Guest post by Scott Sloofman
The Democratic civil war is on the verge of truly fracturing the party. In one corner, you have Elizabeth Warren taking the truly unimaginable position that Obamacare did not go far enough. For the millions of Americans who voted against Hillary Clinton because of Obamacare’s harm to them, Warren’s words that Obamacare “was not bold or transformative enough” will rightfully show them how out of touch Democrats are.
In the other corner, you have Democrats who feel that liberals like Warren and Nancy Pelos i have led the Democratic Party astray. Pelosi’s long tenure as House Democratic Leader is increasingly coming under fire, as more Democrats settle on the fact that her leadership is the reason why Democrats continue to underperform in House elections.
Nancy Pelosi has been the leader of the Democratic Caucus since 2003 and the natives are growing restless. When you combine Pelosi’s longevity with the fact that House Democrats fell way short of their 2016 expectations, that makes for a combustible combination. It certainly doesn’t help that Pelosi was promising her caucus that they’d win back the majority this year.
It was clear that trouble was on the horizon for Pelosi the moment, last week, when the Democratic Women’s Caucus started circulating a letter pledging their support for Pelosi, even before a challenger emerged:
“The letter comes as Pelosi’s allies are furiously working to defend her job as minority leader in the wake of smaller-than-expected gains for House Democrats in Tuesday’s elections that saw the victory of Donald Trump and a continuation of the Senate GOP majority. Pelosi’s allies have heard complaints about her leadership after six years in the minority and are moving aggressively to get ahead of them, according to several senior Democratic aides.”
In the wake of that show of weakness, Congressman Tim Ryan (D-OH) is now weighing a challenge to Pelosi. There is also a movement afoot by over 30 House Democrats to move back the leadership elections–not a move that would benefit Pelosi’s fragile position. Caucus leaders like Congressional Black Caucus Chairman G.K. Butterfield (D-NC) have joined the call to push back the Democratic leadership elections, giving the movement more weight.
The historic defection of white working-class voters from the Democratic Party in 2016 has also cast an unforgiving spotlight on the ways Democratic Congressional leadership has hindered their party with those voters. Already some members of the DNC are calling on Pelosi to step down for the good of the party:
“’We’ve started to lose touch with white voters. They’re still the majority out there, and we can’t claim to be a big-tent party if we lose touch with working class voters, whether they’re black, white, blue, or red,’ said DNC member Boyd Brown of South Carolina. ‘When you have Nancy Pelosi, Hillary Clinton, Chuck Schumer making the sale for you, that dog don’t hunt. It’s time to reshuffle the deck and get some younger folks in there with some more diverse backgrounds. It’s time for a leadership shakeup.’”
The Democratic Civil War is less than a week old, and it’s already getting ugly. While Pelosi might hold on to her spot atop the House Democratic Caucus, the movement to replace her has already shown how fractured House Democrats really are.