Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Pondering Pelosi's Political Prognostications

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi confirms that she will run for speaker when Democrats win the House in the 2018 general election

In an interview with the Boston Globe, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA 12th) boldly predicted that the Democrats would regain control of the lower chamber of Congress and that she would again become Speaker. 

Democrats need to gain 24 seats to achieve this goal. There are 23 Republican districts which Hillary Clinton won in the 2016 cycle.  In addition, the incumbent party typically loses seats in mid term elections during a President's first term. Some have also interpreted the number of Republican retirements (including Speaker Paul Ryan) as GOP insiders concerns about losing power in a Blue Wave.

 Ms. Pelosi was elected as the 52nd Speaker in 2007 and served until 2011 when the Republicans took over in the 112th Congress.

Although there are many positive signs to bolster Democrats ambitions to win the House, there are other factors which are difficult to currently quantify.

Last summer, Democrats sought to re-brand their messages as "A Better Deal"  which was going to couch their progressive politics in economic terms of better jobs, better wages and a better future.  What is unsaid in the sloganeering is this would be achieved by bigger government and more regulations.  To further that campaign sleight of hand, Democrats sought to recruit lots of veterans as candidates and have them run as ersatz Republicans, like in the Pennsylvania 18th special election earlier this year. 

Nancy Pelosi Chuck Schumer A Better Deal
[L] House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA 12th) [R] Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) announce Democrats 2018 election rebranding "A Better Deal"  July 24, 2017

The problem with that strategy is that it seems to be supersceded by the prominent progressive politics as embodied by Ms Pelosi and the ramparts of the Resistance.  Democrats seem ready to grab guns, considering their alignment with the post Parkland Florida "Gun Reform Now" movement.  Pelosi is the embodiment of progressive politics, so independent and crossover voters can clearly conceive of the politics they are empowering. 

Despite Minority Leader Pelosi's attempts to tamp down talk of impeachment, it is a fair assumption that in the height of campaigning on the hustings, progressive candidates will hawk impeachment as red meat for their left leaning voters.  This may well alienate voters who crossed over party lines to vote for Trump as defined by Salena Zito as "The Great Revolt" (2018).

One other problem for Pelosi is to lock up her caucus in a 116th Congress.  There was a boomlet for alternatives to Nancy Pelosi's leadership of the Democrat Caucus.  Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH 13th previously 17th) indicated that he may challenge Pelosi.  Ryan represents Youngstown, and would represent many blue collar voters who participated in the Great Revolt which swung the 2016 Presidential election to Donald Trump.   If more of "The Resistance" inspired Democrats win, even a 79 year old 16 term San Francisco Congresswoman  might not be radical enough for them in the 116th Congress.

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