As much as the Democratic Party would like to portray a united front, it is clear that a very real and deepening rift has developed between its establishment and progressive wings, potentially threatening President Joe Biden’s agenda.
Now, two prominent figures within the party find themselves firmly on opposite sides of a major upcoming election, as Fox News reports.
“A champion for working families”
At issue is the special election to fill the seat vacated by former U.S. Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-OH), who is currently serving as the head of the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) are vocally supporting competing candidates in the race.
Clinton tweeted on Wednesday that she is “proud to endorse” Democratic candidate Shontel Brown, who “made history as the first Black woman to chair her county Dem party” and will “work to help her state and our country recover from COVID.”
The 2016 Democratic presidential nominee also included a link to the Democratic-aligned ActBlue fundraising site and urged followers to make a donation to Brown’s campaign.
In return, Brown thanked Clinton for the support in a statement, adding: “Secretary Clinton has been a champion for working families for her entire career, and I am incredibly honored to receive her endorsement. As a volunteer for her campaign in 2016, I was inspired by her message to put women at the head of the table, finally.”
Former state Sen. Nina Turner is the other leading Democrat in the race and has received endorsements from various progressive politicians, including Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Bernie Sanders (VT).
“A bold, unapologetic progressive”
In a statement earlier this year, Ocasio-Cortez described Turner as “a bold, unapologetic progressive who has spent her entire career advocating for the working people of Northeast Ohio, and a powerful voice for progressive values and policies.”
Highlighting Turner’s position on issues including “Medicare for All, a $15 minimum wage, and a Green New Deal,” the New York Democrat added that she would be a valuable ally “in the fight for racial, economic, social, and environmental justice.”
Turner said she was “honored” to have the support of Ocasio-Cortez and anticipates “working together to build a democracy where no child goes hungry, no worker earns a starvation wage, and where every business respects our planet.”
It seems clear that Democrats nationwide will be paying close attention to the campaign, which could provide an indication of which way rank-and-file voters in the party are leaning.
If voters favor Brown, it might be a sign that the establishment agenda still reigns supreme within the party — but if they side with Ocasio-Cortez and pick Turner, it could be seen as an indication that the far-left wing is gaining influence and political power.