Rep. Joe Crowley’s stunning loss on Tuesday night to a first-time candidate makes this crystal clear: Nancy Pelosi’s path back to the speaker’s chair is getting more narrow by the day.
But it may not ease the route for the leaders directly below her either.
As the party grows younger and more diverse, House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) — an older white male centrist — may be left without a chair in any leadership scramble.
And for Rep. Jim Clyburn of South Carolina, the No. 3 House Democrat, the Crowley earthquake cuts both ways. Clyburn could be in line to become the first African-American to serve as speaker of the House or he may find himself pushing another black Democrat for that post.