Thursday, 15 Nov 2018

Will the Democrats in the House help or hinder the party's chances of victory in 2020?

The first major event of the 2020 presidential cycle will not take place in Iowa nor in New Hampshire. This will not be the first round of fundraising reports next spring, nor will there be loud applause peaks during the first cattle calls for potential Democratic candidates. Instead, it will be held in the nation's capital to test wills between the president of the new Democrat-controlled House and President Trump.

This leader may well be Nancy Pelosi, the current minority leader in the House and former Speaker of the House. She was the star of many Republican ads aired in the elections this fall and a favorite of the president. Republicans say she's a toxic political figure of the GOP's base. She is also a tough and clever politician and a competent legislator who led her party to victory last Tuesday.

However, many Democratic candidates fled during the election campaign, vowing not to support her for another Democratic leadership term. She mostly ignored this during the campaign, urging candidates to do what they needed, but to "win, baby," as she said at an appearance at the Harvard Institute of Politics in October.

Her post-election efforts revealed no concern that she will not be elected president. The day after the elections, she held a press conference immediately after the meeting between the president and the press corps at the White House. She then followed an interview with CNN in prime time, as well as announcements and announcements regarding the work of the House. She continues to be the face of a Democratic party that now has the power to confront the President in a way that they would not have been able to over the past two years. last years.

Pelosi plays his cards nearby. The moment of truth for those of her party who would not want to see her come soon. From this week, we could have a better idea of ​​the reality of the threat hanging over his candidacy. At this point, there is no challenger who has come forward, only the names are quarreling. His allies continue to express almost total confidence in his ability to prevail. The next few days will tell if she underestimates her desire for new leadership in a new House.

Regardless of the outcome of the leadership elections, what the Democratic leaders are doing with the power they now have could increase the chances of nominating the party's presidential candidate in 2020 for victory at the White House, or could diminish them and give Trump a head start on his reelection. There is a precedent for the latter that provides lessons for the new Democratic majority in the House.

In this photo of December 7, 2017, President Trump's vice president, Pence, met with congressional leaders – from left to right, House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.), The Head of the minority in the House, Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Majority of the Senate. Chief Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) And Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (DN.Y.) – at the White House. (Jabin Botsford / The Washington Post)

At this time, 24 years ago, Newt Gingrich was the king of Washington, the giant killer who ended 40 years of democratic rule in the House. The Georgian Republican had the entire central scene, in Washington and at the national level, with a power and a contract with America that he was determined to implement. President-in-Office Bill Clinton was a politically ill-treated and diminished figure in the aftermath of the 1994 mid-term elections.

A year later, things seemed very different. Gingrich was stuck in a clash with Clinton over the budget, which resulted in a government shutdown, for which he and his party had the bulk of the blame. He was caricatured in a New York tabloid as a baby, after complaining that he could not talk to the president during a flight on Air Force One. His presidency took a hit, and the collateral damage turned out to be Bob Dole's hope of defeating Clinton in the 1996 election.

Dole, then Senate Republican leader and pioneer of the GOP nomination, was found throughout 1995 as a hostage to Gingrich and House Republicans. He was attached to the boardwalk with Gingrich and had no ability to separate.

In the early spring of 1996, the Democrats launched an advertising blitz between Dole and Gingrich that left a lasting impression on the electorate, the "Dole-Gingrich Monster," as Scott Reed, Dole's campaign manager, called it. in this campaign.

"It was the demonization of Newt, and Newt bit on the hook," he said. Reed suspects that Trump will find something different in Pelosi if she speaks from January. "I think Pelosi is much smarter, finer and more understanding of work," he said. "She has work experience and she understands the exchanges with the President and the White House."

Pelosi defined a program for House Democrats, starting with a package that includes reforms to campaign financing, voting rights, and government operations. The agenda includes health care and infrastructure. With respect to health care and infrastructure, the president could be prepared to deal with the Democrats, a win-win rapprochement that could happen if the stars line up.

But this is the other part of the agenda of the Democrats that complicate relations with Trump, as he clearly explained during his press conference after the elections. House Democrats will have the power to exercise control over the administration, which the current Republican majority has failed to do. Until where and with what aggression goes the question that will set the tone for next year, maybe more. Trump warned against a total war if the Democrats committed to it, without specifying its red lines.

Pelosi was cautious and cautious in his comments on the investigative powers, particularly on the issue of initiating a dismissal investigation. It communicates regularly with the legislators who will oversee the main committees. She reiterated time and time again that no effort should be made to dismiss a president for political reasons.

If Special Advocate Robert S. Mueller III submits a report of crimes or violations of the Constitution, the Chamber will almost certainly adopt a dismissal procedure. But it's the shadow zone between the control of this or that agency and a president-centric investigation that will require the exercise of the Democratic leader's judgment in the House.

What no one can predict at this point is the pressure of Pelosi, if she is the president, and other well-known Democrats will feel from a grassroots base desiring the president to take office directly. Republicans with experience on Capitol Hill predict that the pressure on the Democrats to act against the President could be overwhelming.

One of them pointed out that many Democrats said that they had to be careful not to go too far and compared that to the Republicans who had declared that the closure of the government did not go too far. was not a good idea. "They then received 5,000 calls a day from voters and they did it," he said. "It's hard to believe that Democrats will not be captive for that."

Pelosi knows his caucus, which has been his greatest strength as a leader. But the mid-term elections recalled that supporters of the party's base now had significant power. It remains to be seen if this is manifested as a left-wing version of the freedom caucus in the House, but what has been sparked by opposition to the President will be felt in House Democrats over the next few months. As one Republican legislator said about Pelosi: "She must avoid becoming a failure in the bid for Trump's reelection."

However, it must first meet a challenge within its own ranks. Its allies say that it is ready to take up these challenges, from within and from the White House. They will be the biggest tests of his long career.


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