Sunday, 21 January, 2018

Why it would be tough for Dems to quit Nancy Pelosi

Melinda Barton | 29 June, 2017, 09:07

Rep. Tim Ryan, who unsuccessfully challenged Pelosi for minority leader past year, told Business Insider he did not know how Democrats could take the House in 2018 if the GOP was successfully able to convince independents and Republicans that a vote for a Democratic candidate is essentially a vote for Pelosi's leadership.

"If you look at the numbers, these are all seats where just seven months ago [Republicans] won by double digits, and they were nail-biters after Trump takes office", said Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.), co-chair of the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee.

Yet you would never know this because the establishment media and the chattering class never cover Democratic intra-party conflict with the same focus as Republicans.

Some are arguing that the Georgia race, in which Republicans ran heavily against Nancy Pelosi, proves that she is toxic and should retire. But next year, Republicans will be facing a platoon of retired military veterans in districts around the country. Caitlin Huey-Burns of Real Clear Politics reports, "As Democrats pick up the pieces ahead of next year's midterms, they're largely in agreement that the party needs a sharper economic message and stronger candidates". Of course, that won't prevent the GOP from trying to use that attack line, but it may not resonate quite as well.

Nancy Pelosi is still their party's prom queen.

Republicans can feel better about the state of things than they could if they had lost. Town hall protests are packed with activists angry at the Republican-controlled government. With more and more evidence the president did not collaborate with Russians to steal the election, Democrats are more and more convinced he did.

And as for the Democrats, they, clearly, are doing something wrong.

Former Ohio Senate Minority Leader, Joe Schiavoni says elections should not be about Trump. But, if you're ever in Huntington, Ind., check out Antiqology.

Democrats lost another race in SC that same night, and that followed previous disappointments in Montana and Kansas.

Pelosi also has a long history of holding her party together through hard votes - enabling former President Barack Obama to shepherd into law a series of Democratic-backed measures in 2009 and 2010 and later forcing Republicans to grapple with the politically damaging divisions within their own ranks.

While there are many people who believe Democrats need to run for something, the Republican's 2010 campaign suggests Democrats can run against something. He had the potential to sabotage GOP efforts to hold the seats whose vacancies he created.

Behar underestimated the Democrats' problem - they've actually lost four out of four special elections since Trump was elected. Republicans were beside themselves about Ossoff's ability to raise money from outside Georgia, while their candidate was sustained and carried across the finish line by spending from Republican outside groups.

No wonder the president says it's all fake news.

Also, in the past three midterm elections, more than 80 percent of voters who disapproved of the president voted against his party in House races.

And progressive activists' willingness to pour millions of dollars' worth of small-dollar online contributions into Ossoff's campaign - donations fueled nearly entirely by a desire to deal Trump a political setback - was what convinced Democrats to take the race seriously. That was the case Tuesday in South Carolina's 5th District, where 87,000 voted - one-third the turnout in Georgia's 6th District.

Nathan L. Gonzales is a columnist for CQ-Roll Call.