Connect with Point of View   to get exclusive commentary and updates

Nancy Pelosi’s Grip on House Democrats

Pelosi leads Democrats at a rally at the
Print Friendly, PDF & Email
By: Jim Geraghty – nationalreview.com – August 24, 2018

Wrapping up the week: why a Democratic House majority almost certainly means Nancy Pelosi will be speaker of the House again, why the world needs to get tougher with China, and an allegedly paranoid memo in the White House that . . . doesn’t really seem all that paranoid, considering recent history.

Nancy Pelosi’s Iron Grip on House Democrats

Make no mistake: If Democrats win a majority in the House of Representatives this fall, it is extremely likely that Nancy Pelosi will become speaker again. Not only is there a lack of consensus among Democrats about an alternative candidate for speaker, but Pelosi herself is pledging to crush any opposition. And she dismisses the 57 House Democratic incumbents and challengers who are currently pledging to support someone else as mere “politics.”

“This is not anything to make a big fuss over, it’s politics,” Pelosi said in a 35-minute phone interview with The Associated Press. “I can take the heat and that’s why I stay in the kitchen.”

Pushing back on those who say her leadership position is in jeopardy, Pelosi all but dared her doubters to envision any other House Democrat sitting across the table to negotiate with Trump.

“I have a following in the country that’s unsurpassed by anybody, unless they’re running for president,” Pelosi said.

Trump and the Republicans are eager to see her go, she said, “and I’m just not going to let them do that.”

The New York Times dryly notes that Steny Hoyer and Jim Clyburn have both expressed a quiet interest in running, but “replacing 78-year-old Pelosi with 79-year-old Hoyer or 78-year-old Clyburn is not the generational change that the Democratic caucus wants.”

Fifty-seven Democratic incumbents or challengers pledging to support someone else sounds like a lot . . . until you remember that Pelosi beat Ohio Democrat Tim Ryan, 134 to 61 after the 2016 election. Anti-Pelosi sentiment among House Democrats is probably leveling off, not rising.

Democrats will need at least 218 seats to take control of the House of Representatives. Let’s take FiveThirtyEight.com’s latest projection and say the Democrats win 228. Not all of those 57 anti-Pelosi Democrats will win, but let’s say nine out of every ten do. That gives you 51 of the 228 Democrats pushing for someone else . . . and 177 House Democrats comfortable with putting Pelosi back in the speaker’s chair.

(Let’s also note that those anti-Pelosi voices might not be intractable. Danny O’Connor is that House Democratic candidate who appears to have lost the recent special-House election in Ohio by a narrow margin. Back in July, Chris Matthews pushed O’Connor, asking whether he would vote for a Republican over Pelosi in the vote for speaker. O’Connor conceded the obvious: “I’d vote for whoever the Democratic party puts forward.” Republicans charge that’s inconsistent with O’Connor’s past statements that “we need change on both sides.” Balderson and O’Connor face off again in November’s general election.

Based on past precedent and tradition, Pelosi just needs more than half of the caucus to vote for her; almost everyone falls in line for their party’s nominee in the full chamber. If there are 228 House Democrats in January, Pelosi needs 115 of them to support her. Theoretically, if eleven House Democrats felt particularly intransigent about Pelosi, they could vote with the Republicans to make the GOP pick the next speaker (most likely Kevin McCarthy). But that unlikely scenario would be one of the most epic betrayals in recent history — Democrats finally win back the House and then have about a dozen members keep Republicans in charge.

Could some House Democrat unite those 51 or so rebels and win over many of those currently pro-Pelosi Democrats? Sure, but that’s an exceptionally tall order. If a Democrat isn’t abandoning Pelosi now, on the campaign trail and taking flak for the association from a Republican rival, why would he or she abandon her after the election? Backing Pelosi now means you’ll probably get rewarded for the loyalty if she becomes speaker. If she doesn’t become speaker, you took all that flak for nothing.

It’s Time for the World to Take a Tougher Look at China

Earlier in the week, I noted the sheer amount of consequential foreign news that is largely ignored, or at least under-covered, by the mainstream American media. This partially stems from the fact that “can you believe what Trump said?!?” is the top priority of news organizations and tends to be substance of the most-read articles on their websites.

The editors of NR call for the world’s attention to focus on the Chinese government’s ever-widening oppression of the Uyghurs. As I mentioned earlier, we’ve grown used to seeing China’s government as a bunch of brutal thugs since Tiananmen Square, if not earlier. But when a million people get forced into “reeducation camps,” we should sit up and take notice.

Now authorities are using this surveillance apparatus to round up and incarcerate Uyghurs suspected of dissident activity or excessive religiosity. Reporters and international officials have been barred from the reeducation camps and, in the case of BuzzFeed reporter Megha Rajagopalan, ejected from the country, so the information that is available is piecemeal. But we know from researchers and eyewitnesses that conditions are dire: Prisoners are made to recite political propaganda and renounce Islam, some have been tortured, and others have died soon after being released. The family members of those incarcerated have not been able to contact them. The scale of the detention campaign is only growing.

Veteran China scholars worry that conditions could deteriorate. If Uyghurs begin to resist or protest, would the PRC respond with deadly force? Regardless, Chinese authorities are engaged in the mass, arbitrary detention of an ethno-religious minority group as part of a deliberate effort to stamp out their way of life. This is a precarious situation that demands a robust international response.

Trump doesn’t sound like much of a sentimentalist about human rights, but he also appeared genuinely moved by the tragic case of Otto Warmbier, and his administration has been loud and uncompromising on the case of American pastor Andrew Brunson, who was imprisoned in Turkey for allegedly plotting to overthrow the Turkish government. And Trump’s certainly been a loud critic of China in the past.

Also last night, Senator Marco Rubio discussed the issue with . . . Tucker Carlson.

Just Because You’re Paranoid Doesn’t Mean They Aren’t after You

To see the remainder of this article, click read more.

Read More

Source: Nancy Pelosi’s Iron Grip on House Democrats