Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Nina Turner Loss, Cori Bush win on rent relief - Lessons for the left

I was so rooting for Nina Turner -Dem Party Goes After Nina Turner and Bernie Wing o... so it's a sad day. I wanted so bad to see her in Congress. But maybe in the real election next year. But then again Cori Bush activism was a winner.

Expect much gnashing of teeth from progressives over the Nina Turner loss but also much celebration over the Cori Bush win after her sleepout on the steps of the capitol forced the Bush admin to continue rent relief. The media won't connect the two and report mainly on the loss. MSNBC Morning Joe crew was positively glowing today while under reporting the Bush story.


Corporate media and Dems, following the celebration of the Eric Adams win in NYC, are overjoyed over the defeat of Nina Turner and the Bernie wing of the party in last night's primary.

NY Post: AOC-backed Sanders ally beaten in closely watched Ohio House primary

With 96.5 percent of precincts reporting, Brown led Turner by 4,380 votes out of more than 71,000 votes cast.

Yesterday began with a big celebration by the activist left over how Cori Bush and the Squad stood up Joe Biden and the Dem party central over it's disastrous handing of rent relief. Heather Cox Richardson reports:

...after pressure from progressive Democrats, especially Representative Cori Bush (D-MO), who led a sit-in at the Capitol to call for eviction relief, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that in counties experiencing high levels of community transmission of Covid-19, it is extending until October 3 the federal moratorium on evictions that ended this weekend. It is doing so as a public health measure, but it is also an economic one. It should help about 90% of renters—11 million adults—until the government helps to clear the backlog of payments missed during the pandemic by disbursing more of the $46 billion Congress allocated for that purpose.

One thing I've learned about many on the left -- celebrate and exaggerate the wins and blame the losses on corporate money - or the weather - or anything. Center/right/corp Dems push the idea that the majority of voters, particularly in the Black community, don't support the left. At least the older, more conservative church-going faction. But Cori Bush defeated one such black incumbent with a lot of support in the 2020 primary. But lessons learned by corp dems -- they didn't want yet another Cori Bush in Congress so they pulled out all the stops in Cleveland.

The Cleveland primary makes that point. There were many centrist black candidates and corp Dems used the Biden strategy against Bernie -- unite behind one. And it worked -- this time -- there is another election next year and Nina my be back and doing a lot of campaigning -- starting today. Turnout was terrible and that was what brought Nina down.

David Sirota faces facts in this tweet:

@NinaTurner ran a brave campaign. More Dem voters supported her corporate opponent not just because an overwhelming amount of super PAC money was spent to destroy Nina, but also because in general more Dem voters want a corporate government than something else. This is reality.
I follow left wing alt media, which is so anti-corp Dem. I was listening to live reports from The Young Turks - TYT - and there was more than a bit of hysteria over the Turner loss -- with a semi-attack on the voters -- the black voters - who chose corp Dems over Turner. When Bernie lost to Biden there was a lot ot crying on the left over how dare the corp dems unite -- Bernie could have won if they split the vote - as he did in early primaries with 30% -- but they ignore the reality that if you add up the non-Bernie vote it pretty much comes to about a third.

Some of this racial dynamic plays out in the UFT, where Unity Caucus attracts a significant portion of older Black UFTers. Younger Black teachers, if they are active, are also being recruited by Unity and if they are progressive, will go to MORE. Or do outside UFT activism if turned off by MORE/DSA left rhetoric. That will be an interesting dynamic.

I also follow corp media - Punchbowl covers Congress -- now watch how they report the Cori Bush story -- give her some credit but give Pelosi most of the credit -- as if she gave a shit until Bush embarrassed her.

[UPDATE NOTE 1- I complained about the coverage and received this from Jake Sherman - hi Norm -- We covered this extensively in our midday and PM editions. Only problem is those versions behind pay wall - so if a tree falls in a forest -- etc.

UPDATE NOTE 2: More from Puncbowl which did cover Cori Bush in its free morning update on Tuesday --Here is a follow-up with their full report - The Left wins one - Punchbowl - Rep. Cori Bush is winning]

]

Happy Wednesday. We wanted to bring you a little bit more on the backstory of how the White House completely reversed its position from “We can’t issue a new eviction moratorium” to “We’re going to issue a new eviction moratorium.”

