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2019 is going to be a tough year for Nancy Pelosi

Greg Nash

Nancy Pelosi is stuck between a rock and a hard place. She has been in Congress for more than three decades but the coming year, 2019, might be her most difficult challenge yet. 

Pelosi (D-Calif.), the presumed next House speaker, is doing a tight-rope act — somehow trying to balance high on the wire while two factions hang off either side of her, attempting to pull her off. The radical, progressive Democratic base, represented by the likes of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), are clawing for power and representation, while the more moderate members of the caucus are starting to feel hot under the collar about the direction this new revolution is taking. 

{mosads}One wing is pushing for party and legislative radicalism, popular in the deepest-blue enclaves of the East and West coasts, while the other is watching in fear that they will go too far because, in 2020, the GOP might pick off those who’ve masqueraded as centrists and blue-dog Democrats. 

The fact of the matter is, Pelosi’s position is untenable. She won’t be able to fend off attacks from both directions, satisfy her base and big-dollar donors, protect her moderate allies and still make substantive policy in the House. 

The Democrats’ case for control of the White House in 2020 leans, in large part, on their legislative decisions. Will Pelosi and company choose obstruction, investigation and impeachment? Or will they work with Republicans to push forward policy proposals that the American people actually want? 

If I was a betting man, I wouldn’t put money on the latter. Democrats will be all about investigating, not legislating, partly from a desire of House committee chairmen like Reps. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) and Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), who have been salivating over the opportunity to take a pound of President Trump’s flesh — and, quite frankly, the base expects nothing less. We can be guaranteed that Democrats in the House will overplay their hands on almost every front. Yet, to be fair, investigating the Trump administration might be all they can really do. None of their ideas, such as “Medicare for All,” will get past the Republican Senate, much less the veto pen of Trump.

Adding to Pelosi’s troubles is the fact that the big-money donors who fund many political campaigns, along with liberal pressure groups, aren’t on the same page, either. California mega-donor Tom Steyer has basically chosen to burn through stacks of money, buying candidates and nonprofits to push his Trump-impeachment agenda. Steyer spent the last two years running in-your-face impeachment advertisements, lobbying Congress to take out the president before the 2020 campaigns even begin. But that’s not his only strategy; Steyer is exploring a self-centered run for president, following in the vein of such party luminaries as Al Gore, and thanks to Democrats watering down their primary process, he might have a better chance than most.

The hard-left owns the Democratic Party now and, pretty soon, they’ll be evicting anyone who doesn’t swear fealty to their policies, which are well left of the American mainstream. Earlier this year the party changed its presidential nominating rules, stripping some power from superdelegates. For the moderate wing of the party, which was already dying off anyway, this will likely spell Dodo-bird extinction. The organizing energy (and money) on the left is fueling progressive activism, which means that in the not-too-distant future, we’ll still have the Democratic Party — it’s just that it will be a socialist one.

This year saw Democratic candidates unafraid of real socialism, government-run health care, and massive takeovers of the economy. This will be the norm in the future. Now Rep.-elect Ocasio-Cortez is pushing the “Green New Deal,” which doesn’t just double down on President Obama’s Solyndra-style energy proposals: it quadruples down, facts be damned that Solyndra costs taxpayers more than half a billion dollars. This kind of radical “burn the rich, tax the middle, and regulate the rest” progressivism isn’t going to work in America. In many ways, we’re seeing the results of that in Europe right now. 

You’d think, after Brexit, that folks “across the pond” would reevaluate their direction, but French President Emmanuel Macron marches on, straight into the teeth of a population that’s rejecting his high-tax orthodoxy based on the elites’ quasi-religious belief in manmade global warming. If Pelosi wants to end up in the same spot as Macron, all she has to do is follow Ocasio-Cortez’s lead. 

We already know that 2019 is going to be a rough year for Donald Trump. But it’s also going to be a very rough year for Nancy Pelosi, a year that will test her high-wire balancing act to its very limits. For some, it’s not a matter of if she falls off — simply just a matter of when. 

Ned Ryun is a former presidential writer for President George W. Bush and the founder and CEO of American Majority, which trains conservative political candidates and activists.

Tags Adam Schiff Al Gore Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Bernie Sanders Donald Trump Elijah Cummings Elizabeth Warren Jerry Nadler Maxine Waters Nancy Pelosi Nancy Pelosi

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