The new Democratic Administration has not even begun and Nancy Pelosi has already lost ground. A leader, who apparently cares about results before everything, supports a new stimulus bill worth less than half her previous demand. Democrats and the new Biden Administration need to make it absolutely clear whose side they are on. With mounting crises on all sides, we cannot wait.
Recently, Nancy Pelosi ran unopposed—and won— as Speaker of the House, and with Biden assuming office, both feel like a step backward rather than forward. The days of giving banal platitudes, punching left and feeding Wall Street, must end. Democrats no longer represent the working class and will never with leaders like Pelosi.
While at the helm, both Pelosi and Biden would be smart to heed the call of those who drive their party’s politics. Biden, like Obama before him, seems intent somewhat fostering an administration and cabinet with a colorful collective of voices. Apart from appearing as a positive, the Obama/Biden administration actually caught much criticism for this lack of coherency in ideology across positions of power.
However, unlike Biden or Obama, what we get with Pelosi is a tenacious leader, one with a reputation for putting in long hours but not a long list of legislative achievements. New members of Congress tell stories of her encyclopedic knowledge of their own lives, even coffee preferences. But it seems that Pelosi rules more with an iron––gold––fist than compassion.
From the recent ice cream and hair salon fiascos, she is vulnerable to routine gaffes. She, about as much as the Clintons, now embodies the worst in Democratic politics. Her policy positions do her little good. As an ardent supporter of capital and consolidation of executive power, she helped pave the way for Trumpism. Her length in Congress shows a focus on policy that propagates unmitigated growth of wealth for the 1% and the destruction of civil and human rights. But most importantly, Pelosi represents a capitulation to powers unbeholden to “we the people.”
Pelosi’s fervent supporters love to champion her work ethic, power as a legislator, or her glass-ceiling-shattering ascendence. Even more importantly, they highlight her fundraising ability. Her power in the Democratic Party starts and ends with her role as a major capitalist. Her power derives from through California and Silicon Valley, which pairs well with Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer and the New York Bankers.
The long-term failures on her watch go deeper. Like a typical capitalist, she has a short term vision. Her first term as Speaker in the House saw the crushing blow of the Tea Party movement where she lost her seat as Speaker. House Democrats took one of the biggest political beatings in U.S. history under her watch during those 2010 elections. Democrats went from enjoying a 79-seat advantage to being stuck with a 49-seat deficit. This represents a near 20% swing of votes under Pelosi’s watch.
In repeat fashion, House Democrats again lost seats under her Speakership in 2020 even while Biden led up-ticket. This shows that Pelosi is either ineffective or not as valuable as a leader as assumed. How can whip votes together if they all wither away?
Next, take State Legislatures. This is where Republicans have presided over an ivy-like infiltration across the US under Pelosi’s eye. State Legislatures affect the Census and draw the lines of Congressional Districts. In short, they decide the fate of House seats. As Speaker of the House, the results about how the lines of power are aligned must surely be of note, right?
Well, heading into 2020, Democrats will be able to unilaterally draw the boundaries of 76 districts, while Republicans will be able to unilaterally draw 181. 181 to 76. This proves a failure across Democratic strategy in unconventional mediums. From conservative dominance in social media to the success of right-wing think-tanks in pushing forward policy, Democrats always appear a step behind
Her greatest defense and power against Donald Trump will be viewed in history as a defanged capitulation to all that she left in the shadows. Convinced that impeachment would divide the nation (which is a sorry excuse given that impeachment is innately divisive), she moved forward with articles of impeachment on a quid-pro-quo phone call. What she meant by “divide” was that it would be detrimental to the economy–– most Americans are near rock bottom. So, rather than put Trump’s gamut of behavior on blast, she deftly chose to leave out the clear venality and corruption of his administration. The public got an impeachment which revealed a bipartisan acceptance of the controls of capital upon our leaders.
Is it even an elephant in the room at this point? Pelosi will combine with Biden to stretch a neo-Clinton capitalist class across the world. Trump’s chaotic demeanor and anti-political correctness behavior (things which attract him to his voting block) run in direct contrast to the traditional cog of erudition that Biden and Pelosi represent. Pelosi’s role as Speaker of the House for Biden will not be to help “build back better” for all of us. Just like Trump, their administration will build back preferentially to the capitalist class.
Some say that the divisions in 2020 show a centrist might be what is needed, but centrists lost their seats compared to leftwing progressives. Down-ballot centrism does not win because people are tired of centrist policy. Democrats would do well to listen to their base, especially now that Boomers are no longer the largest voting block. Millennials and Gen Z have the torch.
In addition to providing poor vision and leadership, Pelosi’s continued power highlights the weaknesses of the other voices in Congress. The inability to platform the likes of a Barbara Lee and others––who stand stronger than Pelosi on the issues which face the average American––is a failure the Democrats truly need to reconcile. The inability to champion more novel, local voices is another failure. We must move forward, not with cynicism for what Pelosi has or has not done, but with gusto for the future. This means platforming winning ideas like Medicare for All and the Green New Deal. Pelosi has consistently shown us that she won’t do that even if it means losing to Republicans.