There’s no doubt that Reps. Cori Bush (D-Mo.), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Mondaire Jones’ (D-N.Y.) public pressure campaign -- which included Bush camping out on the Capitol steps for five days -- was key to creating the political environment for Biden’s decision. With so much anger from the left, inaction wasn’t an option.

Yet behind the scenes, Speaker Nancy Pelosi played a pivotal role. She helped convince the Biden administration to issue a revised moratorium that lasts until Oct. 3, despite possible legal challenges from landlords. The previous moratorium expired on July 31, leaving millions of  families facing possible eviction and causing an uproar among progressives.

Over several days, Pelosi engaged in a frantic round of phone calls and lobbying, pressing President Joe Biden and senior White House officials to respond. Pelosi spoke directly with Biden three times over the weekend and into Tuesday, making a case that the White House found compelling. Pelosi was adamant the president needed to move unilaterally and insisted the Delta variant presented a new public health emergency.

Pelosi argued the White House didn’t need to issue a national moratorium but should rather focus on halting evictions in areas where the CDC was recommending masking. That way, the two public health emergencies overlapped for the agency, according to people familiar with the arguments Pelosi made to Biden, White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain and Steve Ricchetti, a counselor to Biden.

During one conversation with Pelosi, Biden said his legal advisers were warning him that he couldn’t extend the moratorium due to a June 29 Supreme Court ruling. The high court had let the moratorium stand in a 5-4 decision, but Justice Brett Kavanaugh said the CDC had “exceeded its existing statutory authority” and Congress must act to extend the ban. Biden asked Pelosi if she had any legal experts with a different take. Pelosi provided Biden with several names, including Laurence Tribe, the well-known Harvard Law professor. Tribe also has a long friendship with Klain, himself a Harvard Law grad. Tribe encouraged White House officials to move ahead with the revised moratorium. 

When Biden decided to make his announcement on Tuesday on the new moratorium, the first person he called was Pelosi, who’d just finished a caucus call with her members and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.

“Today is a day of extraordinary relief,” Pelosi said in a statement released by her office. “Thanks to the leadership of President Biden, the imminent fear of eviction and being put out on the street has been lifted for countless families across America. Help is Here!”

Cori gets one line. A joke.

And here's another celebratory anti-left article from the 

NYT: On Politics: Kyrsten Sinema vs. the Left

 

Joe Manchin may be Washington’s favorite cranky centrist, but quietly, Kyrsten Sinema has become the darling of the Pennsylvania Avenue establishment — and the Democrat progressives love to hate.

The White House and the party leadership love Sinema, Arizona’s senior senator, because she helped deliver a deal with Republicans on the $1 trillion infrastructure bill, keeping the negotiators on track with wine when they got distracted. Republicans love her because she works closely with them, even ducking into their cloakroom for a friendly chat when the Senate is in session. And moderates from both parties love the way she manages to stick by her centrist convictions and still deliver results.

The left, on the other hand, can’t stand her. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez attacked her over her handling of the infrastructure bill. “Good luck tanking your own party’s investment on childcare, climate action, and infrastructure while presuming you’ll survive a 3 vote House margin,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted, “especially after choosing to exclude members of color from negotiations and calling that a ‘bipartisan accomplishment.’”

Just Democracy, a coalition of progressive groups representing people of color, recently announced a six-figure ad campaign against Sinema in Arizona, on top of a $1.5 million ad buy in June. Last week 39 activists, including the Rev. Jesse Jackson, were arrested outside her office in Phoenix while protesting her refusal to ditch the filibuster. And several liberal groups have already suggested they would back a primary challenge against her — even though she isn’t up for re-election until 2024.

What explains the haters? On one level, it’s simple. In today’s partisan environment, anyone who seems too close to the other party risks friendly fire — and it doesn’t help that Sinema has won praise from some of the right’s most vociferous combatants, including Charlie Kirk, the founder of Turning Point USA, who said she was “more of a Republican than John McCain ever was.”

But Manchin often wins similar cross-partisan Brownie points, too. And Sinema’s policy positions are not that different from his: They both support the filibuster, they are both uncommitted to the Democrats’ $3.5 trillion spending plan, and they have both expressed wariness about using the reconciliation process to pass it.

