The Shontel Brown Campaign’s Divisiveness has Raised the Stakes for Cuyahoga County Democrats
Ohio Democratic statewide candidates live or die by the voter turnout in heavily Democratic Cuyahoga County. That makes the Cuyahoga County Democratic Party crucial to any hope for victories in Gubernatorial, Senate, and Presidential contests. Unfortunately for anyone who would rather not live under Republican rule, current CCDP Chair Shontel Brown is in the process of disintegrating the CCDP for her own political gain.
A particularly deceptive and insulting mailer this week coming from one of the Shontel Brown Congressional Campaign’s Super PACs has made it impossible to imagine Brown ever effectively uniting the party. Her departure from CCDP leadership is urgent. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like Brown is going to step aside; it appears local Democrats are going to have to work hard to make that happen.
A loyal member of the corporate faction of the Democratic Party, Shontel Brown’s one claim to being qualified for her position as CCDP Chair was her apparent commitment to party unity. She is not an effective voter turnout organizer, but by and large, other factions of the party have been willing to fall in line, as long as Brown was being conciliatory and seemed to have the party’s interests at heart.
That has now changed. First, Brown refused to step down as CCDP Chair even after the Plain Dealer Editorial Board wrote in February that she “must resign” due to the damage she was doing to the party and county. Since then, the party has decayed, with hundreds of committee seats and appointments purged or neglected. That was bad enough, but now, by running an extremely nasty, divisive, and dishonest campaign, culminating with the recent dishonest and divisive mailer, Shontel Brown has no hope of being able to unite this party. The future of Democratic politics in Cuyahoga County and Ohio therefore hinges on removing Brown (and the corporate party machine that is complicit in the party’s disintegration) from her position as CCDP Chair.
Two things need to happen to remove Brown and avert disaster for Democratic politics in Ohio. The first is that Brown needs to lose her bid for congress against Nina Turner. This is crucial: If Brown and her divisive Corporate faction of the party win the congressional election August 3, they will be emboldened and it will be nearly impossible to remove them from the leadership of CCDP. The party will continue to collapse, and turnout for Democrats will consequently plummet. However, if Brown loses to Turner, there is hope. Some of the damage done by Brown may be irreversible, but Turner and her allies may be able to repair enough in time to be competitive in Ohio’s 2022 Senate and Gubernatorial races, or at least the 2024 Senate (Sherrod Brown is up for re-election) and Presidential races. Whether this hope is realized depends on whether progressive Cuyahoga County Democrats embrace the second step of this process.
The second step is that regular Democratic voters in Cuyahoga County need to run and win races for CCDP precinct leaders in May 2022. These precinct leaders form the committee that has the power to vote Shontel Brown and her allies out of CCDP leadership. Cuyahoga County has over 900 precincts, so we need hundreds of people to step up and run for these seats. If you’re interested in being part of this effort, register for the Cuyahoga County Progressive Caucus’s regional meeting July 20 6:30–8pm, or contact CCPC directly for details on getting involved. Join CCPC here and get email updates. You can also watch a video describing this strategy and the structure of the local Democratic Party.
Click here for more from me on Shontel Brown’s disqualifying ethical problems and subpar competence.