Tuesday, May 03, 2022

On the Ohio Primaries (Vance, Mandel, Brown, and Turner)

Ohio's primaries are in the books. The two biggest stories, at least from my vantage, are J.D. Vance defeating Josh Mandel (and some other members of the clown car) for the GOP Senate nomination, and Shontel Brown stomping Nina Turner in their House rematch.

On the first: the choice between Vance and Mandel in the GOP primary has been a constant source of agony for me. Both are I think equally dangerous, and both are I think (sadly) favored to win the general against Democratic nominee Tim Ryan. So the only transient joy I knew I'd get would be that at least one of these sniveling spineless far-right weasel hacks would go down in ignoble primary defeat. But if forced to choose, which one did I most want to see humiliated?

There's an old psychologist's trick in situations like these where you're agonizing over a decision: you're just told an outcome and then measure your gut reaction to the news. On that front, when I first saw the initial returns suggesting Josh Mandel was going to lose, my immediate, uncontrolled, visceral response was elation. Yes, it's a bitter pill that J.D. Vance won. But Mandel is just absolutely loathsome, and has been for years. I joked (and it's barely a joke) that had he been elected, he potentially would have made history as the first Jew to ever be the most antisemitic member of the Senate. There are few people who more deserve crushing humiliation than him, and on a week like this I'll take the joy where I can get it (plus I think that Vance may be a marginally weaker candidate against Tim Ryan).

Which brings us to the Brown/Turner race, which Brown is winning by about 33 points (compared to a 6 point victory in their 2021 special election contest). Rematches like this -- a quick repeat of an close open-seat contest -- very rarely go well for the round one loser (see also: Rashida Tlaib/Brenda Jones), and it was hard to see what Nina Turner's path to victory was here. But then, it was hard to see what Turner's theory was for why Brown should be turned out of office so quickly other than "it is cosmically unfair that I am not in Congress already." The closest thing she has to a concession up on her Twitter is a retweeted rant from Marianne Williamson of all people blaming Turner's defeat on the "Democratic machine" and "abandonment by progressive Congressional leadership". One might think that if both the "machine" and the "progressives" have lined up against you, then you don't have much of a lane in Democratic Party politics. And maybe Turner agrees, since she's apparently now planning to parlay two consecutive losses in congressional races into an independent 2024 presidential run. Ugh ugh ugh. That woman's ego could power Trump Tower. 

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