The Growing Democratic Revolt Against Nancy Pelosi

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Posted: Mar 19, 2018 4:40 PM
The Growing Democratic Revolt Against Nancy Pelosi

Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is holding firm, though her base of support has been chipping away ever since her party has lost control of the House. The House Minority Leader has promised endlessly that her party would claim victory in 2012, 2014, and 2016. It’s only ended with the GOP majority becoming more entrenched. Now, with Democratic energy at an all-time high, with their first congressional win in the post-2016 era in Pennsylvania, the party, along with their allies in the media, is promising a GOP wipeout. Take that with a grain of salt. We have roughly eight months until Election Day; anything can happen. Plus, this recent election in PA-18 won’t exist soon. It’s quite possible that despite losing the special election, Republican Rick Saccone could be serving with Democrat Conor Lamb; Lamb has already filed to run in PA-18, which will soon encompass more of Pittsburgh. Saccone has filed to run in the more Republican-leaning 14th district. In January, the Democrat-controlled PA Supreme Court tossed the current congressional map. 

PA-18 was a +20 Trump district, so you can see why liberal pundits are harping on it. But the GOP turnout was probably depressed due to the resignation of pro-life GOP Rep. Tim Murphy, who resigned after it was revealed that he had an extramarital affair and pressured his mistress to have an abortion in the midst of a pregnancy scare. This crisis is solely the GOP’s doing, but Lamb ran as a pro-gun, anti-Pelosi Democrat and won. Other Democrats are following suit. Even former Rep. Brad Ashford (D-NE), who is gearing up for a rematch with Republican Don Bacon who beat him in 2016, is running away from Pelosi. Actually, he admitted that Democratic strategists are telling him to flee from the House Minority Leader. Ashford had backed Pelosi while in Congress; I mean it's all there. You have Democratic hopefuls either saying “hello no, Nancy,” or we’re not committing just yet. On the Hill, top Democrats like Reps. Steny Hoyer (D-MD) and Joseph Crowley (D-NY) have laid down the groundwork to launch their own speakership bids should Pelosi’s base of support become smaller. The only downside is if there is a tsunami come November, Pelosi is probably going to become speaker with ease, but anything short of that  (i.e. Democrats with a slim single-digit majority), then there could be a huge move to clear out the older members of the leadership. The New York Times detailed the brewing revolt against Pelosi, while adding that the longtime Democratic leader had planned to retire if Hillary Clinton had won the election. That plan got shot to hell when Trump won the election. She opted to stay to show there was a powerful woman in politics and to prevent a “musical chairs” game regarding the vacuum that would have been left with her departure (via NYT):

A few hours after Conor Lamb, the Pennsylvania Democrat, claimed victory in a House race with a vow to oppose his party’s leader, Nancy Pelosi, the once-and-perhaps-future speaker was explaining to a group of female congressional candidates why she did not retire after 2016.

She intended to do so after Hillary Clinton won, Ms. Pelosi recalled Wednesday at a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee reception here. But she stayed to ensure Washington had at least one woman in power.

To some lawmakers in the room who described her remarks, the message was clear: Ms. Pelosi is not going anywhere — a point she underscored in an interview.

Yet her resolve is at odds with growing numbers of Democratic candidates who view her as politically toxic and are pledging to vote against her as their leader, as Mr. Lamb did without suffering consequences with voters and donors. These candidates and some current House Democrats — tired of years of attack ads invoking Ms. Pelosi as a “San Francisco liberal,” and impatient to see a younger set of leaders take power — are now openly distancing themselves from Ms. Pelosi or declaring outright that it is time for her to go.

[…]

At least two other senior Democrats, Representatives Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland and Joseph Crowley of New York, are already actively laying the groundwork to seek the leader’s job if Ms. Pelosi’s position becomes untenable.

[…]

As Democratic House candidates descended on Washington last week for a round of training and fund-raising, the topic of how to confront the Pelosi question came up repeatedly, according to multiple officials.

“I was just in D.C. and that’s the advice everybody gives: Don’t say you’re for Pelosi,” recalled former Representative Brad Ashford, a Nebraska Democrat trying to reclaim his seat. (He would not rule out backing Ms. Pelosi.)

Most ominous for Ms. Pelosi, it is not just centrist candidates running in red-tinged districts who are reluctant to embrace her, but also political insurgents on the left who see her as an embodiment of the Washington establishment.

“I would have to see who’s running,” said Marie Newman, a progressive Democratic House candidate in Illinois, when asked if she would support Ms. Pelosi for speaker.

Frankly, if chaos is a prelude to a new party that could win, I think a great many Democrats would prefer that, even if it means they fall short in 2018. With Pelosi, disappointment has permeated her time of the helm of the ship. Clear the rot in 2018, gain some ground, and hope a Pelosi-less party could reclaim the majority outright in 2020. Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-CA) pretty much said she wants the old folks home to be cleared out last October. Last June, there was a realization that the Democratic brand in some parts of the country was worse than Trump’s, and that Pelosi was more toxic than the president. I mean what the hell have they got to lose. They’ve been sucking for almost a decade now.

Regardless, Pelosi is holding firm, at least for now—saying the Left needs her to quarterback these elections:

Demonstrating the swagger that delights her admirers and prompts eye-rolling from detractors, Ms. Pelosi said Democrats needed her in charge.

“I am a master legislator, I am a shrewd politician and I have a following in the country that, apart from a presidential candidate, nobody else can claim,” she said.

While she would not firmly commit to seeking the speakership again, it is clearly her plan, and she even gave voice to a concern on the minds of many Democrats: the chaotic scramble that would ensue if she steps down.

“If I was to walk away now, this caucus would be in such a musical chairs scenario,” she said.

Still, from Kansas to Massachusetts, Democrats seem to be growing impatient with the California liberal, with an increasing number seeing her as an obstacle. In Oregon, the Times noted that Democratic Rep. Kurt Schrader has liberal constituents who praise him for voting against Pelosi for leader. Also, for a woman who touts her shrewd political acumen, it was sheer idiocy to bash and denigrate American workers for getting $1,000 or more in bonuses thanks to Trump's tax bill. I don't think 'you're too stupid to understand that $1,000 is crumbs' is an exercise in master political messaging. If anything, it makes the Democratic Party look senile.