for All, and are in support of progressive policies, Joel Richards seems to have the most compelling case among the three. He will also likely have more name recognition due to the DSA endorsement, so if you are supporting one of the three, I’d recommend him.
Update: Joel Richards did not make it to the General Election.
Joel Richards – Donation Link
In Boston City Council Ward 6, we have three candidates, one of whom, Kendra Hicks, is a progressive. One of her opponents is Winnie Eke who, I kid you not, is against free public transportation because rich people would get free transportation and “higapayfait!” If one hasn’t caught on, it’s literally the same arguments used against Medicare for All and every other policy that we should have had before. She may as well have thrown in a “but that’s socialism!!” while she’s at it. Her other opponent is Mary Tamer, a former director for the Boston Charter School Alliance who has accepted dark money from the same donors who propped up a 2016 ballot measure that would have expanded charter schools. She is also against safe consumption sites, and her plan for police reform is “MORE 👏BLACK👏COPS👏.”
Kendra Hicks meanwhile, is taking no corporate cash, is in favor of divesting from police funds, establishing anti-displacement zones, safe consumption sites, eliminating the Boston Regional Intelligence Center, and severing ties between the Bostons public school, Boston Police Department, and ICE. Hicks has also received the endorsement of both the National and the local branches of the DSA, in addition to the Boston Sunrise Movement, State Senator and 2022 Gubernatorial candidate Sonia Chang-Diaz, and Boston Ward 5 Councilor Riccardo Arroyo.
Update: Kendra Hicks came in first place in the primary and is moving on to the general.
Kendra Hicks – Donation Link
And that about wraps it up for Boston, but not for Massachusetts as a whole. We also have quite a few DSA endorsed candidates running for Somerville City Council. Three incumbent City Councilors for Somerville city council have decided not to seek re-election, which is convenient because there are three DSA endorsed candidates running to replace them. These candidates are Charlotte Kelly, Eve Seitchik, and Willie Burnley Jr. Tessa Bridge and Becca Miller are running for Somerville’s 5th and 7th ward respectively, and are also both DSA endorsed.
Update: All five of these candidates are advancing to their respective general elections.
Not gonna lie, I’m getting pretty worn out writing all this shit. I hope I’ve made my point that the progressive movement is far from dead. But I”m still not even close to being done with this piece. I have only covered the remaining primaries thus far. It turns out that more states just go straight to the general election in local races than I thought. And a few of these states have their own progressive slates. Well, it looks like some of the races I already wrote about will be over by the time this piece goes up.
The most noteworthy of these states is Virginia. Saying that progressives suffered a major defeat in the primary would be understating things. Just about any progressive running for a blue seat has lost, including an incumbent state rep. Former state Senator Lee Carter attempted a run for Governor, but he was so relentlessly attacked and smeared by the Virginia Democratic party that he not only managed less than 3%, but he also seems to have completely given up on politics. He’s so jaded, in fact, that he locked his Twitter account, and seems to keep getting into arguments with followers.
And I can’t really blame the guy either, because this is the exact effect that the Democratic party seeks to have on ALL progressive challengers. And it’s because of this that we need to keep this fight up! While the progressive challengers to Democrats have lost, a few progressives will be running against Republicans in the general election. The two state rep candidates with the best shot are Jennifer Kitchen and Annette Hyde, who are running for Virginia House of Delegates seats 25 and 30 respectively.
Jennifer Kitchen is running on a platform that includes Medicare for All, a Green New Deal, increased broadband access, better funding for Virginia’s 25th house district, and the abolition of “right to work” laws, and has been endorsed by number of local activists and legislators, as well as the local chapters or Our Revolution and the Sunrise Movement, Moms Demand Action, Progressive Turnout Project, NARAL, and the Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia. Jennifer Kitchen has also outraised Republican incumbent Chris Runion during every single fundraising quarter, despite not accepting any corporate donations.
Chris Runion has held office since January 8th 2020, and during this time, he has…
- Voted against the equal rights amendment to constitutionally prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex, which I’m pretty sure hasn’t been controversial since the 1970s.
- Choose not to show up to vote on a Bill to ban state funding for use of conversion therapy on minors.
- Voted to allow health insurance companies to deny coverage to trans people.
- Voted to allow workplaces to fire or refuse to hire people for being pregnant.
- Voted to allow officers to question victims of crime about their immigration status.
