News and Commentary

Knives Out For Nancy: Can Loopy Pelosi Survive?

After the fourth election loss in row since President Trump took office, a growing pack of Democrats in the House want to get rid of Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who they think is holding the party down.

“We can’t keep losing races and keep the same leadership in place. You have a baseball team that keeps losing year after year. At some point, the coach has got to go, right?” Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-NY) told the Associated Press.

The group of angry Democrats met quietly last week after the party went 0-4 in special House elections, talking about options for replacing Pelosi. But that’s about all they’ve got: Talk. “Right now, what I’m pushing for is a conversation within the caucus,” Rice said.

For her part, Pelosi says she isn’t going anywhere. “My decision about how long I stay is not up to them.”

But this is how these things always start in Washington. Pelosi, at 77, clearly knows her days are numbered. And party leaders are desperately searching for a new message — few want it to be “old, white people.” Sen. Bernie Sanders, 75, is still one of the party’s leaders (and he’s not even a Democrats!), as is Hillary Clinton, 69. There is a move on to inject some young voices into the party and begin to groom a new crop of leaders.

What’s more, Pelosi is still a driving force for the Republican Party. In the most recent special election in Georgia last Tuesday, Republican Karen Handel put out a slew of ads featuring Pelosi, not her opponent, Jon Ossoff. She made the case that if the Democrat won in the 6th District of Georgia, Pelosi would really be running the show. Handel won handily.

Rice said it’s a tried and true strategy with Pelosi at the helm. “The Republican playbook has been very successful. It’s not fair. It’s not accurate in its attacks on our leader, but it’s effective. They keep winning and we keep losing,” she said.

Pelosi didn’t like all the talk last week about her demise, taunting Rice by saying, “when it comes to personal ambition and having fun on TV, have your fun. I love the arena. I thrive on competition.”

And Republicans hope she stays right there. Trump stripped it all down in a tweet.

The GOP plans to run directly at Pelosi in 2018, The Hill reports, tying House candidates to the Democratic leader.

The GOP made clobbering the California Democrat a central piece of their messaging in Georgia’s recent special election, hammering her almost as much as Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff. With Republican Karen Handel emerging victorious on Tuesday, Republicans are making clear that they’ll stick with this strategy in the 2018 midterms.

“Nancy Pelosi will be front and center in the millions of dollars we’re going to spend over the next two years across the country,” said Congressional Leadership Fund (CLF) executive director Corry Bliss, whose group spent almost $7 million in the Georgia election cycle. …

Said Bliss: “This midterm is going to be a referendum on Nancy Pelosi and her San Francisco liberal values. That’s what the elections are going to be about. … We saw a little glimpse of that on Tuesday.”