Understanding the complicated relationship that is Rep. Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic Party.
November has not been kind to California Representative Nancy Pelosi. After the Democrats had lost double digit House seats in the midterms and everyone started to blame Pelosi for this debacle, which lead to Rep. Pelosi blaming their lose on everything but House Democrats’ poor campaign skills. Then the Democrats started to turn on her, publically questioning her leadership decisions on various issues. This went as far as having Rep. Pelosi lose a major inner-party battle yesterday by the caucus choosing New Jersey Representative Frank Pallone as the top Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee over Representative Anna Eshoo, who was Rep. Pelosi’s top choice for that position. Rep. Pelosi looks to be everyone’s favorite scapegoat at the moment. ‘The Daily Show’ even got into the act. So with all this going on, you would think Rep. Pelosi’s chances of becoming House minority leader again would be greatly affected?
Then you would be wrong.
On Tuesday House Democrats unanimously reelected Rep. Pelosi as minority leader. Even more absurd, she ran unopposed earning broad support from the entire Democratic Caucus! So people are blaming her for one of the worst election performances by the Democrats in the past five election cycles, yet they unanimously vote her again as the House minority leader? What gives?!?
Well like everything in American politics, it all comes down to money.
Rep. Pelosi is very popular with many long standing liberals in the Democratic Party. While that’s all well and good, she is also something much, MUCH more important in the world of campaigning. She is a fundraising juggernaut!
There was a time in early September where she was single handily keeping many House races financially afloat. During these 2014 midterms, Rep. Pelosi had raised just over $100 million alone for her party and more than $400 million during her 12 years as party leader. In the last election, she by herself directed $65 million to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) – aka the House Democrats’ campaign arm – which accounted more than a third(!!!!) of their two-year operations budget. This places her among the top fundraisers of the Democratic Party which include such elites as Bill and Hillary Clinton as well as Barack Obama.
While many might have problems with Rep. Pelosi within the Democratic Caucus, if someone brings in that kind of numbers in terms of fundraising, even losing the House and Presidency in 2016 might not be enough of a reason to oust her as the Democratic House Leader. Because in the world of politics, House leadership positions are for closers!
(Photo Credit: Reuters, OpenSecrets.org)