A Challenger for Pelosi?

Democrats who oppose Nancy Pelosi as the next Speaker of the House are looking at their options.

A Challenger for Pelosi?

by /Pol/ Pot


While the hope was that a Democratic defeat in the midterm elections would fracture their always-tenuous Coalition of the Ascendant™, their House victory and the scramble for spoils may spark power struggles that can be used constructively. Nancy Pelosi made her ambitions to assume the position of Speaker of the House clear enough, but 17 Democrats have already signed a letter opposing Pelosi’s bid. One of those 17, Marcia Fudge (D-OH), is considering her own bid against Pelosi.

Though Fudge hasn’t officially declared her intention to oppose Pelosi, the Oppression Olympics have already begun in the echo cauldrons of the Left. We have Fudge telling the Huffington Post that she regards Pelosi as “an elitist”  who hasn’t done much for African-Americans. The animosity may be due more than just to Pelosi’s wealth and status; the same article reports Fudge ruminating on the current situation in Georgia with Stacey Abrams, noting that Abrams “lost white women by 76 percent.” This animosity for White women from non-white parts of the Coalition is nothing new and this isn’t the first time Pelosi has felt heat from that quarter.

Yet Pelosi is not without her supporters. Writing for Salon, Amanda Marcotte seems to be implying that Fudge is being used as a cats-paw for sexist Democratic centrists and that Fudge herself is “openly hostile to LGBTQ rights.” If only Fudge were so based; this writer happens to have the misfortune of living in her district and can affirm that Fudge’s trajectory on the LGBTQPDFDERW issue matches that of other, older mainstream Democrats pretty closely, meaning that whatever private and not-so-private misgivings she had about the agenda, she supports it now.

Marcotte spends more time rehashing squawking points about racist Bernie Sanders supporters and enumerating the virtues of Pelosi than talking about Fudge. Marcotte takes the time to explain that Pelosi’s arrogance is a refreshing tonic for deconstructing tropes of feminine docility.

The ideal thing would be for the Congressional Black Caucus to rally around Fudge. Unfortunately for us that doesn’t seem to be happening. It’s been noted that both Jim Clyburn (D –SC) and Val Demins (D-FL) have committed to supporting Pelosi, and other CBC members, including Bobby Rush (D-IL), Donald McEachin (D-VA) and Karen Bass (D-CA) have endorsed Pelosi. Even John “The Eternal Infant” Lewis (D-GA) has agreed to support Pelosi. In fact, the momentum is moving towards Pelosi, or at least away from Fudge, decisively.

So, why aren’t we getting a Democratic congressional race war? Part of the reason is that the Democrats aren’t, Fudge’s rhetoric to the contrary notwithstanding, shutting blacks out. Jim Clyburn (D-SC) is likely to resume his role as House Majority Whip. Maxine “Mad Max” Waters (D –CA) is likely to take over as Chair of the House Financial Services Committee. Pelosi, or her orderlies, have done a good job of wrangling much of the Congressional Black Caucus. Many black House members see an opportunity to take power, and are willing to back Pelosi rather than risk a delay or disruption in their plans come January. But, that said, Pelosi doesn’t have much wriggle room. Assuming the GOP doesn’t take Trump’s admonishment to heart, Pelosi will need 218 Democratic votes. They will hold somewhere between 228-236 seats when the vote for Speaker is held January 3.

If the Democrats can’t pick a Speaker, should the GOP follow Trump’s flippant advice and provide Pelosi the votes? No. If anything, confusion and uncertainty in the Democratic House should be encouraged if possible. Pelosi won’t demonstrate any sort of meaningful gratitude, certainly not regarding any policies we care about, if the GOP were to be so helpful to her. If the Democrats do get themselves into a mess, the GOP should do nothing to help them. Instead, such opportunities should be used to highlight the inability and lack of fitness of Democrats to govern.

The important thing in this isn’t which Democrat gets the speakership. Fudge would be just as hostile to the interests of Americans as Pelosi. This palace intrigue will likely end with a Pelosi victory, but it does show the fragility of the connections of the Democrat’s peculiar coalition. Depending on the how the math works out, it could place media darlings like Ilhan Omar (D- MN) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) in a position to affirm or delay Pelosi’s rise.

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