Nancy Pelosi faces challenges from her own party as Dems gear up for 2020 elections: Report

September 11, 2019

In January of this year, Nancy Pelosi began her second tenure as House speaker. Soon after, Pelosi’s daughter praised her mother’s capacity for tough leadership, telling reporters that the California Democrat could “cut your head off, and you won’t even know that you’re bleeding” before insisting that “no one ever won by betting against Nancy Pelosi.”

But members of the so-called “Squad” seem willing to try her hand. Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) are all high-profile progressives with an aggressive agenda — and according to The Washington Times’ Gabriella Muñoz, that agenda doesn’t seem to align with the one Pelosi wants to advance.

Differing goals

While there’s a desire among the Democratic base to see President Trump impeached, the topic doesn’t poll well among the general population, which has prompted Pelosi to put the issue on the back burner. In contrast, many hard-left candidates explicitly campaigned on removing Trump from office, with Tlaib herself promising that she would try to “impeach the motherf****r.”

Moreover, Ocasio-Cortez made headlines earlier this year after she unveiled her so-called “Green New Deal,” a far-reaching climate-change-fighting proposal that would massively increase the cost of transportation, food, and electricity, Fox News reports. But according to Bloomberg, Pelosi seemed unimpressed by the negative publicity the proposal garnered, preferring a far more modest approach.

“We welcome all the enthusiasm that people want to put on the table, and the Green New Deal is one of them, but we have to operate in a way that’s evidence-based [and] current in its data,” Pelosi said after the proposal was announced in February.

In addition, all four women defied their party this summer by voting against legislation that Fox reported “would provide $4.6 billion in funding” for the ongoing crisis at the U.S.–Mexico border, further straining their relationship with their party’s leader.

Downplaying the opposition

For her part, Pelosi has tried to downplay the Squad’s influence, telling interviewer Maureen Dowd earlier this year: “All these people have their public whatever and their Twitter world. But they didn’t have any following. They’re four people and that’s how many votes they got.”

But the House speaker’s words garnered an angry reply from the likes of Ocasio-Cortez, who tweeted: “That public ‘whatever’ is called public sentiment. And wielding the power to shift it is how we actually achieve meaningful change in this country.”

Omar agreed in a tweet of her own, writing:

Patetico! You know they’re just salty about who is wielding the power to shift “public sentiment” these days, sis.

Not to be outshined, Pressley pushed back as well, stating, “This is a representative democracy. I took a vote that is consistent and in keeping with the district that I represent.”

Disagreement flared up again in July when Ocasio-Cortez accused Pelosi of racial bias, arguing that she was “singling out” the four “women of color” for criticism. And with Congress back in session, who knows what fights could soon come out of the Democratic Party?

Looking forward, it’s unclear how the rivalry will play out in 2020. But if the Squad keeps up their fight, Nancy Pelosi may find herself spending as much time battling her own caucus as she will Republicans in the coming months.

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Adam Peters

Adam Peters is a Conservative Institute staff writer.