When Jezebel sat down with Morgan Harper, a 36-year-old progressive running for Congress in Ohio, one quality was evident from the jump: Drive. She was passionate, focused, and eager to share her vision of a more equitable America, one that she is confident she will have a hand in shaping. On March 17, she’ll find out whether it’s paid off.
Harper is vying to unseat incumbent Democrat Joyce Beatty in Ohio’s 3rd district. It’s a move that was brought to national attention in 2019 when Jonathan Weisman, the deputy Washington editor of the New York Times, criticized Morgan for attempting to “unseat an African-American Democrat.” Morgan helpfully pointed out that she’s black too.
“[Weisman] has the real influence to perpetuate a very dangerous narrative that by presenting a different policy position against a sitting black member of Congress, you’re somehow a threat to black representation,” Harper said.
And the policy differences between Beatty and Harper are stark. While Beatty largely supports improving Obamacare, Harper is a proponent of Medicare-for-All. Harper supports the Green New Deal, which Beatty only supports parts of. Harper doesn’t accept money from corporate PACs, while Beatty has taken over $2 million in corporate PAC money during her four terms and receives generous financial contributions from the insurance and banking industry. Beatty has described Harper’s left-of-center platform—tuition-free public college, national rent stabilization, etc—as a “pipe dream” that is irresponsible to run on in the Trump era.
To me, this lack of urgency from the older generation that feels irresponsible, and I suspect this has made the mysterious black vote increasingly divided this election season. But Harper believes she can bridge this widening gap.
After a debate in Columbus on Tuesday, Beatty said Harper was all hype and no experience. In the above video, Harper makes the case that Ohio voters should, in fact, believe the hype.