- Voted against a bill to prohibit discrimination against LGBTQ people in public spaces.
- Voted against establishing election day as a federal holiday.
- Voted against establishing ranked choice voting in local elections.
- Voted against requiring Virginia to elect the President by Popular Vote.
- Voted to allow schools to discriminate against transgender students.
- Voted against allowing replacement birth certificates for trans people.
- Voted against allowing absentee ballots without needing an excuse.
- Voted against requiring election materials to be present in languages other than English.
- Voted against repealing a statewide same sex marriage ban.
- Voted against automatic voter registration.
- Voted against allowing same day voter registration.
- Voted against repealing a photo ID requirement for voting.
- Voted against the decriminalization of marijuana.
- Voted against a minimum wage increase.
- Voted against requiring employers to provide paid quarantine leave.
- Voted against prohibiting price gouging during a state of emergency.
- Voted against requiring landlords to establish payment plans to tenants prior to eviction.
If it is pro corporate, pro corruption, pro authoritarianism, or restricts the rights of working class people and/or vulnerable minorities, Chris Runion is in favor of it. If it favors anyone but the rich, corporations, or bigoted assholes, Chris Runion is against it.
In Kitchen’s previous campaign against Runion, she lost by 18.1%. This sounds pretty damning until one remembers that this amounts to a gap of about 5,000 votes, which can be closed if turnout is good enough. That’s not to say that it’s going to be easy, but she does seem to be running a strong campaign against Runion, which means it’s possible for this seat to flip.
Jennifer Kitchen – Donation Link
Annette Hyde’s race is a similar case, in that she has also raised close to $30,000 more than incumbent Republican Nick Freitas, and has done so without taking corporate donations. Annette Hyde has previously run for this seat in 2017 and lost the primary at a convention by a single vote. In 2019, she ran for State Senate against Emmett Hanger, who is one of the highest ranking Republicans in the state and who didn’t have a Democratic opponent since 2007. That race predictably didn’t go too well, but she has thankfully has a much better shot against Nick Freitas.
Nick Freitas has often been described as having somewhat of a libertarian streak compared to his Republican colleagues, what this comes down to is that he’ll occasionally let people have nice things, but will still support 98% of the scummy shit that Republicans usually like. Of all the shitty votes that I listed for Chris Runion’s, only three of them were different for Nick Freitas, which is honestly more than I was expecting. Those three votes were for decriminalizing weed, ranked choice voting, and absentee ballots without an excuse.
Libertarians generally position themselves as in favor of freedom and as little federal regulation as possible for the sake of “freedom.” This ideology is infamously flawed in that that it fails to consider is that it is impossible to have complete freedom for one group without infringing on the freedom of another, and that libertarians more often prioritize the freedom for large corporations to build themselves up to be too big to fail and to rig the game in their favor. IE they are more in favor of allowing corrupt governments and corporations the “freedom” to abuse their power than allowing every day people the freedom to combat it.
That being said, Nick Freitas is a fraud even by right wing libertarian standards. While he did allow for the decriminalization of weed, as well as ranked choice voting and absentee ballots, he also voted against repealing a photo ID requirement, making election day a federal holiday, and electing the President by popular vote. He also voted against repealing a gay marriage ban, because apparently having the freedom to marry shouldn’t apply if you are gay. So gays shouldn’t have the right to get married, but price gouging during a state of emergency is a human right? Yeah, that makes perfect fucking sense!
A few other examples include the fact that Nick Freitas doesn’t think there should be rules for student loan lenders, but thinks that preventing the state from funding abortions, regulating firearms, establishing sanctuary cities or increasing minimum Wage isn’t a breach of any freedoms. Yet it’s apparently a human right to be able to text while driving, bring nicotine products to schools, and to open car doors in traffic lanes! It’s almost as if Nick Freitas is a total fraud and has no values other than corporatism, corruption, and bigotry!
And this is without talking about Freitas’s run for US Senate, or his challenge to Abigail Spanberger. Although I will point out that he wants to abolish the federal income tax, repeal Obamacare, supports Trump’s stupid border wall, opposed the Iran Nuclear Agreement, and thinks Trump was a stronger leader in his first year than Obama was in all eight years. You know, just in case it wasn’t clear that he’s a partisan hack.
