‘No one gives you power. You have to take it from them…’
(Ben Sellers, Liberty Headlines) In a fawning profile of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., The New York Times Magazine on Monday quoted the former (and likely future) speaker of the House as saying, “No one gives you power. You have to take it from them.”
Whether this is inspiring or terrifying depends on the vantage point. Pelosi—who last year passed her three-decade mark as a member of Congress—has certainly made her share of alarming gaffes, such as the menacing pre-election remark that those opposing Democrats could expect “collateral damage.”
But ironically, one of the biggest fights the San Francisco congresswoman now faces comes from defending against the challengers within her own ranks who seek to take her seat of power from her.
As the Left works through an identity crisis pitting well-funded establishment politicians against grassroots, anti-capitalist radicals, the speakership will be a test of just how much pull Pelosi has within the Democratic Party.
The answer seems to be quite a lot.
Despite many having campaigned on promises to help oust the polarizing Pelosi from her leadership post, few in the House Democratic caucus have put forth serious challenges to her.
According to Roll Call, at least three of those who came out decisively against her before the Nov. 6 election are now getting cold feet after meeting with Pelosi. The article names New Jersey Reps.-elect Mike Sherrill and Andy Kim, as well as Michigan’s Haley Stevens, all of whom ran on platforms of change and throwing out the old.
One of the potential anti-Pelosi newcomers @AndyKimNJ leaves himself some wiggle room:
“Right now I’m not making any commitments … I certainly wanted a new generation of leadership and that’s certainly still something I want”
— Jonathan Tamari (@JonathanTamari) November 15, 2018
Ohio Rep. Marcia Fudge, who had indicated an intention to challenge Pelosi, seemed also to hedge on that possibility after meeting with her.
Fudge told reporters that she could be persuaded to drop her bid if the incentives were right. “There is a point, yes, but it’s going to take some,” she said.
Fudge’s name was absent from a letter signed by 16 next-gen Dems calling for Pelosi’s ouster, despite her having signed a draft copy, reported the Washington Examiner. However, the article noted that Fudge’s omission gave no clear indication whether she was backing down from a challenge or whether it meant, conversely, that a speaker bid was imminent.
Conservative political action committee America Rising noted the names of several other upstart anti-Pelosi campaigners missing from the recent Gang of 16: Elissa Slotkin (Mich.), Jared Golden (Maine), Abigail Spanberger (Va.) and Jason Crow (Colo.).
“The divide in the party over Pelosi shows that Democrats are in in complete disarray heading into the new Congressional term,” the PAC wrote in a statement.
Interestingly, Pelosi’s bid has gained her some unlikely allies.
I can get Nancy Pelosi as many votes as she wants in order for her to be Speaker of the House. She deserves this victory, she has earned it – but there are those in her party who are trying to take it away. She will win! @TomReedCongress
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 17, 2018
Some Republicans in the House have also said they would be willing to support her if she implements bipartisan rules changes that would do more to empower individual members over their respective caucuses.