Win or lose in November, Nancy Pelosi’s future in Democratic leadership is in jeopardy.
“Top Democrats” who spoke to Axios’ Mike Allen Thursday say that Democratic House candidate Conor Lamb’s victory in the special election in Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District has created “a new template for moderates” running for Congress. Lamb campaigned as a pro-gun, personally pro-life moderate (but wouldn’t vote for 20-week abortion ban), who vowed he wouldn’t support Pelosi for leadership. His victory in a congressional district President Donald Trump won by 20 points is signaling to other Democrats that running against Pelosi can be a winning strategy.
“If we’re going to take the majority, it’s going to be because we win districts like that,” said Rep. Filemon Vela, D-Texas, speaking to Politico about Lamb’s win in a Republican district. “Running against Nancy Pelosi is going to help you a lot more than running with her.”
This will be the modus operandi for Democrats running in swing districts and in Republican districts, according to one campaign manager for a Democratic candidate running in such a district. Speaking anonymously, he told Politico there’s a “100 percent chance that we’ll see more rejection of Pelosi from [Democratic] candidates going forward.”
This is very, very smart. In past congressional elections, Republicans have been able to make a boogeyman out of Pelosi, whose elitist left-coast progressivism is unpalatable to most of the country. This was the strategy Rep. Karen Handel, R-Ga., employed to defeat the over-hyped Democrat Jon Ossoff in a special election last June. Handel denounced Ossoff as a Pelosi puppet and went on to beat him. The radical progressivism of California does not fly in America’s heartland.
So what are Democrats doing? Win or lose, they’re in active discussions to ditch Pelosi as leader and replace her with a fresh face. One Pelosi ally who spoke to Axios speculated that with a wave of Democrats pledging to vote against her, she could very well lose a floor vote for speaker of the House.
Now contrast this with the attitude of House Republicans. Last week, a report emerged that House Republicans were planning on sticking with the same leadership team in the event that they lose their majority in the 2018 midterm elections. House majority leader Kevin McCarthy is waiting to continue on in leadership if the GOP loses, and most of the conference is ready to support him should rumors that Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., will retire from Congress turn out to be true.
You have to admire the Democrats. They want to win, and they will do anything — even go against their leadership — to do it. Republicans, on the other hand, are perfectly willing to keep the same leadership team that is leading them toward the minority in November.
Chris Pandolfo is a staff writer and type-shouter for Conservative Review. He holds a B.A. in politics and economics from Hillsdale College. His interests are conservative political philosophy, the American founding, and progressive rock. Follow him on Twitter for doom-saying and great album recommendations @ChrisCPandolfo.
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