Of course, Manchin is hardly beloved by the left, either. But he often appears to get a pass — perhaps because he is, after all, an older white man representing West Virginia, one of the whitest, most conservative states in the country. Whether that makes him conservative by nature or by a pragmatic survival instinct, he’s at least easy to comprehend.

Not Sinema. Arizona is a purple state, and in 2018 she became the first Democrat the state has elected to the U.S. Senate in 30 years. But it has also been tilting left for years, with a surging population of young people of color and an increasingly active progressive movement.

In fact, one cause of progressive frustration with Sinema is that she herself comes from a progressive background. She famously began her political career as a dyed-in-the-wool lefty — dyed pink, the color adopted by female activists protesting the war in Iraq in the mid-aughts. She was a member of the Green Party and backed Ralph Nader for president in 2000.

But once she started winning elections, first in the Arizona Legislature, then in Congress, she shifted to the middle. In 2009 she wrote a book called “Unite and Conquer: How to Build Coalitions That Win — and Last.” She joined the centrist Blue Dog Coalition and the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus. And she began to consciously model herself after McCain, the conservative Arizona Republican known for his occasional maverick stances and willingness to work with Democrats, even at the risk of angering his own party.

“The legacy of John McCain does loom large for her,” said Joe Wolf, a Democratic consultant in Phoenix. “There’s a strong legacy of Arizona politicians who have an outsize influence on the world, and that’s not lost on her.”

It’s the McCain comparison that seems to particularly addle her fellow Democrats. The virtue of McCain’s bipartisanship was that he built it on a solid conservative voting record, so that his cross-party stances seemed to be principled exceptions. But so far, Sinema doesn’t have the record — at least in the Senate — to do the same.

“When people say, ‘That’s Kyrsten being Kyrsten,’ it’s hard to describe her actions as ‘typical’ Kyrsten Sinema because there isn’t yet a typical Kyrsten Sinema,” said Adam Kinsey, a Democratic political consultant in Arizona.

Other progressives say that her background in the 2000s-era left skews her understanding of progressive politics today. Back then, the left, especially in Arizona, was relatively marginal and ineffective, pushing a grab bag of causes in a political landscape where “liberal” was still considered a scarlet letter among Arizona voters.

Now, with younger voters driving the party to the left, progressives say that image, and her seemingly dismissive response to it, seems out of touch, tilting against an outmoded stereotype instead of engaging with the issues powering left-wing politics.

“I almost feel she is responding to her understanding of what the left is based on her engagement with leftist politics a decade and a half ago,” said Emily Kirkland, the executive director of Progress Arizona, a liberal advocacy group. “She doesn’t understand that the frustration is not just with a scattering of groups on the left.”

Then there is her political style — for progressives, her brand of centrism comes across as aggressive, even trolling. Recall the moment in March when, during a vote on raising the minimum wage, she sauntered down to the well of the Senate and gave a flippant thumbs-down, a move that many on the left translated into a gesture involving a different finger, pointed in a different direction.

“It can feel like she is more interested in making progressives mad than in engaging with the substance of the topic at hand,” Kirkland said.

But it’s at least plausible that another sticking point for progressives is that so far, her centrism seems to work. She is regularly in contact with President Biden, on the phone and at the White House. She helped broker a deal between Senator Chuck Schumer, the majority leader, and Senator Pat Toomey, Republican of Pennsylvania, on the Covid relief bill. She’s been working with Senator Mitt Romney, Republican of Utah, on a minimum-wage bill. And now she’s making headlines on infrastructure.

All of which means that the next few weeks are critical for her stature in Washington, and in Arizona. If the infrastructure bill goes through — and it still faces obstacles, some of them out of Sinema’s control — then she could cement her reputation as not just a maverick, but also as a savior of a bipartisanship that people had largely written off. That doesn’t mean the left will fall in love with her, but at least they might give her some grudging respect.

“She absolutely has to get a win like that to point to,” Kinsey said. “If she continues to work with Republicans but doesn’t have something to show for it, she’ll look ineffective. If she can, she will show there is a method to the madness.”

 

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