Democrats are coming off their biggest House victory since Watergate, having been led by Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee raised $250 million, dramatically outraising the GOP’s counterpart ($174 million), and likely half that money can be directly traced back to Pelosi. She was a tireless campaigner, and an unselfish one—she very clearly allowed Democratic candidates in tough Red districts to distance themselves from her, promising to not vote for her. Can you imagine the traitor in the White House doing anything similar?
Pelosi was also at the helm of a party strategy that laser-focused candidates on one issue: the election. Everyone was screaming about impeachment and Donald Trump and climate change and on and on and on. All good and worthwhile issues! But Pelosi was focused on winning, and she saw what the polls said: that the only issue that moved votes was health care. Let Trump flail and fling poo against the wall, she and her party would not be distracted.
And then, her party won. And it won big. And a week and a half after Election Night, the wave keeps lapping on the shore, en route to a stunning 39-41-seat wave victory despite facing a heavily gerrymandered pro-GOP map.
Sure, Trump helped. But by remaining focused and undistracted by his insanity, our candidates punched through the suburbs, reshaping the political map and setting Democrats up nicely for increased gains in 2020.
But Republicans hate Pelosi and have demonized her, in large part because of her incredible effectiveness, so a cabal of House Democrats have conspired to force her out. Mind you, they’re not running against her. That would actually be okay! Problem is, they know they don’t have the votes to elect anyone else, so instead, they’re trying to use the rules of the House to simply block her.
The #FiveWhiteGuys are Reps. Seth Moulton (MA-06), Ed Perlmutter (CO-07), Rep. Tim Ryan (OH-13), Kurt Schrader (OR-05), and Bill Foster (IL-11), apparently all begging for a 2020 primary battle. (And I’m eager to help them get it!)
If these guys had any integrity, they would engage in the democratic process, challenge Pelosi (or rally around another candidate), and let the chips fall. Instead, knowing that they can’t win a caucus vote in their favor, they’re trying to prevent her from getting a majority of the vote (218 votes) when the entire House of Representatives votes for speaker on January 3.
Depending on how many seats Democrats end up getting, Pelosi will be able to afford losing about 15 Democrats and still win the speakership. Normally, Democrats who’d rather not vote for her out of political expedience can just vote “present,” thus reducing the number of “yes” votes Pelosi needs to win.
Yet the #FiveWhiteGuys and their allies claim they won’t do so this time, thus leaving Pelosi (and also no one else), with the necessary votes. And then? Stalemate. It’d be a game of chicken—the rebels hoping Pelosi quits, and Pelosi twisting arms to get the votes she needs. Meanwhile, the press is having a field day with the “Dems in disarray” narrative.
Making the matter extra absurd, the #FiveWhiteGuys don’t even have a coherent reason for opposing Pelosi. Their arguments are beyond ridiculous. Clownish, even. For example, here is Moulton being owned by Rolling Stone, who had gotten his anti-Pelosi take before the election:
What’s most striking looking back on this pre-election conversation with Moulton, however, is that the congressman was fundamentally wrong about the election. Moulton mocked Pelosi for leaning on the playbook from 2006, when Democrats last took the House: “I mean we barely had iPhones in 2006,” he said. He believed Democrats were no more than 55 percent likely to take the House, and that the election would turn on a handful of races, leaving Democrats with a bare-bones majority — a victory reflective of moribund leadership that had left the Democrats, as he put it, “in the worst place that the party has been since 1920s.”
Oops. And instead of shutting up after being so wrong about the election, he’s doubled down on the buffoonery.
"We have 30 fewer seats since she [first] took over,' @sethmoulton says of Pelosi on MSNBC. "This really hasn't gone well."
— Ben Siegel (@benyc) November 16, 2018
Sigh. Democrats were in the minority when Democrats took over. So is Moulton stupid, incompetent, or both?
Meanwhile, the ringleader is Rep. Tim Ryan, who also thinks he’s running for president (believe it or not). He ran against Pelosi for the leadership post in 2016 and got spanked, and he’s clearly still seething. And what’s his whole take in the situation? Well, there’s this …
“There’s plenty of really competent females that we can replace her with.”
That one is a natural leader. He’s got binders full of women and everything!
Rolling Stone also got his hilariously wrong pre-election take:
He tells Rolling Stone that he wants a less coastal Democratic Party, pointing out the lack of House leaders from the middle of the country. “It’s a pretty large swath of the country to completely ignore,” he says. “How in God’s name do we expect to win the House, have a significant majority, hold it, have a party brand that’s connecting to people, and have nobody in the Midwest at all?”
Somehow, that “coastal” leadership WON THE HOUSE. WITH A SIGNIFICANT MAJORITY. Can we hold it in 2020? Probably, but okay, that remains to be seen. What is guaranteed, however, is that whether we win or lose the House in 2020 will have absolutely zero to do with whether there’s a midwesterner in the Democratic House leadership.
Now, would it be ideal to have midwestern representation in the party leadership? Of course! But weird that they’re not challenging Steny Hoyer, of decidedly not-Midwestern Maryland. If they want to agitate for Illinois Rep. Cheri Bustos to replace Steny Hoyer, I’m certainly game!
Other anti-Pelosi Democrats aren’t acquitting themselves well either in the “brains” department.
I asked Kathleen Rice – a leader of the Dem anti-Pelosi movement – if she’s concerned this fight will show their party in disarray. “It was not as successful as some hoped it would be, we didn’t pick up as many seats as we thought we were going to get,” she said of the midterms
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) November 16, 2018
Largest. Democratic. Gains. Since. Watergate. In a Republican gerrymander. But hey, why not employ the Trumpian tactic of creating strawmen with “some people say” type language?
Without a real reason to challenge Pelosi, these clowns have resorted to bromides about “new leadership” while bizarrely pretending that last week was somehow less than a resounding success. Meanwhile, they don’t have anyone seriously able to challenge Pelosi. It’s a lot of whining and crying and threatening.
We should be celebrating the incoming Congress, cheering as subpoenas get drafted. Instead, we’re dealing with this “Democrats are divided” bullshit, fueled by a tiny number of malcontents.
Pelosi will win this. She has the votes.
What we, the party grassroots, have to decide, is who is going to clean house of the #FiveWhiteGuys in 2020.
It’s one thing to run against her in the party’s democratic process. Pelosi isn’t afraid of any challenges, and has actively welcomed potential opponents. “Come on in, the water’s warm!” she told Rep. Marcia Fudge, who has been weighing a challenge. It’s another to try and undermine and sabotage Pelosi out of anger and spite.
This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.