Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) officially informed her Democratic colleagues on Thursday that she plans to run for Speaker of the House again for the 117th Congress, which will take over several weeks before inauguration day.
“Our vision for the next two years must be to build on the success of the Democratic House Majority in the 116th Congress, and to harness the extraordinary vision, values and vibrancy of our Caucus to secure the progress that the American people deserve,” Pelosi wrote in a one-page letter to colleagues on Thursday, reports Politico.
“I am writing to request your support to be re-elected as Speaker. I do so with the utmost respect for the diverse viewpoints of our Democratic Caucus, the gravity of this role and the urgency of the challenges ahead. I also do so with great joy and appreciation to so many of you who have already offered your support and engagement.”
Pelosi also made several seemingly premature claims in the letter about the future of the federal government, including a comment in which she thanked recipients for “strengthening” the Democratic majority in the House amidst the 2020 election.
However, Democrats have thus far underperformed in the House, a realization that has caused infighting within the Democratic caucus about allowing the left-wing flank of the party to dominate the narrative with radical messaging.
One of the most prominent examples of the infighting came after The Washington Post leaked audio of a Democratic caucus phone call, during which Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger (D-VA) blasted the left wing of the party for its sloganeering and how it allegedly made her re-election campaign difficult. She also declared that none of them should be using the terms “defund the police” and “socialism.”
“And if we are classifying Tuesday as a success from a congressional standpoint, we will get f****** torn apart in 2022,” said Spanberger.
While some members of Congress reportedly agreed with the sentiments about the party’s radical wing, Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) and Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) have made it publicly known that they disagree.
“It’s unrealistic and unprofessional to be okay with people dying because air pollution is causing cancer in their communities. It’s unrealistic and unprofessional to look away while Black folks get gunned down in the streets by police,” tweeted Tlaib in response to a quote from Congressman Conor Lamb (D-PA) urging “professionalism.”
It’s unrealistic and unprofessional to be okay with people dying because air pollution is causing cancer in their communities. It’s unrealistic and unprofessional to look away while Black folks get gunned down in the streets by police. https://t.co/Qd9FV12P4u
— Rashida Tlaib (@RashidaTlaib) November 6, 2020
“When it comes to ‘Defund’ & ‘Socialism’ attacks, people need to realize these are racial resentment attacks. You’re not gonna make that go away. You can make it less effective,” declared Ocasio-Cortez in a lengthy Twitter thread Friday morning.
How do you make it less effective? Invest in year-round deep canvassing. Data shows that this kind of work helps blunt the force of racial resentment at the polls.
If you’re always running away from convos about race, then the only ppl owning it are GOP. You’ll lose.
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) November 6, 2020
According to The Hill, two Democratic senators have started reaching out to other members of congress in an effort to position House Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) as the next speaker.
“He bridges moderates and progressives better than anyone,” one of the Democrats told The Hill. “And most importantly, he’s not Nancy Pelosi.”
Jeffries has dismissed the idea of challenging Pelosi for the speakership, raising the possibility that some Democrats, much like in 2018, may be in the position of wanting someone other than Pelosi without anyone to actually challenge her for the position.
During a press conference on Friday afternoon, Pelosi seemed to acknowledge Democrats performed below expectations in the House but pointed to other victories and declared that soon Biden would become “president-elect.”
“We did not win every battle in the House, but we did win the war,” said Pelosi.
She also said Biden would have a “strong mandate to lead and he’ll have a strong Democratic House with him,” echoing remarks from her letter to colleagues, which referred to Biden and Harris as “president-elect” and “vice president-elect.”
No major media outlets or election trackers were calling the race for Biden at the time the letter was sent out, but in the time since, including prior to Pelosi’s press conference, DecisionDeskHQ has called the race for Biden. No other major organizations have called the race as of publication.
Pelosi also claimed in the letter that the “American people elected Democrats up and down the ballot with a resounding and remarkable mandate” — even though Democrats have thus far picked up no legislative majorities, and actually lost a majority in the New Hampshire House of Representatives, according to The Washington Post.