Over the last 10 months we have seen Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) struggle with keeping her caucus in check. Months ago, she made it very clear the House would not move forward with impeaching President Donald Trump because of the it was an issue that divided Americans. She lost that fight to the extreme progressives of her party, in particular the freshman “Squad” consisting of Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) and Ayanna Pressley (D-MA). Even though she can’t control her caucus – or the very chamber she oversees – Nancy has a word of advice for the 2020 Democrats: even though the base loves the candidates’ progressive views, those views are too fringe for a Democrat to beat President Donald Trump in the general election.
“What works in San Francisco does not necessarily work in Michigan,” Pelosi told Bloomberg News on Friday. “What works in Michigan works in San Francisco — talking about workers’ rights and sharing prosperity.”
“Remember November,” she said. “You must win the Electoral College.”
Pelosi believes it's a mistake for the 2020 Democrats to focus only on courting their very base of hardcore progressives instead of focusing on middle-of-the-road, moderate and independent voters that are needed to take back the White House next year.
“As a left-wing San Francisco liberal I can say to these people: What are you thinking?” Pelosi said. “You can ask the left — they’re unhappy with me for not being a socialist.”
The Speaker took a swipe at Medicare For All, a plan backed by the majority of the Democratic presidential candidates. She takes a similar position to former Vice President Joe Biden: instead of completely gutting the Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as Obamacare, and replacing it with Medicare For All, Democrats should build on the measure.
“Protect the Affordable Care Act — I think that’s the path to health care for all Americans. Medicare For All has its complications,” she said, noting that “the Affordable Care Act is a better benefit than Medicare.”
But Medicare For All isn't the only issue Pelosi worries about. She sees independents' skepticism surrounding AOC's coveted Green New Deal.
“There’s very strong opposition on the labor side to the Green New Deal because it’s like 10 years, no more fossil fuel. Really?” she said.
Her third point of contention has to do with deficit spending. While most on the progressive wing of the party want to continually spend more money to implement new policies, the Speaker believes it's paramount for Democrats to allocate funding as they go along.
“We cannot just keep increasing the debt,” Pelosi said.
The biggest reminder she had for the presidential candidates vying for the Democratic nomination was to quit trying to go further left.
“Bernie and Elizabeth own the left, right? Is anybody going to out-left them?” she asked.