Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi doesn’t have an excellent resume on her hands. Following Election Day, Democrats have achieved four consecutive House losses. They failed to win a majority of House seats in the 2010, 2012, 2014, and 2016 elections. She promised her colleagues they would make double digits gains on Election Day - that didn’t happen. Not even close. Despite having a solid grip on Democratic representatives, Pelosi’s embarrassing record may finally be starting to loosen her hold.
Over 30 House Democrats signed on to a letter asking for a delay in caucus leadership elections. The letter asked for more time to assess why the election went the way it did and how best to move forward. The extension was granted and elections between House Democrats will take place November 30.
Pelosi now has an official challenger to deal with. Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH), a relative unknown, has stepped up to the plate, admitting he never had a leadership bid on his mind but truly feels it’s time for a change. He has been in contact with the 30+ members who signed the request letter. Despite his clear-cut reasoning, Ryan still has a mountain to climb if he wishes to oust Pelosi.
Pelosi gave an exclusive interview with POLITICO on Monday and explained her intruiging argument as to why House Democrats should, and will, vote to keep her on as leader.
The California Democrat insists next election will be different. Her hypothesis is that with Trump in the White House, it’ll be just like when George W. Bush was in office during the 2006 mid-terms. No brainer, right?
Pelosi reiterated in the interview that Trump is the key to winning back more districts for Democrats.
"I see a very good opportunity for us to win the majority," Pelosi insisted. "Much of this will be pivoted off what the Trump administration will be doing. ... We have to make sure people know what this means for their lives."
Has the leader of the House Democrats learned nothing from the election just the other day? Hilary Clinton’s entire campaign hinged on the assumption that Trump would be the nominee and then screw it up. WikiLeaks made public her aides' strong belief that a Trump nomination would propel her to the White House. Instead, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania voted for a Republican presidential candidate for the first time in decades.
Clinton assumed Trump would win the election for her. She learned the hard way that a strategy dependent on outside forces is a flawed game plan.
Now Pelosi is apparently banking on the same approach. She has kept House Democrats in the wilderness for six years, but thinks a Republican can do the work she clearly can't do on her own.
Her caucus must be awed by her rationale.
On top of that, 2006 was ten years ago. George W. Bush was a completely different president under completely different circumstances. The Iraq War was immensely unpopular by that time. He was also dealing with the “six year itch” that tends to affect many incumbent presidents. Half the Democrats in the House weren't even there in 2006 and have no interest in hoping for the past to simply repeat itself.
Perhaps Democrats in the lower chamber should really give Tim Ryan another look.