Contrary to what the media would have you believe, President Trump isn’t the most unpopular politician in Washington. That honor goes to the once (and perhaps future) Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.
California’s Pelosi is the embodiment of the status quo that so many voters feel is the biggest problem facing the Democratic Party.
Pelosi is deeply entrenched in special interests, and her fundraising skills have made her the voice of Democratic mega-donors, many of whom are wary of the party’s lurch to the far left.
Rank-and-file Democrats, activists and candidates alike spent the fall campaigning on the platform of opposing Pelosi’s bid for a second speakership. Many voters may now be scratching their heads at the fact that Pelosi now appears poised to pick up the Speaker’s gavel once again.
Bolstering her chances is the all-out blitz progressive donors have launched to support her. It’s the kind of campaign you see when someone is scared of losing. It also seems to be working. The demands of the left have gradually petered out. So much for change.
The truth is that Pelosi is beholden to big Democratic dollars, and because of that, hopeful activists looking for meaningful change will find themselves left out in the cold.
She’ll push an agenda to stymie the Trump administration, and, once again, the nation will be mired in a bitter partisanship. The division means more money will flow in for Pelosi and her chosen candidates, but that little progress will be made on the issues voters actually want Congress to address.
For all the talk of “revolution,” House Democrats have learned little in their time out of power. They will continue to ignore working-class voters, which is what sent them into the arms of candidate Donald Trump in the first place. Democrats could have become the party of opportunity.
All they had to do was to walk a mile in the shoes of the working class and truly embrace policies to spur private investment and create jobs. Instead, they have continued to oppose economic development and America’s growing energy dominance. In that sense, Pelosi’s return to the speakership should not be seen as the disease but as the symptom of a wider problem.
The issues with the Democratic leadership don’t end with Pelosi. The current leadership team, comprised of Pelosi, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and Whip James Clyburn are all in their 70s. For a party claiming to be the voice of the young, Democrats are run by a bunch of grandparents.
None of the party’s top leadership face any serious challengers this week. And these are the same people who presided over record losses of seats during the Obama presidency. It is difficult to imagine that activists wanting a new and reinvigorated party also want the same old leaders
What must be most disheartening for voters is realizing that those they elected to change Congress are now willing to vote for the status quo. Even newly elected Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York appears to have fallen in line behind Pelosi. The continued failure of Democrats to listen to their voters continues to be their Achilles’ heel.
President Trump knows this. It’s why he’s been praising Pelosi on Twitter. Sure, the president’s tweets are cheeky and not too subtle, but too often they have the desired effect. Pelosi will be Speaker and the foil Trump needs going into 2020.
The big Democratic donors know this too but they need Pelosi to hold the speaker’s gavel to protect their interests and status-quo agenda.
President Trump’s endorsement of Pelosi could be a long-term play. Trump wanting to work with Pelosi will annoy the Democratic base because it doesn’t fit their preferred narrative of him as unredeemable.
It plays better with Trump’s base who believe he transcends parties and who expect him to strike unconventional deals. And if the deal falls apart as these things tend to do, President Trump can simply blame the Democrats for never being serious about a deal in the first place. Win-win.
What will ultimately be Pelosi’s downfall, if anything, is her insistence on squashing opposition and maintaining the status quo.
Eventually, the far left will catch up with the party and demand change or more likely they will go along for a while, revolting when a must-pass piece of legislation is up for consideration and their votes are needed most. The result is gridlock, not just between the two main parties, but also within the Democratic Party.
Republicans, for the most part, have come to terms with Trump’s leadership of the party. Democrats still don’t know who they want to be. They talk a good game when it comes to supporting the working class and those on the lowest end of America’s economy, but so far they have failed to grasp that what voters want is opportunity, not government handouts.
The return of Pelosi shows they’ve yet to learn that lesson.
Dan K. Eberhart (@DanKEberhart) is CEO of Canary, LLC one of the largest independent oilfield services company in the United States.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.