Annette Hyde, on the other hand, is running on a platform that includes Medicare for All, increased broadband access, a Green New Deal, abolishing the death penalty, and increasing minimum wage. Annette Hyde has also been endorsed by Sunrise Virginia, NARAL, Moms Demand Action, Sierra Club, Virginia’s List, Progressive Turnout Project, and Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia.
Annette Hyde – Donation Link
In Florida, we have a special election to fill the seat of former Congressman Alcee Hastings, who has passed away earlier this year. Normally, we’d have an uphill battle to elect a progressive to his seat, given that we normally see establishment Democrats railroad some corporate puppet into the nomination. This time, however, we have a progressive with an early head start.
Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick has attempted to primary Alcee Hastings in 2018 and 2020, is running on a platform that includes Medicare for All, a Green New Deal, $20 an hour minimum wage, a Universal Basic Income, the legalization of marijuana, a Pathway to Citizenship, and repealing the Hyde Amendment, and has been endorsed by Marianne Williamson, Brand New Congress, and Communications Workers of America. She has also pumped $2,300,000 of her own money into this race, and says she’s prepared to add an additional $1,000,000 if need be, which tells us that she’s far more set on this campaign than the previous two.
Now if you’re like me, you may be thinking it’s kind of suspicious for a progressive to be using this much of their own money. Normally when wealthy candidates self finance their campaigns, its for vanity purposes. I’m sure all of us remember how fucking obnoxious is was to see Michael Bloomberg buy his way into the Presidential race in 2020. Ultimately, the best way to show one’s purity as a candidate, is to run only using non-corporate donations from regular people, but there are disadvantages to that. The most obvious disadvantage being that it can only work if you have a lot of name recognition already.
Most progressive candidates are not well known enough to take on the millions in corporate donors that establishment politicians are given, which leads to most of them losing their races. It is not the ideal way that one wins their race. After all, how can you trust someone to advocate for campaign finance reform when they got elected because of the same laws they are trying to reform? But at the same time, this does confirm that Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick won’t need to sell out her own values to appeal to corporate donors because she already has enough money to use on her own. And we know that her base values have been consistently progressive. While she isn’t Nina Turner by any means, she will more than likely be a valuable asset in congress, where we need as many progressives as we can get.
But we can’t assume that her money will carry her to victory though. We’ve already seen how quickly establishment Democrats can decide to send an influx of cash into these races in a last minute attempt to turn the tides. Also unlike Nina Turner, Cherfilus-McCormick did not start out ahead in the polls. As a matter of fact, she is competing in a crowded field against a number of other noteworthy candidates, and the establishment could choose to rally behind any of them.
The most likely candidate that they will choose is commissioner and former Mayor of Broward County, Dale Holness. In the most recent poll, Dale Holness leads with 17%, and he has the endorsement of Alcee Hasting’s son. And like clockwork, Holness has a bunch of skeletons in his closet that are being exposed. The most noteworthy is that his daughter faces accusations of defrauding $300,000 in Covid-19 relief funds, and could end up facing up to 20 years in prison.
Another likely candidate is Barbara Sharief, yet another Broward County Mayor whose firm overbilled Medicaid for patient services by close to $500,000. Sharief denied this, yet choose not to dispute it in court. In 2014, the Florida Commission on Ethics found that Sharief has failed to disclose financial interests for three years, which was in violation of state ethics laws. Sharief once again denied this, but decided to pay the fine instead of disputing this in court.
It is worth mentioning that Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick isn’t the only progressive in this race. In fact, if it weren’t for the enormous influx of money being poured into this race, my money (no pun intended) would be on State Rep Omari Hardy, who successfully primaried former State Rep Al Jacquet in 2020, and who has been compared to AOC. 2014 Congressional candidate and former federal labor investigator Emmanuel Morel is also running on a progressive platform, and he has also been interviewed by TCSN.
I must admit, it’s quite unpredictable how this race will turn out given the massive amount of money that Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick is pouring into it. The biggest concern is whether or not establishment Dems decide to coalesce around a single candidate, and the progressive vote gets split. On the other hand, this race has not received nearly as much attention as Nina Turner’s race, so it’s entirely possible that progressives could steal this one right out from under their noses, which would be incredibly cathartic after how they screwed Nina. Either way, this should be interesting.
