Progressive Spotlight: Nina Turner.
The Firebrand Progressives Desperately Need .
Summary: In recent years, Nina Turner has emerged as one of the most powerful voices in the progressive movement and is willing to take on anyone undermining causes to uplift the working class.
There’s perhaps no more effective messenger for progressive causes than Nina Turner.
A firebrand activist, educator, and former elected official, Turner is an unapologetic supporter of policies that would uplift America’s working class and create greater economic justice, especially for historically marginalized groups.
Turner’s authenticity, unmatched tenacity, ability to weaponize the truth and people’s lived experiences, and unsurpassed passion distinguish her from most politicians and others in progressive media.
For better or worse, Turner says what she says. And even when some comments can get her in hot water, as Ryan Grim explained in a past episode of his Deconstructed podcast, she has a unique ability to rebound, and somehow emerge stronger.
Recall Turner’s 2020 interview with The Atlantic in which she said choosing between Biden and Trump was akin to being forced to ingest excrement.
“It’s like saying to somebody, ‘You have a bowl of shit in front of you, and all you’ve got to do is eat half of it instead of the whole thing.’ It’s still shit,” said Turner.
I mean, she wasn’t wrong.
Very few progressives—or a growing segment of the Democratic base for that matter—would likely disagree with that sentiment in 2024, as we barrel toward a rematch between a criminally charged grifter and a belligerent neoliberal masquerading as a defender of democracy. But the comment, made in the summer of 2020 when Democrats were trying to “unite” the party behind Biden, served as fuel for the still smoldering fire from 2016 amid bad-faith accusations that Bernie Sanders’ supporters failed to sufficiently support Hillary Clinton, a more polished version of the war-mongering Biden.
Turner, who served as Sanders’ most prominent surrogate on cable news and the campaign trail, effectively leveraged her newfound national appeal to propel her into a special Congressional election in Ohio, which generated sustained media coverage but also frightened the Democratic establishment.
Turner, who once represented part of that district as a state senator, seemed a logical fit.
The aforementioned Grim, who just wrote a book on The Squad, said this back in 2021: “Among many of the Bernie diehards, there’s nobody outside of Bernie—and maybe even including Bernie—as beloved as Turner.”
Alas, Turner would fall to fellow Democrat Shontel Brown in a race that was heavily influenced by the super PAC Democratic Majority for Israel (DMFI). While Turner had another shot at Brown in the general election, the special election took a lot out of her sails—so much so that Justice Democrats, which supports progressive candidates, remained on the sidelines.
Turner, however, is tenacious. She remains outspoken on progressive policies, such as Medicare-For-All, economic justice, climate change, voter rights, and so much more. Her ability to leverage her political acumen with advocacy has resulted in a new project, We Are Somebody, an organization she co-founded to generate financial assistance for striking workers and amplify their messaging.
Turner is indeed a firebrand. And progressives—correct that, Americans—should be honored to have her by their side.
Rashed Mian is the managing editor of News Beat. Mian previously covered civil liberties and the Muslim American community for Long Island Press. Mian graduated with a degree in journalism from Hofstra University. Mian is interested in under-reported stories that impact disenfranchised communities as well as issues related to civil liberties.