No one is feeling the pressure to win in this year’s midterm elections more than 77-year-old House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-SF). The outcome in November will serve as the champion party fundraiser’s weather vane concerning her political future.
Pelosi has held the top House post for Democrats roughly 12 years. Through every trial and tribulation, she has prevailed and stayed on top. She has served her House colleagues with distinction and the ability to keep them relevant in the harshest of times.
But the younger generation of House Democrats is restless. They see their hated enemy, President Donald Trump, rising in his favorable ratings. What once was perceived as a cake walk come November elections is beginning to look like an uphill battle for a majority rule. Many in the younger leadership consider the aging Pelosi an albatross around their necks.
There is little question Trump brings his own baggage to some House districts. But the strategists in the GOP relish Pelosi’s liberal San Francisco image as far from the mainstream of political thought in 2018. The party is still licking their wounds for ignoring that factor in their stunning presidential loss in 2016.
Trump Tax Crumbs
It appears the Democrats did not do themselves any political favors unanimously rejecting Trump’s tax reductions. Lower taxes brought favorable response from the electorate. A booming economy and low unemployment are hard issues to overcome for the minority party.
Pelosi’s recent comments that the tax savings were mere “crumbs” for the average American helped define her as an elitist and out-of-touch with the common taxpayer. That sort of political mistake has enabled Republicans to cut into their opposition’s early 2018 lead in generic balloting.
That has created a very public rumor mill among Democrats anxious to create a new face for their leadership. At present, the top two contenders are Maryland Rep. Steny Hoyer, the chamber’s number two Democrat and New York Rep. Joe Crowley, chairman of the House Democratic Caucus.
The quest for power is at a monotone since no politician wants to be described as the spark that killed the queen bee. But there is a definite short list of possibilities and Pelosi is in a fragile state of animation politically.
Since the Democrats lost the House in 2010, their political future has been a steady downhill fall from grace. It continued with the loss of their majority in the Senate and culminated with the shocking loss of the presidency. They have been relegated to the minority in both the executive and legislative branches of the government.
First Major Pelosi Challenge
Pelosi has weathered her first major challenge to leadership. Back in 2016, she faced a challenge for her post from Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan. She won two-thirds of the caucus vote. But an ominous 63 of the 134 House members voted against her.
It is obvious Pelosi is not interested in relinquishing her power. On more than one occasion she has become defensive and testy at those sorts of questions being sprinkled by reporters. Queen Nancy is still very relevant and it will take a party-shattering event like a poor showing in the midterms to topple her.
No one can come near Pelosi’s prolific fundraising. Last year, she reportedly raised $49.5 million for House Democrats, including $47.6 million for the DCCC. Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill told Fox News last Wednesday that “the leader is focused on winning back the House.”
The Democrats have a better than even chance to gain a total of two-dozen seats and take the House at present. Again, the White House historically loses about 30 seats in the first midterms after the presidential election. But can the Democratic Party, controlled by the far-left fringe of the party, do just that in an ever-growing conservative electorate?
The Democrats may be suffering from a lack of new and vibrant members. Their leadership presumably attracts younger voters. Colleagues mostly grumble behind closed doors about her liabilities, but money talks in politics, and 77-year-old Nancy Pelosi delivers in the clutch. Whether that will win this year’s election remains to be seen.