In an astonishingly telling interview, Democratic House minority leader Nancy Pelosi claimed all is well in the Democratic Party, despite being crushed in elections across the country last month.
Pelosi was speaking to ‘Face The Nation’ on CBS, fresh from being re-elected as minority leader after a challenge from Ohio representative Tim Ryan, who garnered support from many young Democrats due to his belief that the party was not speaking to the working class or representing them like they used to. When questioned on discontent within the Democratic base, Pelosi claimed “I don’t think people want a new direction, our values unify us and our values are about supporting America’s working families,” but did concede that the party needs “better connection of our message to [working families]”.
Pelosi’s statement completely sums up the current state of the Democratic Party, which is in total denial about the reasons for their devastating loss in the general election to a candidate with the highest unfavourables in history. It seems absolutely everyone is to blame but the party establishment, who come out undamaged in their Washington bubble. James Comey, Russia, WikiLeaks, progressives, Bernie Sanders, sexists, fake news, and Jill Stein have all been used as scapegoats for the loss, whilst Dems seems reluctant to do even a small amount of soul-searching and honest evaluation of their part in the defeat.
Cast your mind back to 2012, the year when Mitt Romney took on Barack Obama for the presidency. The Romney team’s internal polling had them way ahead, and they were convinced that their polished, seasoned politician would comfortably beat the incumbent. They were dead wrong. The head of the RNC Reince Priebus said the result was a “wake-up call” for the Republican Party. Pundits cited changing demographics and a shift in public opinion to predict that the GOP would struggle to take back the presidency for years to come.
Of course, a crushing election defeat should be a cause for concern, and the Republican Party immediately got to work dissecting their strategy. Everything that cost them votes was accounted for, and just 2 months after the election a 100-page document was published entitled “Growth and Opportunity Project”. This document included 20 pages of recommendations that should be implemented by the party in order to gain voters for the upcoming election. They looked inwards for reasons they lost, rather than blaming other factors.
The Democrats have done nothing like this, instead throwing as many surrogates on mainstream news channels to defend their prized candidate as if she would be running again in 2020. The establishment refuse to lose their grip on the party, even if currently they are a party of perpetual losers. Pelosi’s remarks seem to ignore the fact that people have sought a new direction in electing a populist candidate despite him never holding public office. With the release of the Podesta emails we’ve seen how the DNC systemically rigged the primaries against an unknown anti-establishment candidate who managed to get over 45% of the vote even with the weight of the democratic machine against him. Surely that would have triggered a brain cell in the leadership that told them that people are praying for change, but they insisted that their polished corporatist candidate with a huge amount of flaws would win. Insiders expected a landslide victory, showing just how out of touch they are with the working people of the country.
Pelosi also seems to miss the development that Keith Ellison, a staunch progressive and a Sanders-endorsed candidate, is set to become the chair of the DNC, taking over from Hillary supporter and question-passer Donna Brazille, who is currently holding the interim role after Debbie Wasserman Schultz stepped down following her implication in the rigging of the primary system against her favoured candidate.
People no longer respect a Democratic Party that will roll over and allow Donald Trump to confirm vastly unsuitable picks for high cabinet positions, or a party that will allow the Republicans to unconstitutionally block a hearing for the sitting President’s Supreme Court nominee for longer than at any point in history, whilst just sitting and taking it. There wasn’t any outcry from the party, any pressure put on Republicans or any smart targeting of close Senate seats using the issue during the campaign.
These weak and delusional establishment Democrats need to step aside and let the Sanders wing of the party steer the ship. They have a message, a way of communicating it, and positions that polling suggests most of the country agree on. That coupled with actually fighting for the people they represent and being the best chance Democrats have of sweeping the rust-belt make them tailor-made for the turbulent political landscape we find ourselves in.