OPINION: This article contains commentary which may reflect the author's opinion
In a report published by The Washington Post on Monday, Nancy Pelosi is expected to “step down” after the next midterm elections in 2022 as Democrats prepare for the upcoming change of leadership.
According to Marianna Sotomayor, a reporter for the Post: “After almost 19 years as House Democratic leader, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) is expected to step down at the close of this Congress, ending a historic career that included trying to end George W. Bush’s Iraq War, implementing President Barack Obama’s signature health-care law, impeaching President Donald Trump twice and squeezing President Biden’s sweeping agenda through a narrowly controlled House.”
There was also a discussion in the article about some of the parties’ suggestions for replacements. Hakeem Jeffries, a Democratic representative from New York, was noted as being one of the early favorites.
Both Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-MD) and Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC) are likely to be discussed, though the report suggested that some Democrats are eager for new leadership.
“But the members interviewed overwhelmingly agreed that Pelosi’s replacement should be equally as historic as electing the first female speaker. That leaves White men who are mulling a run — such as Hoyer and Rep. Adam B. Schiff (Calif.), a Pelosi ally — in a difficult spot with a party that is looking for more diversity at the top. It is also to the benefit of Jeffries, who would be the first Black person to lead either party in either chamber,” the Post continued.
This is one of the strongest reports concerning the future plans of the current Speaker of the House, as well as who will lead her in the future.
Last October, the Guardian reported that “Typically, that job would fall to one of the speaker’s top two lieutenants, the majority leader, Steny Hoyer, and majority whip, Jim Clyburn. However, both of them, like Pelosi, are in their early 80s, which has sparked questions about whether it may be time for some fresh faces to manage the House Democratic caucus.”
A Gallup poll out last week had Pelosi with a dismal 58% disapproval rating and 40% approval.
Of course, Republican candidates are now poised to win back one or both houses of Congress in 2022 while maintaining control over dozens of state legislatures and governorships. President Joe Biden’s low poll numbers, the Democratic economic and social agenda that’s faltering, and fears about inflation drive Republican confidence. Added to that, the pandemic is triggering yet another outbreak of infections.
Sixteen Democrats signed a letter opposing Nancy Pelosi’s ascension to the speakership when Democrats regained control of the House in 2018.
Despite the pushback, Pelosi still had broad support from most members of the House Democratic Caucus, where she led the party since 2003 and acted as speaker from 2007 to 2011.
Earlier this year, Pelosi reached an agreement to limit her tenure as speaker to four years, and she has since earned the support of many moderates and newly elected lawmakers who originally opposed her leadership.
As Democrats look ahead to the 2022 midterm elections, Pelosi, 81, is expected to leave her post at the end of the current Congress, and a new generation is likely to define the Democratic party for years to come, the Post report went on.
With the rise of the socialist wing in the Democratic Party, there may be a reckoning on how to counter the Republican Party, which is still dominated by former President Trump.
In an interview with The Post, Rep. Ro Khanna of California, who has served as a key liaison to the Biden White House, said the next generation of leaders must listen closely to members.
“I think we want leadership that bridges some of the different ideological wings of the party, that is committed to listening to all of the perspectives, that will be capable of helping move the Senate or things that have stalled in the House, and has a bold vision of what we need to achieve for the American public,” Khanna stated.
He went on, “But whoever it is, I hope they would adopt progressive positions and also listen to the broad caucus and build consensus.”
Major concerns have been raised by members regarding the possibility of a significant loss of stability that has long defined the Democratic caucus under Pelosi, Hoyer and Clyburn – as opposed to the House Republican Caucus, which suffers from numerous internal disputes.
“She understands how to get things done and how to keep us together, even if it looks a little bit messy from the outside,” The Post reported a member of the House as saying.
Pelosi commented on her prior commitment during a November 2020 news conference when asked whether she would step down as speaker after the 117th Congress.
“What I said then is whether it passes or not, I will abide by those limits that are there,” she said.
With current trends looking like the House and likely the Senate changing hands to Republicans, socialists in Congress will be stymied. With Pelosi gone, feuding between far-left and moderate Democrats may play out publically as various factions vie for power. If the socialists take over, look for Democrat lawmakers to switch parties or become independents.