Speaker Nancy Pelosi is reportedly considering reneging on her vow to step aside from House Democratic leadership after the midterm elections. The Democratic Party is in such bad shape that it will have no choice but to accept her.
Pelosi was never going to walk away from politics easily. Like President Joe Biden, Pelosi has spent more than half of her life in politics. She’s been a member of the House of Representatives since 1987 and a member of House Democratic leadership since 2002. She’s a career politician and an out-of-touch elitist who is revered by legacy media and Democrats (but I repeat myself). Of course, she doesn’t want to give up power, even at 81 years old.
But that out-of-touch elitist who was born before the United States entered World War II is the best House Democrats have to offer. The next two members of Democratic leadership are 82-year-old Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and 81-year-old Majority Whip James Clyburn. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, the chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, is typically floated as the most likely replacement, but he’s a woefully underwhelming figure who parrots the dumbest racial narratives you will find on liberal Twitter.
But “woefully underwhelming” has been the order of the day in Pelosi’s second stint as speaker. There has been no grand legislative achievement, as there was with the Affordable Care Act in 2010. Instead, there have been a few COVID-19 spending bills, an impeachment trial that was so ill-thought-out that Democrats refused to mention it on the campaign trail, and an embarrassing election cycle in 2020 in which House Democrats lost seats after dramatically overestimating how popular they were.
House Democrats haven’t had a coherent message since they swept into power in the 2018 midterm elections. As inflation worsens, supply chains persist, and COVID-19 restrictions have begun to return, Pelosi’s Democrats are staring down a wipeout that could make 2010 look modest by comparison.
Pelosi can go back on her word and hang on to power because House Democrats simply don’t have any plans. Pelosi thought in 2009 that Republicans wouldn’t be back in power for a generation; she was sent back to the minority in the next election cycle. Pelosi and her geriatric House leadership team haven’t been able (or willing) to develop the next generation of party leaders.
With semi-centrist Democratic senators holding up what little there is of the Biden agenda, Pelosi’s four years at the gavel will have been an embarrassing failure. And yet, she’s confident she can still lead whatever is left of the Democratic caucus after the 2022 midterm elections, in part because House Democrats have no confidence in anyone else. Maybe the result of the midterm elections will change their calculation, but they seem to be content with letting Pelosi take down their ship rather than scramble to keep it afloat.