The Silence of the Speaker

As GOP gain seats in the House, Nancy Pelosi’s job heads towards uncertainty

Kyle Hawley and Josh Bass

Though the left lost some crucial races, Democrats still lead in House races by 218-201. The party managed to establish the majority, as they needed to hold at least 218 seats. Regardless of the fact that Democrats retained their majority in the House, Republicans have flipped ten seats, resulting in a net gain of seven to their coalition so far. The number is expected to increase as votes continue to be counted.

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The lightly shaded colors of certain congressional districts signal which party’s candidate is leading in that race. If all of the leads are maintained, Democrats will hold a narrow majority of 220 to the Republicans’ 212. The only district not colored is Louisiana’s District 5, as there needs to be a runoff election in accordance with state election laws.

While it is confirmed that the Democrats will continue to lead the House, their losses have not gone unnoticed by the American people and congressional representatives alike.

“From a congressional standpoint, it was a failure,” said moderate U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger (D-VA). “It was not a success. We lost members we shouldn’t have lost.” Spanberger narrowly won her reelection in a traditionally Republican district.

According to sources on a Democratic representative conference call the day after the election, Spanberger reportedly blamed the phrases “socialism” and “defund the police” as reasons why so many of her liberal colleagues lost their races. She is referencing the Democratic progressives in Congress who are attempting to enact socialist-linent policies like the Green New Deal, which divide the DNC’s base even further. She said in this private, not realizing it was on the record.

Contrary to Spanberger’s comments, progressive leftists managed to expand their seat count in Congress’ lower chamber. All four members of “The Squad” — a progressive group consisting of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan — won their reelection bids. They will most likely add new members to this team as the number of progressives in Congress increases.

Now that the Democrats’ job of ousting Trump is near complete, the unity between moderate and progressive Democrats is seemingly vanishing. In a post-election interview with The New York Times, Rep. Ocasio-Cortez warned that if President-elect Joe Biden does not put progressives in top senior positions or his cabinet, the party will increasingly divide and lose big in the 2022 U.S. Midterm Elections.

With leftists demanding more progressive officials and Republicans’ collective hatred towards the presiding leadership, many news outlets and political analysts are predicting unity between individuals with polar opposite views. It is almost certain that Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and “The Squad” will be teaming up to oust U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

“It is ironic if the parties remove Nancy Pelosi from her title,” said conservative senior Jacob Fernicola, president of McLean’s Investor’s Club. “Biden ran on this platform of unity and it will be unfortunate for the speaker if this message backfires on her.”

Pelosi made history in 2009 by being the first woman to hold the gavel and held it until 2011. After former Speaker Paul Ryan retired from Congress and the GOP lost its control, newly elected progressives like Ocasio-Cortez and sitting moderates believed that Pelosi should not return to the position.

Pelosi, the San Francisco-area representative, told the DNC bloc she would not run again after 2022 if the Democrats retained the House. While she is not breaking any promises by running in 2020, Pelosi sent a letter to her Democratic colleagues on Nov. 5 announcing her candidacy for another two years as speaker.

According to Fox News, Pelosi is 10 votes short of continuing her tenure, as opposed to the seven votes she needed in 2018. As Republicans gain more seats than expected, a deal might be struck between the parties to nominate a new speaker of the House. Her crusade against the President by passing the Articles of Impeachment and voting down GOP-sponsored coronavirus relief packages will most likely backfire on her.

In 2018, Reps. Ed Perlmutter of Colorado, Linda T. Sánchez of California, Bill Foster of Illinois, Seth Moulton of Massachusetts, Filemon Vela of Texas and Tim Ryan of Ohio all forfeited their speakership bids in a proposal by Pelosi to put an end date on her role. They may pursue their own bids this cycle now that the opportunity has arisen and a Democratic stronghold in the House following 2022 is no longer certain.

These contenders and progressives, along with the Democrats and Republicans who did not vote for Pelosi in 2018, may put the speaker’s job in jeopardy.

“I hope that Nancy Pelosi isn’t the speaker anymore,” said liberal senior Emma Steel, leader of the Equity Task Force for the Committee on Raising Student Voices. “She has had a long, successful tenure as not only the speaker but also as a congresswoman. It’s time for new blood.”