In the final days leading up to the election, Democrats and their supporters readied themselves for a great blue wave to wash away Trump and the GOP’s hold over the Senate. As of Nov. 5 – two days after Election Day – they’re still waiting. Whoever wins the White House and Congress, both parties will be left with a bit of egg on their faces for hyping up the coming landslide that just never slid – and the Democrats need someone to blame.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) went into election season looking strong. Her focus on fighting Trump has met with approval from just about every facet of the Democratic Party. She won re-election in her district and announced that she planned to run for speaker again as well. And she was considered a shoo-in. But now some are saying she hasn’t been tough enough on Trump – and they’re claiming that’s why the blue wave washed out.
So far, Democrats have 204 House seats to the GOP’s 190. They’re expected to retain the majority, though that’s certainly not guaranteed – but it cost them. So far, Republicans have poached a handful of Democratic Party seats, and the Dems still haven’t turned any of their own. Democrats have a net gain of one Senate seat so far, but the count is 48-48, with Republicans expected to keep their majority, even if only by a hair. As for the presidential election, Trump is currently leading in Alaska, Georgia, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania. If he takes those four and no other narrow margin state currently called for either man changes sides as the last votes are counted, then it all comes down to Nevada. Whoever wins the Silver State wins the White House. Right now, Biden’s leading by less than 8,000 votes with about a quarter of the state still not reporting.
With the blue wave turning out to be more of a blue drizzle – and one that may dry up entirely as the final ballots are tallied – confounded Democrats and pollsters are looking for what they missed. According to The Hill, two unidentified but supposedly moderate Democrats are looking for a challenger to Pelosi’s position as speaker. “Pelosi needed to hammer Trump, but instead, she chose to let him slide,” one said Nov. 4. “Last night should have been a bloodbath for Republicans.”
“It’s time for Democrats to elevate a new generation of leadership in both the House and the Senate,” the other told The Hill. These two feel the failure to wipe out the GOP came from Americans’ fear of socialism. So now Pelosi has been too easy on Trump and too progressive at the same time.
Passing the Blame – or Stealing the Fame?
This isn’t the first time some youngster in the party has suggested ousting Pelosi from leadership – far from it. Remember Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-CA)? In 2017, she told C-SPAN it was time for Pelosi, Steny Hoyer (D-MD), and James Clyburn (D-SC) to step down. So what did these party leaders do to warrant such a challenge? Well, nothing, really. “Our leadership does a tremendous job,” Sanchez said, “but I do think it’s time to pass the torch to a new generation of leaders, and I want to be a part of that transition. I want to see that happen.”
In other words, she was just thirsty for that spotlight.
Moderate Democrats may be right in figuring the party’s recent open embrace of Marxist ideas has scared off voters. But do these as-of-yet unnamed Democrats really think Nancy Pelosi is to blame for the nationwide electoral fizzle, or do they simply want their turn in the spotlight? Either way, remaining nameless may have been a wise decision. They belong to a party known to eat its own with little warning.
If the Democrats retain their majority in the House, it’s unlikely she’ll lose her job as speaker. The man these dissidents approached to overthrow her, Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), wanted nothing to do with it. Without any suitable replacement, the plan to let someone else step up and take the spotlight seems doomed.
“As we wait for every vote to be counted in the most pivotal election in our lifetime, keeping the House Democratic Caucus unified on behalf of the American people has never been more important,” said a spokesperson for the representative with no heart for rebellion. “Representative Jeffries is running to serve a second term as Chairman of the vibrant House Democratic Caucus in the 117th Congress.”
Pelosi may hold the ire of some of her fellows on the left for a little while, but she isn’t going anywhere any time soon. Even if the Republicans take the majority, she’ll still be there biding her time. Pelosi has cast off all challengers since her first term back in 1987 – and she’ll probably keep doing so until the day she dies.
Read more from James Fite.