In New Jersey, there is a slew of local elections to talk about. But first, there is the Gubernatorial Election. We already know that Phil Murphy has no chance of losing this given New Jersey’s partisanship. It is because of this, that you folks have no excuse not to vote for Madelyn Hoffman instead. For fucking sake people, a Senator as widely loathed as Bob Menendez managed to win re-election against the best possible Republican candidate with a twelve point lead. If you are worried about Madelyn Hoffman being a “spoiler candidate,” you are a fucking moron! And there’s no debate over who has the better policies either.
Damn near every progressive policy that we’ve been fighting for is being supported by Hoffman. The only one that is missing is the decriminalization of sex work, which should really be added as a policy if any Green candidates are reading this. Looking at Hoffman’s policy list flat out depresses me because it reminds me of how far behind our goals are. I’d take someone like Hoffman over Bernie or AOC any day, and it’s a shame that I’m in the minority in this department. But the system is designed so that a candidate like Hoffman can’t win, whether they run as a Democrat, or as a third party. So we won’t see any Greens winning state wide races until we get them elected in enough local races, that normies stop discounting them.
That’s where Dominique Faison comes in. She is running for the General Assembly in New Jersey’s 11th District. Note that there are two seats, so Faison would just need to come in second. Of course, this is still a difficult race since there are usually at least 70,000 votes in Assembly races, and Madelyn Hoffman only managed 38,288 when counting the entire state. The “3rd party candidates can’t win” stigma is still going to be present in smaller races, which means that Faison is unlikely to win this either.
Now I need to emphasize that the reason 3rd Party candidates don’t win elections isn’t just “cause they are 3rd party.” Rather, the reason why is because 3rd Party candidates are typically underfunded, and a lot of normies will not vote for a candidate who they don’t see as “credible.” This applies just as much to progressive Democrats as it does to 3rd Party candidates, and this will only be encountered with mass organization, financing, and movements to promote third party candidates! And while candidates like Hoffman and Faison are unlikely to win this time, we have to get the ball rolling somewhere.
Madelyn Hoffman – Donation Link
Dominique Faison – Donation Link
The biggest event in New Jersey is in Jersey City, where a slate of challengers are running to unseat the current city council. These people are lead by Kismet of Kings founder Lewis Spears, who is running against current Mayor Steve Fulop. Spears has criticized Fulop for previous remarks he made using the right wing “black on black crime” argument to dismiss discussions of anti-black racism and violence, and the failure of the “inclusionary zoning ordinance.”
Of these candidates, the most significant is 2016 Bernie Sanders campaign organizer, and National DSA and Our Revolution New Jersey endorsee Joel Brooks. I am deciding to forgo the detailed rundown of each individual race because most of these candidates don’t have a lot of info on policy, and are only modestly to the left of the incumbents they are running against. Joel Brooks is clearly the most noteworthy exception to this, given his support of major progressive policies.
Before Joel Brooks started running, he reached out to his council member and future opponent Mira Prinz-Arey about him being overcharged by his landlord. Prinz-Arey then referred him to an attorney who was taking campaign contributions from the same landlord. Brooks is running on a platform that includes fully funding public schools, expanding rent control enforcement, and a real estate sales transfer tax.
Joel Brooks – Donation Link
Another noteworthy candidate in this slate is Frank Gilmore, a former convict who was thrown into a lifestyle of crime after losing his mom at age 12. After getting out of prison, he turned his life around and spent time mentoring at risk youth on the same streets he grew up. In 2019, he was on The Ellen Degeneres Show where he received $50,000, two years paid rent for his community center, and a new van from actor Michael B. Jordan. He almost immediately used $10,000 of that money to treat 80 children from local schools to a shopping spree following the aftermath of a mass shooting in the same area. One of the kids in question was also the daughter of one of the victims.
Frank Gilmore has recently decided to run for Jersey City Council against incumbent Jermaine Robinson. Gilmore has criticized Robinson for cutting the recreation budget, and he shows a clear passion for education and helping at risk youth. While he isn’t as overtly progressive as someone like Joel Brooks, his character speaks a lot in regards to the type of legislator he will be. As if that wasn’t enough to signal who the right candidate for this race is, they tried to bribe Gilmore with triple his salary for him to drop out of the race, which he refused.
Frank Gilmore – Donation Link
In Colorado, two of Aurora’s “at large” representatives have decided not to seek re-election, which means there are two open seats to be filled. This field consists of one progressive Democrat, one standard Democrat, and three Republicans, although their affiliation is not listed on the ballot. The progressive in question is Adam Hou Fung, whose platform includes investing in social housing, raising the minimum wage, strengthening collective bargaining rights, and a “Proportional Representation” election system, and who has been endorsed by the Denver DSA, Colorado Working Families Party, Sierra Club Colorado, the Denver Progressive Democrats of America, and by State Reps Mike Weissman and Emily Sirota. Oh, and the regular Democrat is John Ronquillo, in case you want to make sure both seats are blue.
