Nancy Pelosi and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez staged a quiet rivalry since Ocasio-Cortez entered Congress in 2019.
The party establishment and the Ocasio-Cortez-led “Squad” squared off in a key public fight.
And then Nancy Pelosi sent Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez a message that no one saw coming.
A battle for the soul and the political future took place in a special primary election in Ohio’s 11th Congressional District.
Former Congresswoman Marcia Fudge vacated the seat after joining the Biden administration as the secretary for Housing and Urban Development.
A proxy candidate for each wing of the Democrat Party entered the race.
Nina Turner – who served as co-chair of the 2020 Bernie Sanders presidential campaign – announced her candidacy as the avatar of the growing socialist movement on the left, and quickly earned the endorsement of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Bernie Sanders.
Cuyahoga County Councilwoman Shontel Brown represented the Pelosi-Biden establishment wing of the Democrat Party.
Early polls showed Turner leading Brown because of her name recognition as a high-profile surrogate for Bernie Sanders in the 2016 and 2020 elections.
But as Election Day drew near, the race nationalized as Ocasio-Cortez and Sanders held rallies for Turner while Pelosi’s leadership ally, South Carolina Congressman James Clyburn, campaigned for Turner.
Clyburn’s repeatedly criticized politicians like Ocasio-Cortez for leading congressional Democrats to a disastrous defeat in the 2020 election – where they lost double-digit seats – by championing politically toxic policies such as socialism and “defund the police.”
With Democrats holding historically narrow majorities heading into the 2022 election, Pelosi, Clyburn and other party officials are worried that another socialist supporter of “defund the police” emerging as a face of the party would allow Republicans to pick off incumbent Democrats like fish in a barrel in the 2022 midterms.
Democrat voters in Ohio’s 11th Congressional District were sufficiently terrified of another socialist “Squad” member defining the party that Brown won in an easier than expected victory with the Associated Press calling the race with Brown leading 51 percent to 44 percent.
After the loss, Turner proved why Democrats viewed her as toxic in her concession speech where she blamed Jewish donors for supporting attack ads against her.
Turner also undermined confidence in democracy by claiming secret Israeli money “manipulated” the election.
“I am going to work hard to ensure that something like this doesn’t happen to another progressive candidate again. We didn’t lose this race, evil money manipulated and maligned this election,” Turner ranted.
Some Jewish political groups did oppose Turner after Turner smeared Israel as an apartheid state.
The Democratic Majority for Israel ran ads attacking Turner for her attacks on Joe Biden.
“Identifying that shift as a major threat, the Democratic Majority for Israel (DMFI) threw its support behind Shontel Brown, spending some $2 million on the centrist’s behalf. Those ads included a series of attacks on Turner, highlighting comments she made against Biden who she likened to ‘[half] a bowl of $%^&,’” The Times of Israel reported.
The Pro-Israel America PAC and the Jewish Democratic Council of America also endorsed Brown.
For her part Brown thanked “my Jewish brothers and sisters” in her victory speech.
But the message from the results was clear: Democrats like Nancy Pelosi and her allies look at Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and her socialist agenda as a political anchor dragging the Democrat Party down to defeat.
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