A small group of frustrated House Democrats is agitating for big changes, trying to draft Rep. Joe Crowley (D-N.Y.) to challenge Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) for the top leadership spot in the next Congress, a handful of lawmakers familiar with the campaign told The Hill.
The recruitment effort comes as a chorus of rank-and-file Democrats — particularly younger members — are up in arms over the party’s messaging and outreach strategy after a tortuous election cycle that will put the Republicans in charge of the White House and both chambers of Congress next year.
Those voices are seeking a new direction for the party, one that appeals to a broader range of voters and puts the Democrats in a position to win back power in 2018. Some see Crowley, the gregarious and imposing 6-foot-5 vice chairman of the Democratic Caucus and a prolific fundraiser, as the figure to lead the way.
The odds are slim that the nine-term Queens lawmaker would accept: Though he’s had a few run-ins with Pelosi in the past, the two have moved onto the same page, especially since Crowley joined her leadership team. And Crowley, who’s very close to Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), the Democratic whip, is highly unlikely to attempt to leapfrog the No. 2 Democrat by taking on Pelosi.
Pelosi’s tenure as the top Democrat in the House has been less than spectacular. She started out with a couple of good years, when Bush/Republican fatigue was at its peak. At the height of her powers, she got a lot of Democrats to commit political suicide in order to help Obamacare pass. It’s pretty much been all downhill for her, however, since the 2010 midterm elections.
That’s a six year bad run, so Pelosi is pretty lucky it’s taken this long for anyone of her colleagues to get restless, and that there are only handful of them doing so thus far.
These kinds of takeovers aren’t easy to pull off, but it can be done eventually with some patience, as the Republicans learned with John Boehner. When the first attempts were made to push Boehner towards the door they were squashed pretty quickly. The unrest continued to grow though, and that was in the ascendant majority party.
The Democrats have a lot of political introspection to do now, which seems to be obvious to everyone but the Democrats. They’re an incredibly marginalized party throughout America after last Tuesday. Democrats, as we all know though, are horrible on the personal responsibility front. In fact, a lack of it is built into their politics. This is the first hint that any elected Democrats are willing to blame something other than bad luck and racism on the shellacking they got last week. They’ll probably end up getting shunned for it too.
The Democrats also don’t have much of a bench. Even if Pelosi was ousted any time in the near to medium-near future, her replacement will more than likely be someone not very different and there aren’t many fresh young faces or ideas working their way up the food chain over there.
With Keith Ellison still being the front runner for the DNC chairmanship, it’s obvious that there’s still a big premium being placed on identity politics by the Democrats, despite the fact that they just lost running on little else but that. That premium will probably help Pelosi keep her job for a while though, even if she stopped being good at it a long time ago.
Creative Commons/Flickr/Quinn Dombrowski