Back in June of 2017, after a string of Democrat losses in special elections, some of which they were tipped to win, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi faced an incipient challenge to her party leadership. The California liberal was decidedly unfazed.
“I am proud of the unity that we have had and, frankly, my leadership in terms of keeping everybody together,” Pelosi said at a news conference at the time.
“I think I’m worth the trouble.”
Unfortunately for Pelosi, not all of her Democrat colleagues seem to be agreeing with her at the moment.
According to a report from the San Francisco Chronicle, many Democrats in her home state of California are ditching Pelosi because they believe association with the former speaker, who hopes to retake the position this fall, will hurt their chances.
If the Democrats are to take back the House in November — which is increasingly looking like their one chance to gain some measure of control in Congress — they need to win big in the state of California.
Seven of the 23 districts with Republican congressmen that Hillary Clinton managed to carry in 2016 are in the Golden State, and given California’s lurch to the left, combined with the fact that the House minority leader is from the state, one might think that Pelosi’s support would be a massive asset.
Not so much, it seems.
Take Gil Cisneros, a Democrat running for an Orange County seat being vacated by GOP veteran Rep. Ed Royce. Cisneros would prefer that Pelosi stay far away, either from his candidacy or the speakership.
“While I respect Leader Pelosi’s years of advocacy on behalf of California and the Democratic Party, it’s time for new leadership,” Cisneros said, according to the Chronicle.
Democrat Andrew Janz, meanwhile, is facing one of the harder races in California, trying to unseat House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes. He also doesn’t support Pelosi.
“I think it’s time for a new generation of leaders to go to Washington, and this is with respect to both Democrats and Republicans,” Janz said in March interview with NBC.
“I think the country, and my district in particular, is hungry for change.”
That was proven outside of California when Democrat Conor Lamb — a first-time congressional candidate in Pennsylvania — managed to win a special election in March mostly by distancing himself from Pelosi and her agenda, going as far as to say he wouldn’t vote for her for speaker, according to The Atlantic.
The Lamb win has been one of only two victories in special elections that Democrats have notched since Donald Trump became president, and the only one that wasn’t facilitated by scandal on the Republican side.
“It’s a way of addressing a potential vulnerability,” Jack Pitney, a professor of politics at Claremont McKenna College said of Lamb’s strategy. “In a tight race, you don’t want to lose even a small group of voters” that aren’t comfortable with Pelosi.
And Democrats are becoming increasingly uncomfortable with her. Jon Ossoff, the Georgia Democrat who was considered a shoo-in to win a special election seat last year until he wasn’t, had to contend with ads that said he would be a “rubber-stamp for Nancy Pelosi’s liberal agenda.”
A current ad from the National Republican Congressional Committee declares that, “With Pelosi as speaker, everything we’ve fought for will come undone.”
“Democrats will raise your taxes if they take back control of Congress — that’s what House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi now says,” the digital ad reminds voters.
Part of the reason Pelosi likely believes she’s “worth the trouble” is because of the fact that she’s an ace fundraiser. However, that only goes so far when you’re not in touch with what the voters want.
In 2018, the fact that the Democrats are promising change for average Americans when they’re led by a 78-year-old entrenched bureaucrat who also happens to be one of the richest members of Congress isn’t a good look — and it doesn’t help that her Bay Area values simply don’t resonate outside of small, liberal pockets of America.
It’s no surprise that doesn’t play in Kansas. But when it doesn’t even play in California, you know there are serious problems.
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