Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is hoping to once again wield the gavel of the Speaker of the House, but Democrats just published a letter that has tossed some cold water on those aspirations.
"Would-be challengers are keenly aware of the huge power Ms. Pelosi wields, and fearful of institutional retribution and reputational damage if they step forward to test the status quo", the Times reported. But Pelosi's fate has grabbed national attention, with celebrities, outside Democratic luminaries, and liberal groups, including labor unions and grass-roots activists, weighing in on her behalf.
On the other, Pelosi's critics say she has become such a weight on the party, starring as the chief villain in Republican attack ads against Democrats, that she needs to step aside and make way for a new generation of leadership. With all of the chamber's Republicans expected to vote against Pelosi, she can afford to lose very few Democrats.
"When we finally get into the majority I think we have to do all we can to keep these new members here, to support them in whatever campaign promise that they made", Rice told reporters last week.
Rather, they argue that Democrats won the majority "on the backs of candidates who said that they would support new leadership" and that voters want to see change in Washington.
The former Clinton Cabinet official said Pelosi has earned the right to the speakership, at least for now.
Pelosi has faced challenges before but this one - fuelled by newcomers calling for change and frustrated incumbents who feel shut out of leadership after her many years at the helm - poses perhaps the biggest threat yet. She has enlisted powerful allies to weigh in on her behalf and worked to build an air of inevitability around her bid, including through a letter of support circulated by a veteran lawmaker, Representative Nita M. Lowey of NY, and signed by 61 Democratic women as of Friday afternoon. Their letter says Democrats won on "a message of change, " and they say they plan to deliver that.
They are heading toward an internal caucus vote when lawmakers return from the Thanksgiving recess that will test Pelosi's support. For numerous Democratic freshmen, it's a moment of truth after a number of them promised on the campaign trail to oppose Pelosi and demand new leadership. Conor Lamb (D-Pa.), Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.) and Jason Crow (D-Colo.) have all repeatedly said they won't vote for her, and still others ― Mikie Sherrill (D-N.J.), Haley Stevens (D-Mich.), Elissa Slotkin (D-Mich.) and Jared Golden (D-Colo.), whose race also hasn't been called ― have suggested they won't vote for her, though in less certain terms. That margin could shift, though, if lawmakers are absent or simply vote "present", which reduces the threshold.
"If we are going to turn a page and bring civility back to the political discussions, we need to change the people who are directing that conversation", she said. "She deserves this victory, she earned it", he said. He was not among those who signed Monday's opposition letter. "She's an effective person in that job".