Because the Democratic Establishment, that’s why…
As expected, Nancy Pelosi got enough votes to hold her position as Minority Leader in the House. Even with a populist Democrat like Rep. Tim Ryan challenging her for House Leadership, he wasn’t able to persuade enough Democrats to vote against Rep. Pelosi when it was all said and done. Though Rep. Pelosi’s win was an expected outcome, there’s still some interesting takeaways from today’s vote.
In Life, Change is Hard. In Politics, It’s Almost Impossible!
Nancy Pelosi is a 15-term Congress woman and has been the leader of the Democratic Caucus since 2003. Because of those reasons, it was almost impossible to imagine Rep. Pelosi not getting enough support for her to retain Democratic leadership in the House.
For better or worse, Rep. Pelosi has her roots dug deep in the Democratic Party. For her to lose the position of Minority Leader, you would have to make a really compelling case for why change would be necessary. For many Democrats, Rep. Pelosi may not be their ideal pick as their caucus’ leader, but she has proven that she can do the job competently. For them to change course, you need a better reason or an alternative vision than just “change is needed.”
The Democrats Need to Change, But into What?
With all that said, a change in direction is most definitely needed by the Democrats at a Congressional level. Since the 2010 Midterms, the Democrats have consistently lost both House and Senate seats, to the point they now find themselves being the minorities in both chambers of Congress!
While everyone can agree that change in the Democratic Party’s direction is needed, the problem stems from in what that change of direction should be. Democrats like Tim Ryan feel the party should go back to pushing more populist policies that focus more on economically depressed areas like in The Rust Belt, where Donald Trump’s economic message won him the presidency. Yet Progressives in the Democratic Party believe more progressive legislation dealing with social issues and economic inequality is needed to push the party forward. There is a fundamental party divide that has to be sorted out by the party before change can even occur. So with that in mind…
Pelosi’s Days as Leader May Be Numbered
That's highest margin of rejection Pelosi ever faced. She got 68% of vote – clearing 2/3 – but Ryan was just a vessel of discontent.
— Paul Kane (@pkcapitol) November 30, 2016
Based on today’s vote, Rep. Pelosi’s spot as House Minority Leader felt more like a placeholder vote than one of approval. It would have been one thing for Rep. Pelosi to get a vote of no confidence from younger House Democrats who are seeking change, but it’s an entirely another that a large portion of the dissent came former congressional allies that have started to doubt her leadership!
As the Washington Post reported, groups like the Congressional Black Caucus – that had been strong proponents of Rep. Pelosi in the past – have started to question her leadership of the House. That is not good news for Rep. Pelosi. The more you heard from disgruntled Democrats, the clearer it became that the caucus as a whole wanted to move in a different direction. This time Rep. Ryan was unable to give a good enough reason of why he should lead the caucus over Rep. Pelosi, but it was obvious that he became a vessel for disgruntled Democrats that felt the party needed a change in leadership.
Even though a shift in leadership didn’t happen today, what the caucus vote did prove was that change in the Democratic Party is no longer a question of “if”, but of “when.”
(Photo Credits: Nancy Pelosi’s Instagram, Tim Ryan’s Instagram)