Nancy Pelosi has won her bid to remain House minority leader, defeating a challenge from younger rival Tim Ryan. Politico reports:
Pelosi beat Ryan in a 134-63 vote, securing the two-thirds support within the caucus she had claimed earlier this month before Ryan officially jumped in the race…
Her resounding win is likely to quell some of the unrest among the rank-and-file. But tensions are still simmering behind the scenes, as members look ahead to another two years in the minority and Donald Trump moving into the White House.
Pelosi’s backers argued that now, more than ever, an experienced tactician was needed to thwart the GOP and the incoming administration of Donald Trump. As for the party’s poor performance in 2016, at least one Democrat blamed Hillary Clinton. “The fact of the matter is many red-to-blue candidates were undone by the top of the ticket,” Rep. Bill Pascrell of New Jersey said.
Red-to-blue was short-hand for Democrats’ plan to take back the House this year. A discarded page on the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee website (still available via Google cache) listed 50 seats Democrats saw as possible takeover opportunities in 2016. “House Democrats are on offense and will pick up seats in November, and these talented and diverse candidates are the foundation of our success,” DCCC Chairman Ben Ray Luján is quoted as saying. In the end, Democrats picked up just six seats.
Pelosi’s opponent Tim Ryan said he had “bit his tongue” after previous losses but argued that Democrats were overdue for a change of leadership. “If we don’t wake up and smell the coffee, we’re going to be the minority party, the opposition party, for a long time to come,” Ryan said.
Rep. Kathleen Rice of New York, a Ryan supporter, told the NY Times, “If you were a big company and you were posting loss after loss after loss, the head of that company is not going to stay around too long.”
Maybe in the real world that is how it would work but in politics those rules don’t apply. Pelosi’s record since 2010 is so bad that the NRCC mockingly endorsed her leadership bid:
“Nancy Pelosi has been a true friend to the House Republicans, helping us achieve the largest majority since the 1920s,” said NRCC Communications Director Katie Martin. “We sincerely hope House Democrats vote to elect Nancy Pelosi as Minority Leader, where we have no doubt she will lead them deeper into the political wilderness and ensure a Republican majority for years to come.”
The group also created the hashtag #StandWithNancy and hung a banner supporting her:
— NRCC (@NRCC) November 29, 2016
Update: Kellyanne Conway posted this quip in response to Pelosi winning the vote:
What a relief. I was worried they had learned from the elections & might be competitive and cohesive again. https://t.co/cvwi0IxLdU
— Kellyanne Conway (@KellyannePolls) November 30, 2016