House ministry leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Arrives at a press conference earlier this month as some dissatisfied Democrats promise to…
J. Scott Apple White / AP
For almost a decade, Nancy Pelosi GOP was not so secret weapon.
Binding a congressional candidate to the Democratic leader and raising the language of another speaker was a Republican silver bullet too much of the last decade.
But in 2018 that strategy failed – bad. Democrats turn over control of the Chamber and are heading to record as many as 40 seats with its biggest popular voice margin since the Watergate scandal, and Pelosi hopes to be a speaker in the Chamber again when her fellow Democrats take a first vote on Wednesday.
Partly, Republicans say that Democrats successfully spaced themselves sufficiently from Pelosi in 2018 to persuade voters of their independence. But with many of those coming around to vote for her again, do not count on the Pelosi strategy among GOP to go away sometime soon.
“I still think she’s a poisonous figure and an unpopular figure to definitely tie democrats to,” said GOP strategist Andrea Bozek, a former communications director at the National Republican Congressional Committee. “That’s why you had many democratic commanders and candidates during the campaign saying they would not vote for her, which is something unusual.”
Pelosi has once again demonstrated his political ability to pay tribute to skeptical legislators and wake up freshmen to her side. A formal vote for the President will not be held until January, but enough deficits have now shown that the California Democrat will revert the gable.
On Tuesday, a group of 20 beginners – including some who were lukewarm about her on the campaign trail – released a letter explaining their motivation to support 78-year-old Pelosi now.
“The upcoming class of first-time members is younger and more versatile than ever. A proven leader such as Leader Pelosi will be a valuable resource that we rise up to lead and as we work to improve the lives of the people we represents, “reads the letter.
One of these signatories, designated nominee Angie Craig from Minnesota, admitted that she campaigned to say she would consider new leadership, but said during a panel discussion about bipartisanship that “you can not beat anything with nothing” and she supported Pelosi after meeting w with her and talked about taking action on several issues that she stressed during her campaign.
Other possible Pelosi challengers also backed down. Ohio Rep. Marcia Fudge was a possible alternative, but she announced last week that she would support Pelosi after claping concessions from the leader and gained a position that led a revived panel on election management. New York Rep. Brian Higgins, who had previously written an anti-Pelosi letter, also went back.
According to a list from NBC News, there were at least 58 established or candidates during the cycle who said they would not support Pelosi or signaled that they were open to new leadership, far more than the amount required to block her road if they all opposed her.
Rep. Elect Lauren Underwood in Illinois was one of them on the fence. But she also said that she ultimately realized that Washington people were focused on Pelosi, but said plainly, “People do not care.”
Underwood said she was regularly asked by reporters during the Pelosi campaign but argued “we miss so much” of the other issues the voters care about with the intense focus on democratic leadership.
Yet another lightning rod?
Democratic strategists say that their winning strategy in 2018 showed that Pelosi was not the motivating factor she once was for that reason, with their more problem-focused advertisements on things like health and rights that show that voters want have solutions and not just rhetoric about who will be in charge.
“This is an old tired playbook that they have really tried since they went back to 2006,” said the Democratic Consultant and Advertiser John Lapp. “The Republicans ran it in a district all over the country, and it really fell in some ways, and in some way I would say it was back.”
Republicans have long tried to use the San Francisco legislature as implementing the ideals that the Republicans knew was anathema to much of Central America – a liberal, coastal elite that they could paint that want to raise taxes and inflate the deficit.
Some Democrats argue that Republican’s attempt to use Pelosi as a political weapon this year was especially deaf as white women in suburban districts revolted from the GOP.
“There is a large element of sexism here. Usually [Pelosi] looks like she’s screaming or screaming and has an angry face in all these ads. It’s kind of symbol of women’s power in the workplace and women’s leadership, but for some voters who threaten, “said Democratic voter Anna Greenberg. “Suburban, professional, well-educated women are very, very supportive to women in leadership, and Pelosi is very popular with them.”
There were signs already before the election day there were cracks in GOP’s strategy. An internal republican survey received by Bloomberg News in September showed that voters were more likely to back a Pelosi-matched candidate once again endorsed by President Trump by five points.
Republican groups still ran ads bearing Pelosi in some of the competitions Greenberg worked on this previous bike, including Democrat Lizzie Pannill Fletcher, victory over Texas GOP Rep. John Culberson.
Greenberg said that she finally never saw the numbers move so much after such an attack. But other Republicans say private that if they did not try to use Pelosi again in a few races and make her a villain nationally they could have lost even more seats.
Fletcher was another incoming beginner who signaled during the campaign that she would not necessarily support Pelosi as a speaker. However, she and others have since come and say they will restore California’s congress woman to the position-something one’s Republicans give Pelosi credits for as evidence of her political skills and negotiating ability.
Other Republicans acknowledge the reason that Pelosi made a bookmaker does not work this year is easy – the Democrats had a bigger one in time.
“It begins and ends with Trump,” said GOP strategen Doug Heye. “Pelosi motivates Republican base voters. But clearly the Democrats had a lot more they were motivated than Republicans.”
Heye was Communications Director of the Republican National Committee 2010 when the Affordable Care Act passed while President Pelosi led the Democratic Headquarters and helped lead his “Four Pelosi” Initiative, which would ultimately be successful during this year’s mid-term election when the Republicans fought to power. But as Heye declared last week in a daily fate, it was a clear reason for the Republicans to be so focused on getting rid of Pelosi.
“We thought Nancy Pelos went just because she was so efficient. Speaker Pelosi could not get Obamacare through, our campaign had no motivation,” wrote Heye.
The freshmen like Fletcher and Underwood, who did not have to vote for Pelosi, or some who constantly oppose her, inoculated something from political attacks. Republicans say that in a special election in March in Pittsburgh, where Democrat Conor Lamb was able to flip a GOP-based seat, the moderate Democrat gave a playbook to refrain from his party leader who could replicate others.
And at the micro level, the Pelosi strategy might work. Republicans credit it by helping them save another special election last year in Georgia’s 6th district. But when things go macro, it’s harder to stop bleeding. The same area in the Atlanta suburbs fell in democratic hands in the middle.
Even with less than star achievements this year by doubling Pelosi, not all Republicans are ready to abandon that strategy in the future. And with beginners in the swinging chairs behind the course and back Pelosi, the Republicans are keen to get it by those who cast their vote to vote for speakers in January they can use them.
Democrats opposite Pelosi also claim that she puts these new members in a hard place at her first vote in Congress.
Some in the GOP point out that a speaker Pelosi with democrats who partially control a government circuit could actually help Trump so that he could easily make her a scapegoat in a way that voters might think it’s easier for the Democrats to have some power back .
And if he can build her even more drag, do not be surprised if the Republicans revive their Pelosi strategy again in 2020.
NPR congress editor Deirdre Walsh contributed.