Gathering Storm? Anti-Pelosi Democrats United In Finding New Leadership...For Now

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Posted: Nov 14, 2018 1:55 PM
Gathering Storm? Anti-Pelosi Democrats United In Finding New Leadership...For Now

Okay—I admire the moxie of these new House Democrats. I do. But let’s be honest; they’re just the left-wing version of the Never Trump Republicans. There appears to be enough Democrats to block Nancy Pelosi from reclaiming her House speakership. Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA), a Democrat who has made it known that his party’s brand hasn’t been the best as of late, says they have the votes to block the California Democrat in the leadership race (via CBS News):

Even as newly-elected members of the House arrived in Washington Wednesday for orientation, Democrats jockeyed behind the scenes in the battle over who the new House speaker should be.

A small but vocal group of returning Democrats is continuing a previous effort to block current Minority Leader  Nancy Pelosi -- the first woman elected speaker in 2006 --from getting the gavel again. Democrats will reclaim the House majority in January.

Rep. Seth Moulton, D-Mass., one of the leaders of the anti-Pelosi effort, said he was "100 percent confident" that the contingent of lawmakers trying to block Pelosi had the votes to do it. They argue that the American people voted for new leadership in the midterm elections and don't want to see the same trio atop the party in the House that's been there for more than a decade.

Moulton and the other lawmakers said they plan to release a letter with enough signatures of members and members-elect who are pledging not to vote for Pelosi that it would become clear she doesn't have 218 votes needed to be elected speaker on the House floor. He wouldn't reveal the number who have signed on so far because, he said, more are signing on by the day.

Moulton said he and his allies are bolstered by at least seven members-elect he who have made firm promises not to vote for Pelosi.

That's fine, but step two is finding a credible, solid alternative to Nancy Pelosi, and there doesn’t appear to be one right now. Pelosi is the only candidate who has declared, and the vast majority of the Democratic Party has spent more time in Congress. They know her, and they’re from New York, California, and Massachusetts. In the previous Congress, one-third of the House Democratic caucus hailed from these states—and it’s not like their politics differs much from Mrs. Pelosi. Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH), another anti-Pelosi Democrat, tried to boot her from the House Minority Leader spot in the previous Congress; he failed. By November of 2016, Pelosi already had four-fifths of the votes needed to hang onto her leadership post, despite losing a very winnable election cycle up and down the ballot. 

For months, we’ve heard about Pelosi’s unpopularity and her radioactivity to voters in some parts of the country, but she always survives. With no Democratic candidate from the anti-Pelosi wing, who is serious, then-Speaker Pelosi will retake the gavel. No freshman House member wants to be persona non grata in their first term, and the culture among House Democrats doesn’t lend for the younger corps to rise through the ranks. The bench is rather sparse. You have to have a plan. It’s fine that the new wing could have the votes to stop Pelosi, but they need a candidate. The country needs a House speaker, and there will be other questions concerning experience that will come into play. Why should we care? Well, this could get bloody—and there’s nothing more entertaining than Democrats ripping each other apart.