House Democrats are about to cast their vote in a secret ballot. Who’s destiny is on the line? Nancy Pelosi’s and Tim Ryan’s. It would be great to see Pelosi out of a job, but if her party is trying to get rid of her… maybe we want her to win?
BY MIKE LILLIS
House Democrats return to Washington on Tuesday grappling over the best course for the party’s future.
Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), facing a challenge from Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), is seen as the heavy favorite in elections on Wednesday to keep her top leadership spot, where she’s been perched for the past 14 years.
Democrats will decide on their new leader in a secret ballot vote that highlights the caucus’s restlessness and resurrects internal tensions that have simmered since Democrats lost control of the lower chamber in 2010.
While House Democrats gained at least six seats this cycle — several contests remain too close to call — that figure was a far cry from the 25 pickups Pelosi had predicted. Seeking more accountability for the dismal results, dozens of restive lawmakers successfully delayed the party’s leadership elections to this week to allow more time for reckoning. But in the eyes of Ryan and his supporters, nothing short of a change at the top will get the party back on a winning track.
“The level of frustration in our caucus is as great as I have seen it,” Ryan said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
It’s a battle few envisioned just a few weeks ago as Democrats headed into the elections with high hopes that Donald Trump’s incendiary presidential campaign would be a curse on vulnerable Republicans, leading to big gains for Democrats in the House.
Instead, Trump’s message drew droves of white, working-class voters to the polls, bolstering down-ballot Republicans while leaving Pelosi and the Democrats to ponder what went wrong and plot a path out of the minority wilderness.
Ryan’s challenge hinges largely on the argument that Pelosi, a San Francisco liberal widely despised in conservative circles, simply projects the wrong image for a party hoping to broaden its appeal to the Rust Belt voters who flocked to Trump.