Three days ago in a post called “Speaker Pelosi?” I discussed the opposition to Nancy Pelosi from within her caucus. It seemed to me then that Pelosi would overcome that opposition and regain the Speakership.
Today, the picture seems less favorable to Pelosi. According to the Washington Post:
House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday faced solid opposition from at least 17 Democrats and encountered a significant bloc of undecided women in her bid for speaker, setting the stage for an intense battle over who will ascend to one of the most powerful positions in Washington.
To make matters worse for Pelosi, the Post says the ranks of her opponents “could swell as more races are called.” “The defections, if they stand, would leave Pelosi several votes short of the 218 [votes] she would need” to become Speaker.
Thus far, however, no one has stepped forward to run against Pelosi. And if someone does step forward, it may need to be a woman. Otherwise, Pelosi and her backers are sure to play the gender card, and the new House members, many of whom are females who themselves played that card during the election, will probably cave.
Thus, I think the odds still favor Pelosi. However, she’s no shoe-in.
I’m okay with either outcome. Pelosi has been a great target for Republicans in the past. And with a majority of Democrats and left-leaning independents opposed to her becoming speaker (according to a recent Gallup poll), there’s additional political advantage for the GOP in “Speaker Pelosi.”
There’s also political advantage in the chaos of a successful coup. It would leave the Democratic caucus bitter and divided, and quite possibly with a leader less able than Pelosi. That’s one reason why I still expect Pelosi to win this round.
Personally, I’d like to see Pelosi toppled for the simple reason that she richly deserves to be.
In any event, Pelosi’s struggle within her caucus is a sign of similar Democratic struggles to come. As Steve likes to say, “pass the popcorn.”