House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said she has every intention of remaining the leader of the House of Representatives when the new Congress is seated in January…but her party members may have another plan in mind. Pelosi, whose nomination to the speakership was heavily opposed by the progressive wing of the party in 2018, is likely to face even stiffer challenges this time around.
Fact is, despite predictions of an election blowout, House Democrats did not fare particularly well this week. By losing some of their most shaky members and failing to take a single Republican seat, Democrats may have managed to lose as many as ten House seats to Republicans. They’ll almost surely keep the majority, but it was not a pretty night.
That will undoubtedly put Pelosi in the hot seat. As House Speaker, it is her job to garner donations, make speeches, stump for threatened candidates, and push to find weak Republicans where Democrats can expand their majority. None of that happened, and it is certain to lead to a reckoning. And this time, it won’t just be The Squad and their progressive allies calling for her to go.
The Hill spoke to centrist Democrats this week who said they are “reaching out to their colleagues about backing one of Pelosi’s top lieutenants, House Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries (NY), for Speaker in the next Congress.”
The Dems told the outlet that Jeffries “bridges moderates and progressives better than anyone.”
“And most importantly,” they said, “he’s not Nancy Pelosi.”
Making matters worse for Pelosi is a newly-aligned caucus that may be further to the left than the previous majority.
“A slew of moderate lawmakers, whose wins in the 2018 midterms handed the gavel again to Pelosi, have lost or are on track to lose their seats,” The Daily Beast reported. “Meanwhile, several establishment Democrats are set to be replaced by staunch progressives, shifting Democrats’ political center of gravity further left in the lower chamber of Congress.”
Truth be told, for as much as Pelosi has been heralded as a goddess by the Washington media, her performance over the last couple of years has to be viewed as a failure by even the most hardened Democrats. What has she done? She failed to get her stimulus package. She failed to bring a convincing impeachment case against the president. Hell, last we heard, she hasn’t even spoken to Trump in months. Top off that sundae with a poor election performance, and you really have to wonder what it is that Pelosi has to offer.