Update: As of September 7th of 2021, Adam Fung has suspended his campaign so as to keep his promise to drop out if Candice Bailey officially runs for Aurora City council. Because of this, I would advise Aurora progressives to support Candice Bailey’s candidacy in Fung’s absence.
Adam Fung – Donation Link
Back on the subject of Green Party candidates, we have Kati Medford, who is running for Minneapolis’s 13th Council ward. To quell any of the inevitable “she can’t win because she’s a green” concerns, I’d like to remind you all that the incumbent of Minneapolis’s 2nd Ward Cam Gordon is also a green, and he’s held this seat since 2006. That being said, it is still looking to be a tough race for Medford, but I’m sure she’ll have all the support of all those people bitching on Reddit that candidates aren’t worth supporting unless they run 3rd Party! Why yes, I am quite frustrated with morons who are more than willing to post rude comments online but won’t bother putting in the effort to research and organize for the candidates that could use their support! Anyway, I’d normally do a deep dive into her opponents record, but I’m just going to suggest that you search “Linea Palmisano” on Twitter and see what her constituents have to say. It’s not positive by the way.
Kati Medford – Donation Link
And lastly, we’ll end it off where this piece began, Ohio. In other words, here’s just the race for any Ohio residents that are still pissed about Nina Turner. While this race may not be as big as Nina Turner’s, it will still be some good progress for the progressive movement in Ohio, which means it will probably piss off Shontel Brown. The election for Cincinnati City Council is absolutely crowded in that there are over 40 candidates. There are nine seats up for election, and five of those are held by incumbents running for re-election. So ideally, this means it shouldn’t be too hard to get Evan Holt elected, especially since he has the endorsement of the DSA National. A DSA National endorsement usually isn’t enough on its own to win an election, but in a field this crowded, this will easily be enough to make Evan Holt stand out among voters. Anyway, I’m way too exhausted to research all 40+ candidates, so just make sure Holt is among the top 9.
Evan Holt – Donation Link
Well folks, I was not expecting this 2021 elections piece to be as long as it was. I figured “oh, it’s just an off year, there couldn’t be that much important shit going on.” Of course, it is all a matter of scale given that it’s still not much compared to any year with Senatorial or congressional elections. But every bit of progress counts, and oftentimes, we can get our biggest victories when the establishment is not paying attention. Every single progressive that we successfully elect in a local race, could very easily end up a future congressman or Senator. It’s not as if we even need to replace EVERY corporate Democrat or Republican either. It’s just a matter of getting enough people in who will fight enough to make a difference.
And yes, I can already hear the oncoming waves of doomerism about how The Squad changed literally nothing, which is factually untrue. The problem is they haven’t changed enough, because we have only a handful of them in congress, and because the Establishment Elites have strong defenses. We will only win this if we stay determined in the long run, and fight for every inch we can get. Every dent and crack will eventually build up to something. Getting hopeless, and giving up is what they want us to do, so we should probably not do that.
A lot of people seem to forget that there is a difference made by replacing a shitty congressmen with a less shitty one. Replacing a Republican with a corporate Democrat means that we have one less person advocating for outright fascism, and who will at least need to put in the effort to appear principled. And replacing a corporate Democrat with a progressive who has the right principals but the wrong approach does mean that you’ll have a larger progressive presence in a a place that tries their hardest to stamp out all progressives.
And keep in mind, we still have the opportunity to elect a true progressive who will not cave to corporate pressure, or try to play nice with the establishment. It’s not outside the realm of possibility that Nina Turner runs again, and this time, it will be much harder for the establishment to focus in on her own race when you have so many other candidates who are also running.
To illustrate just how much more that progressives have to look forward to in 2022, this 2021 elections piece was intended to be much shorter than it actually was. I thought this would go by quick, and that I’d work on a much larger piece previewing the 2022 elections. But now my preview piece will likely need to stick with Senate and Gubernatorial races, since I will be completely swamped if I talk about congressional races now. And I haven’t even looked into State legislative and local races.
Spit out that black pill folks, this fight is far from over!
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