Progressives seek redemption in Las Vegas


“I definitely plan to do whatever I can to help Amy succeed in this race,” said Turner. His approval comes about two months after that of Representative Cori Bush (D-Mo.), Another liberal icon. “Our movement is not losing – I mean, if you look at the influence that we collectively have.”

Vilela first entered politics in 2018 when she competed in a primary for a nearby seat, finishing third behind the former Rep. Steven Horsford (D-Nev.) – a campaign that was documented by Netflix’s “Knock Down the House” with Bush and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (DN.Y.).

Vilela supports major progressive policy proposals, including the Green New Deal and Medicare for All, and centers her campaign on a heartbreaking personal tragedy that prompted her to enter politics.

Her 22-year-old daughter, Shalynne, died of a blood clot in 2015, and Vilela believes she was turned away from a hospital where she could have received life-saving care because she had no Health Insurance. It was Turner, she said, who helped her turn her grief into purpose.

“She’s in a unique position, considering how she’s taken on something traumatic and out of the natural order of things, of having to bury your daughter because of cruel indifference in a commodified health care system,” Turner said, calling her a “champion.” “

“She can draw on her personal history – the work she’s done all these years – as a member of Congress,” she added. “It’s dynamite right there.”

The couple met at a Medicare for All conference several years ago where Turner was a guest speaker. Vilela’s husband ended up in an elevator with Turner and told him their story. Turner was so moved that she spontaneously included it in her speech.

“All of a sudden she was talking about the fact that she had met the father of this young woman who had died from lack of health care, and she said,” And in this great country, no youngster of 22 years should not die from lack of health care, ”recalls Vilela. “It tears me up to talk about it now. It was the first time anyone said my daughter didn’t deserve to die.”

Turner and Vilela have shared a close bond ever since. Vilela, an accountant, served as Turner’s campaign treasurer in Ohio this year and worked with her on Sanders’ presidential candidacy in 2020.

The race for a Las Vegas-based deep blue neighborhood has similar fault lines to Turner’s race this summer. Titus was an early supporter of current President Joe Biden’s 2020 candidacy (and, rumored to be, in the running for an ambassadorial post). Vilela, meanwhile, was co-chair of Sanders’ 2020 Nevada campaign – which the Vermont senator won by landslide.

Titus, first elected in 2008 in a swinging seat, lost in the 2010 wave and moved to her current Deep Blue District in 2012. Although she is aligned with Biden, she has progressive good faith. She is a founding member of the Medicare for All caucus and helped create renewable energy standards in the state.

Vilela’s main argument against Titus is that she is not present enough in the district and has not made progress on key issues such as immigration reform and that she does not support a “Green New Deal “.

“Our status quo leadership is not doing the job,” she said. “They are not present on the ground in the community. And it’s not just me saying that.”

(Titus, for his part, appears to take the threat seriously. His Twitter is packed with photos of his campaign at a Teamsters event, a Zoom meeting on tackling climate change and at a rally to kick off Hispanic Heritage Month.)

In a statement, Titus spokesman Blake Williams called Titus a “longtime progressive champion” and noted that she “fought tooth and nail against the Trump administration to protect communities from immigrants “. “Is what leadership looks like,” said Williams.

Nevada’s run could be a major test for the left. Turner’s loss in Ohio came after a series of setbacks when progressive candidates lost a special election in Louisiana in April, the governor’s primary of Virginia and the mayor’s primary of New York in June.

In an interview announcing his approval of Vilela, Turner reflected on his special last month in Ohio and what progressives can learn from his mistakes.

In retrospect, she said she regretted spending so many resources early on in an attempt to put the race aside in May, well before the August primary. She was surprised by the intensity of the groups that bolstered her main opponent, Cuyahoga County Council member Shontel Brown.

And she said she didn’t rule out a rematch against Brown – who is the big favorite to join Congress in a special election in November – in the primary elections scheduled for next year.

“The filing deadline is February 2022,” Turner said. “And guess what? 435 House seats are up, and it will be a different environment, which means all the firepower cannot be concentrated just in Ohio’s 11th District. the lines will also be different. So we’ll see. “

Her demand to the left of this cycle is that disparate groups and organizations try to act in unison in only a handful of races to avoid overstretching their resources – and she hopes Vilela Nevada’s primary will be one. of these races.

“They have to muster that firepower into a more organized strategic plan, kind of a test. So that they can really help push and catapult this progressive candidate – you can’t do that in every race, so a decision is made. is going to have to be done collectively.


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