No one is more frantic over the possibility of a Trump victory in November than Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiOn The Money: Democrats get to the hard part Biden discusses agenda with Schumer, Pelosi ahead of pivotal week Stefanik in ad says Democrats want 'permanent election insurrection' MORE.
Why? Because if Democratic presidential nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenTrump endorses challenger in Michigan AG race On The Money: Democrats get to the hard part Health Care — GOP attorneys general warn of legal battle over Biden's vaccine mandate MORE goes down in flames, Pelosi will no longer be Speaker of the House — even if Democrats hold that chamber, as they likely will. You can count on it.
If President TrumpDonald TrumpOhio Republican who voted to impeach Trump says he won't seek reelection Youngkin breaks with Trump on whether Democrats will cheat in the Virginia governor's race Trump endorses challenger in Michigan AG race MORE is reelected, Pelosi and other establishment Democrats will be to blame. It was Pelosi and her peers who orchestrated the nomination of 77-year-old Biden, panicked that far-left candidates Sens. Bernie SandersBernie SandersBriahna Joy Gray: Push toward major social spending amid pandemic was 'short-lived' Sanders 'disappointed' in House panel's vote on drug prices Manchin keeps Washington guessing on what he wants MORE (I-Vt.) or Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenFederal Reserve officials' stock trading sparks ethics review Manchin keeps Washington guessing on what he wants Warren, Daines introduce bill honoring 13 killed in Kabul attack MORE (D-Mass.) would be crushed in a general election.
As important, it has been Pelosi who has overseen the Democratic strategy of total and complete obstruction of Trump, and who most recently has been mum about the violence upending our nation’s biggest cities.
It was Pelosi who pushed Russiagate, and then Ukrainegate and most recently PostOfficeGate to their absurd and dishonest conclusions
And it was Pelosi who permitted the House to embark on the fool’s mission of impeaching the president late last year, even though it was crystal clear that the effort would not succeed.
While Pelosi pumped up her base by endlessly lobbing grenades at the White House, she simultaneously enraged Trump supporters. Polling shows that people who voted for the president in 2016 will vote for him again, and that Republican support for the president remains strong.
It was Pelosi who from the start dismissed and downplayed the rise of progressives like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezConservative group files ethics complaint over Ocasio-Cortez appearance at Met Gala If .5 trillion 'infrastructure' bill fails, it's bye-bye for an increasingly unpopular Biden The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by National Industries for the Blind - Schumer: Dem unity will happen eventually; Newsom prevails MORE (D-N.Y.) in her party, a force to be channeled constructively, not alienated. Allowing AOC to speak for only 60 seconds during the interminable Democratic convention was a miscalculation. The energy of the Squad might have disrupted the virtual gathering, but that misery-fest needed some disruption.
How can we tell Nancy Pelosi is rattled? Because, notwithstanding her reputation as a master politician, the Speaker is making mistakes.
First, stonewalling for weeks over another virus relief bill has created a potent attack line for Republicans. Just recently, Pelosi caved and is apparently set to begin talks with White House Chief of Staff Mark MeadowsMark MeadowsAllies see rising prospect of Trump 2024 White House bid The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - US prepares vaccine booster plan House panel probing Jan. 6 attack seeks Trump records MORE; this, after Meadows reportedly went to her office unannounced several days ago to arrange a meeting, only to be told the House Speaker was “busy.”
Busy? Too busy to send unemployment checks to struggling American families? Pelosi still insists she’s “not budging”; the White House can blame her for stalling needed help.
Her rhetoric has also become more extreme. Just recently she called Trump and Republicans in Congress “domestic enemies,” which was a new low, even for the increasingly erratic House Speaker. Ostentatiously ripping up the president’s State of the Union speech was embarrassing, but her escalating vitriol looks foolish — and desperate.
Also, Pelosi has offended progressives anew; she is backing Joe Kennedy III in his primary challenge against incumbent uber-liberal Edward MarkeyEd MarkeyOvernight Energy & Environment — Presented by Climate Power — Senate Democrats ding Biden energy proposal Six Democrats blast Energy Department's uranium reserve pitch Facebook draws lawmaker scrutiny over Instagram's impact on teens MORE in the Massachusetts Senate primary. Justice Democrats, home base for AOC and the Squad, have said her endorsement of Kennedy “reeks of hypocrisy” after the Speaker had condemned that group for supporting progressive primary challengers against sitting Democrats.
Even some of her closest allies in the House, like Jerry NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerAngelina Jolie spotted in Capitol meeting with senators House panel advances immigration language for reconciliation bill Hillicon Valley —Apple is not a monopoly, judge rules MORE (D-N.Y.) and Carolyn MaloneyCarolyn MaloneyOvernight Defense & National Security: US-Australian sub deal causes rift with France Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by Climate Power — Emissions heading toward pre-pandemic levels Oversight Republicans seek testimony from Afghanistan watchdog MORE (D-N.Y.), have split with her over the Kennedy endorsement.
Why would Pelosi be nervous about a Trump victory, with polls showing Biden comfortably in the lead?
First, the gap is closing, and especially in the critical swing states. The most recent poll from CNBC shows Biden ahead by only three points in the battleground states.
Second, America’s blue cities are in trouble, and Americans – including black Americans most injured by rising crime – are beginning to blame the Democrats in charge. CNN’s Trump-hating Don LemonDon Carlton LemonTucker Carlson says he lies when 'I'm really cornered or something' CNN's Chris Cuomo taking birthday vacation as calls for brother's resignation grow The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by AT&T - What happens to Cuomo now? MORE recently urged Biden to say something – anything – about the nightly riots in cities like Portland and, now, Kenosha. In an interview on CNN, Lemon admitted, “The rioting has got to stop…it’s showing up in the polling, it’s showing up in focus groups.”
Never mind that hundreds of small businesses, many of them minority-owned, are getting trashed; the important thing is what focus groups are saying. Good grief.
The prodding from CNN and other liberal outlets finally persuaded the former VP to speak out, but his condemnation of the violence was too little, and too late. His polling has continued downward.
Third, COVID-19, upon which threat Pelosi and her associates have banked everything, is on the decline. More worrisome for the Biden camp, the same CNBC poll shows that voters’ approval of how Trump has handled the pandemic has risen.
Fourth, her party’s convention was a total bust. Polling confirms that Biden got no bounce from the boring grievance-laden slog, while the betting odds on his reelection declined every day of the event, and continue to drop.
Fifth, it really is all about the economy. Growth this quarter and next will surpass expectations, which have continually been ratcheted higher. Home sales, vehicle sales, retail sales, hours worked, the PMIs for service and manufacturing, durable goods orders — all point to progress.
Unemployment is still high, but with companies gearing up to replenish inventories, hiring will increase. We are not out of the woods, but the trends are encouraging.
Finally, the Republican convention is showcasing the president’s considerable achievements, highlighting him bringing hostages home, creating opportunity zones, enacting criminal justice reform, pushing health care measures that have saved lives, revamping trade deals and so much more. While Republicans talk up policies to spur our progress, Biden pushes policies that Bernie Sanders rightly says would make him the “most progressive president since FDR.”
The tide has turned, Trump’s chances are rising and Biden is still in his basement. In her latest press conference, the Speaker declared that Biden should not debate the president. That’s how worried she is.
Pelosi barely won her Speakership at the convening of the last Congress in January, 2019; to win over those calling for new leadership, she agreed to measures that might force her to step down in 2022. My guess: If Trump wins, she won’t make it ‘til then.
Liz Peek is a former partner of major bracket Wall Street firm Wertheim & Company. Follow her on Twitter @lizpeek.