This is what pressure looks like.
It might have been easy to miss after President Donald Trump’s Twitter posts attacking the four most radical Democrats Congress took over the weekend’s news cycle, but Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s troubles go further than with her own caucus and the man in the White House.
And the resolution House Democrats passed on Tuesday condemning Trump’s comments, under Pelosi’s leadership, might not be enough to appease her most vicious critics on the left.
A national gathering of progressives over the weekend in Philadelphia showed some of the country’s most liberal elements want Pelosi out of Congress completely.
According to the liberal Huff Post, the focus of this year’s annual Netroots Nation convention — a gathering of thousands of leftists — was expected to be on the 2020 election campaign and, of course, ousting President Donald Trump.
Instead, it was dominated by frustration with Pelosi, and what the radical left perceives as her to push the liberal agenda.
“Progressive discontent toward the California Democrat has been simmering for months, with the feeling that the speaker has been putting the interests of the more conservative members of the caucus over the priorities of the left,” Huffington Post reported.
“She has pushed off pursuing impeachment of President Donald Trump and been slow to embrace ideas like the Green New Deal and ‘Medicare for All.’”
As one woman who attended Netroots Nation told The Washington Times about Pelosi: “She’s going to get left in the dust. Is AOC a little radical? Yes, but it’s the urgency that we need.”
And then there was the now-famous interview Pelosi gave to The New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, where the speaker appeared to slight “the squad” – Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan.
They were the only House members to vote against the bill to free up $4.6 billion in funds to deal with the humanitarian crisis on the southern border being caused by illegal immigration.
“All these people have their public whatever and their Twitter world,” Pelosi said in the interview published July 6.
“But they didn’t have any following. They’re four people and that’s how many votes they got.”
If that didn’t infuriate liberals enough, there was Pelosi’s widely reported chiding of the discontents – in a supposedly private meeting on July 11.
“You got a complaint? You come and talk to me about it. But do not tweet about our members and expect us to think that that is just OK,” Pelosi said.
For the leftists gathered in the City of Brotherly Love over the weekend, those were fighting words.
“She doesn’t act this way when Blue Dogs say stupid s**t about other Democrats and about the party and constantly criticize the party,” Markos Moulitsas, founder of the liberal website Daily Kos, told the Huff Post.
“For some reason, she’s singling out these four for a special brand of conflict. It doesn’t make any sense.”
That kind of blowback against Pelosi was helping stir up interest in Shahid Buttar, a lawyer planning to challenge Pelosi in next year’s primary.
And Buttar welcomed the attention.
We sadly know where @SpeakerPelosi stands. And the answer is “Not with America.”
— Shahid For Change ? (@ShahidForChange) July 15, 2019
If it’s hard to imagine how far gone a candidate would have to be to challenge Pelosi in a primary in San Francisco, consider that Buttar is claiming endorsements by left-wing luminaries such as law professor Cornel West, Palestinian-American activist Linda Sarsour and Black Lives Matter leader Shaun King, who is now a writer-in-residence at Harvard Law.
It might be worth noting that of those three, only Sarsour actually appears on Buttar’s campaign website as an endorsement.
There’s no way of knowing for sure if the message coming out of the weekend’s progressive gathering in Philadelphia had a direct effect on Pelosi’s actions this week on the House floor.
But it is clear that something turned the speaker from her fight with Ocasio-Cortez and her three squadmates into their fiercest defender.
And it’s a good bet that that something was in part the pressure from the left – and potential support for a primary challenger next year.
That’s what pressure looks like, and it looks like Nancy Pelosi is feeling it.
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