In sports and in politics, Pelosi enjoys winning. This week, she guided her caucus to the ultimate victory: a House Democratic majority and an end to Donald Trump’s rubber-stamp Congress. The path included navigating around a dozen or so incumbents and first-time candidates who indicated they wouldn’t support her for speaker and millions of dollars’ worth of Republican ads that cast her as an immigrant-caravan-loving, gun-confiscating, tax-hiking San Francisco socialist.
Over the next several days, House Democrats, including some of those incumbents and first-timers who spoke out against Pelosi, will find themselves sitting in her office, enjoying those chocolates while warily eyeing the bats.
Carol Anderson: Brian Kemp’s lead in Georgia needs an asterisk.
Here’s why, whatever they said on the campaign trail, Democrats should vote to keep Pelosi as the leader of their new majority.
First, she’s already demonstrated the ability to stand up to a Republican White House and Republican Senate while also negotiating agreements that advance Democratic values. In September 2017, Pelosi outsmarted congressional Republicans and averted a fiscal crisis by building a bipartisan coalition with Trump that increased the debt ceiling, funded Hurricane Harvey relief, and kept the government running. Republicans went into negotiations expecting maximum leverage, but suddenly found the rug pulled out from under them.
The question for Pelosi’s critics is: Who else can do that?
Second, a demotion for Pelosi would make for a rather odd coda to what David Wasserman of “The Cook Political Report” called “the year of the fired-up woman.” The day following Trump’s inauguration, women took to the streets. Then they ran for office—with Pelosi’s explicit encouragement—reclaiming suburban districts from pro-Trump voters. They’re a big part of why Democrats did as well as they did on Tuesday. In January, the House will have more women members than ever before.
The question for Pelosi’s critics is: Why fire the top woman? Critics should also keep in mind that much of the venom directed at Pelosi—all those Republican ads about the horrors of a House led by her—are sexist, born of an anti-feminist fear of women in positions of power.
Read: Trump is about to get a rude awakening.
Third, there’s the fact that money matters immensely in the American election system, and Pelosi knows how to get it. In the 2018 cycle, the DCCC raised approximately $270 million. Pelosi personally raised nearly half of that total: $129 million. Much of that money came from donors who believe in Pelosi and in her ability to lead. Heading into 2020, when House Democrats will need to protect their gains, they’ll want a proven rainmaker. Conversely, Pelosi has the strategic and tactical legislative skills necessary to pass some version of campaign-finance reform, which would reduce the role of money in politics.