Could Chuck Schumer's position as Senate Minority Leader be in trouble?

Could Chuck Schumer's position as Senate Minority Leader be in trouble?

We learned earlier today that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will be returning for another tour of holding the gavel now that she is running unopposed by anyone else in her caucus. (Well, unless the Democrats somehow lose so many seats that they manage to turn over control of the House, anyway.) How this is happening when her party actually managed to lose seats in the House in the middle of what had been advertised as a “blue wave” remains a mystery. But the situation over in the Senate is looking somewhat different. Democrats also had high hopes of giving Cocaine Mitch the boot and taking a majority there, as well. It’s still theoretically possible if they sweep the Georgia runoff races, but even then they would be in a 50-50 split with Republicans. With that as context, it’s probably not much of a surprise to learn that Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is reportedly getting an earful from his fellow Democrats about how it all went so wrong. (The Hill)

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) is in listening mode as colleagues are venting their disappointment over falling short once again of winning back the Senate majority.

Schumer has presided over two conference calls in which his fellow Democratic senators analyzed the disappointing results of races in Iowa, Maine, Montana and North Carolina, where they thought they had a chance to knock off GOP incumbents.

So many Democratic senators wanted to speak out during last week’s call that Schumer scheduled a rare Sunday conference call to give them a second chance to unburden themselves.

One of the only Democrats on the call who didn’t want to be anonymous was Jon Tester of Montana. He complained bitterly about a missed opportunity and how the Democrats fail to “reach out” more in primarily rural states like his. Another Democratic Senator who wouldn’t give their name said that Republicans have been “beating the hell out of government” and tarnishing the Democratic brand.

Some of the more centrist Senators on the call, including Joe Manchin of West Virginia, asked how they could shake off the label of socialism that Republicans have tagged them with. He said that they were being hurt down the ballot by being associated with things like Medicare for All and the Green New Deal.

Not that I was asked for my input, but perhaps I could help Joe’s caucus out with a suggestion. If you don’t want to be called socialists, perhaps you should stop pushing socialist policies. Just a thought…

Schumer reportedly barely spoke on the call, letting all of his colleagues vent instead. Nobody was overtly questioning his leadership during the meeting, or at least not openly. Some even praised his ability to keep the caucus mostly unified. Also, no Democrat has stepped forward and offered to run to take his place, so he might still glide through for another term. But I’ll toss one thought out for consideration.

Everyone is playing nice at the moment (some kvetching aside) while they wait to see how things turn out in Georgia. But if they end up losing one or both of those seats and realize that they’re stuck in the minority (along with most of their agenda) for at least the first two years of a prospective Biden presidency, how long will they keep quiet? The Leader’s job is to lead and that includes charting a path to victory. Their candidate appears to have won the Presidency, so it’s a bit of a stain on Schumer’s record that they couldn’t translate that into retaking the majority in the Senate.

Do you know who really wants to be the Minority and eventually Majority Leader? Cory Booker. And if there’s enough grumbling from the progressive wing, either he or Elizabeth Warren might wind up eyeing the drapes in Chuck’s office.

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