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Tipsheet

Nancy Pelosi Actually Thinks Dems Can 'Forget History' and Win the Midterm Elections

AP Photo/Susan Walsh

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) was pressed about a variety of topics during her Sunday appearance on ABC's "This Week," though perhaps her most bizarre response came when discussing the upcoming midterm elections. Pelosi, who wouldn't say if she'll run for speaker again if Democrats maintain control, think her party can defy history to win.

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Host George Stephanopoulos had asked Pelosi "how worried are you about the midterms right now," following up with asking "how about debunking history?"

That's when Pelosi, whose time as speaker may be over in less than a year, said to "forget history" because "we're talking about future." She had also repeated an oft-repeated Democratic talking point that they "are fully intent to win this election," as "nothing less is at stake." In more stark terms, she went on to later claim that
"nothing less is at stake than the--our democracy.

Pelosi herself acknowledged that historical trends show that the president's party in power almost always loses seats during midterm elections. She appeared, though, to go on to use the fact that Republicans outperformed expectations in the House as a bonus for her party being able to defy history. 

As she explained it:

We didn't gain seats when President Biden won. We worked together to win the Senate, win the House, and win the White House. It was cumulative, but it wasn’t an increase.

And one of the reasons that, in part, the president's party loses seats in the off years because they gain so many in the on-year. We won 40 seats in '18, 31 in Trump districts. In this year with Trump on the ballot, we lost a third of those Trump seats.

However, the people who survived in those Trump seats with Trump on the ballot are in very good shape.

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That may be one reason why the president's party loses seats, but it's just one of many. Stephanopoulos had hinted at the other reasons, including how "inflation, the rising crime are both weighing down on President Biden's approval ratings," which he aptly said are "weighing down on Democrats as we head into the midterms."

Stephanopoulos made reference to the 29 Democrats retiring rather than seeking re-election. That's a high not seen since 1994, when the GOP gained 52 seats in the House in what was known as the "Republican Revolution." 

Pelosi did demonstrate a bit of honesty when she pointed to redistricting as a way that the Democrats are intent about staying in power. "We intend -- by redistricting, which did not do us harm, as people predicted, history and all that, by recruitment, great people coming forward believing that we can win, with raising of money and attracting the support, and about raising interest in the volunteers. We have every intention every single day to do everything in our power. We have decided to win and that's what we will do," she said.

The redistricted maps, including and especially in New York, though, represent some of the worst forms of gerrymandering, and are facing court battles. Even the Brennan Center has taken issue. The Cook Political Report recently noted Democrats have taken an edge, though Republicans remain predicted to win control of the House.

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Pelosi's last response for the segment rhetorically asked "who is more empathetic than Joe Biden?" It turns out that the American people don't tend to think it's the president. According to a CBS News/YouGov poll released in time for Biden's first year in office, a plurality, at 35 percent, say "Not at all" when asked "How much do you think Joe Biden cares about the needs and problems of people like you?"

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