Right now, we don’t know how large the Democratic majority in the U.S. House will be. The estimates I’ve seen suggest it will be approximately 15.
This means that Nancy Pelosi can’t lose many votes from Democrats if she is to be restored as Speaker of the House. And it’s my understanding that some of the newly-elected Democrats said during the campaign either that they wouldn’t vote for Pelosi or, more generally, that new leadership was needed in the House.
I doubt that Pelosi’s bid is in serious trouble, but she’s taking no chances. According to the Washington Post, she is “moving aggressively to snuff out a challenge from some lawmakers who are demanding new party leadership.” In addition, “powerful allies outside Congress are helping rally support for her.”
Specifically, Emily’s List, which supported virtually every female Democratic House candidate, reportedly has made calls to incoming members to tout Pelosi’s credentials. And the leaders of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) and the American Federation of Teachers both sent letters today declaring their support.
Ideologically speaking, there’s no reason why Pelosi should have serious enemies to her left among Democrats. Displeasure with the ex-Speaker is probably based more on form than on substance. It’s likely an age and image thing.
Democrats are right to be concerned about Pelosi’s image. Republicans found success in more than one election by running against Nancy Pelosi. If the GOP can’t run against Hillary Clinton, Pelosi is the next best thing. She might even be just as good.
But with the backing of the leftist Democrat establishment, it’s unlikely that, as old as Pelosi is and as toxic as she has been, her opponents will find the votes needed to block her.
Republicans can probably rest easy. It looks like we’ll have Nancy Pelosi to kick around.