Is Nancy Pelosi in Trouble?

Grumbles about Democratic leadership grow louder, but Pelosi herself is defiant
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 22, 2017 7:47 AM CDT
Updated Jun 22, 2017 12:12 PM CDT
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

(Newser) – As the Democrats assess their 0-4 record in congressional special elections of late, one person who seems to be taking the lion's share of the blame is Nancy Pelosi. In Georgia, for instance, backers of winning GOP candidate Karen Handel unleashed a torrent of ads linking Democrat Jon Ossoff to the House minority leader, who is, as the Hill puts it, "radioactive" among conservative voters. Now the New York Times rounds up grumbling among House Democrats who think it's time for a change in leadership. One quote that's resounding: "Our brand is worse than Trump," says Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio, who tried unsuccessfully to unseat Pelosi as party leader last fall. Related coverage:

  • Not yet: Politico reports that no coup is imminent, but its story rounds up similar sentiment, including this quote from Rep. Kathleen Rice of New York: “There comes a time when every leader has to say, 'For the good of the order and for the betterment of the party, it’s time for me to step aside.' And I wish that that would happen right now."
  • Private grumblings: At NBC News, Alex Seitz-Wald writes that "for every Democratic official or operative publicly calling for new leadership, there are others who privately express the same sentiment." He also notes that a Democratic candidate in South Carolina has publicly stated he won't back Pelosi as speaker if he's elected.
  • Defiant: Asked about all this Thursday, Pelosi made clear she's not going anywhere. “I respect any opinion that my members have, but my decision about how long I stay is not up to them,” she said, per Politico. “My caucus is overwhelmingly supportive of me.” She also described herself as a "strategic, politically astute leader."
  • Perspective: Yes, the Democrats went 0-4, but they lost in four red districts, notes Nate Cohn of the New York Times. The losses sting for them, but they were all "very strong showings," better than "even the most optimistic Democrat might have guessed a few months ago."
  • Worth it? Pelosi is a formidable fundraiser—in fact, she's the best nonpresidential politician on that front in history—but "it's just extremely difficult for Ds to argue benefits of Nancy Pelosi's fundraising skills still outweigh cost of her presence in GOP ads," tweets Dave Wasserman of the Cook Political Report.
  • Two-fold trouble: The San Jose Mercury News assesses and notes that Pelosi could get hit from two directions: She faces "opposition from both moderate Democrats, who see her as a drain on centrist support, and 'Berniecrats,' who resent her as a member of the party establishment."
  • Message? Pelosi still has plenty of support in the House, reports the AP. Rep. John Larson of Connecticut says the problem isn't so much Pelosi as the lack of a coherent message from the party that can win over voters in GOP districts. "It's not enough to dislike Trump."
(Read more Nancy Pelosi stories.)

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