Election 2016: Having been delivered a stern and unmistakable election message from the American people, the Democrats in Congress once again showed their political cluelessness by voting to return Nancy Pelosi to power as the Democratic House Minority Leader. Making mistakes is one thing, failing to learn from them is quite another.
By a vote of 134-63, Pelosi beat back a challenge to her leadership by Rep. Tim Ryan, a likable moderate from Ohio who sought to turn the increasingly far-left Democratic Party back toward the political center.
He didn’t succeed. That’s a very bad sign for the Democrats — but a great one for the Republicans.
Pelosi, the San Francisco Democrat who lives on Billionaire’s Row in that fabled city, has been accused of corruption, including steering federal subsidies to a corporation headed by a major Democratic Party donor in which Pelosi’s own husband owned a stake.
Her cluelessness is legendary. After the recent drubbing that the Democrats took at the polls, she deflected blame to others. “We cannot be taking the full responsibility for what happened in the election … a lot of it was beyond our control,” she said.
Actually, it was all in her control — along with President Obama and former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Together, the Democratic trifecta dragged their once-proud party of the working-class into the muck, turning it into a politically-correct, diversity-mongering victim party that appeals largely to the far left and coastal big-city elites. Politically, the Democratic Party has never been weaker nationally since at least the start of the Great Depression.
As for their accomplishments?
They passed two wildly unpopular, and unworkable, laws — ObamaCare and Dodd-Frank — as their legacy. Pelosi, as House Speaker, coyly told Americans that Congress would have to pass ObamaCare to know what was in it. This kind of contempt for the voters doesn’t sell well, especially in the parts of the country where common sense still reigns.
The $851 billion stimulus package stimulated exactly nothing, other than the nation’s debt. The economy’s pace crawled along at a 2% growth rate, a full third slower than the average growth rate of the postwar years. It was the worst performance since the Great Depression. Meanwhile, spending has soared, and the government has added $9 trillion in debt, with nothing to show for it other than the promise of higher taxes in the future. And the number of nonworking Americans is at an all-time high.
How has that worked out?
“She’s now such an effective stand-in for out-of-control, big-spending, out-of-touch progressivism that the National Republican Congressional Committee uses her in swing-district television ads every cycle,” wrote the National Review’s Jim Geraghty.
OK, so let’s review the wreckage of the Democratic Party.
Politically, the Democrats have never been weaker nationally since the start of the Great Depression. Democrats were handed losses in 2012 and again in 2014, based on their poor performance. Yes, President Obama was re-elected in 2012, causing backlash in 2016.
The fact is, today, Republicans control 33 governorships, and both chambers of 32 state legislatures. They have full control of both the governorship and state houses in 25 states. Only five states are controlled entirely by Democrats: California, Oregon, Hawaii, Rhode Island and Delaware. That’s the fewest in history. During the Obama era, Democrats lost 919 seats in state legislatures and 60 seats in the House of Representatives. And, by the way, the GOP retook the Senate.
How could this happen?
Democrats almost completely ignored the pain of struggling white, middle-class blue-collar workers in the Midwest, many of whom lost jobs in the globalization surge that has taken place since China became part of the world trade system. With some exceptions — socialist presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, for instance — few in the Democratic Party paid these people any heed.
But Pelosi has built a career on ignoring them, to her party’s detriment. And the party’s presidential standard-bearer, Hillary Clinton, seemed to have an open, sneering contempt for them, calling those who supported Donald Trump “a basket of deplorables” and gleefully telling supporters that she planned to kill thousands of coal-mining jobs.
As for Pelosi, give her this: She’s a terrific fundraiser. That’s about it.
Today, rather than taking seriously the challenge that middle-class angst and anger over the growing racial and economic divide in our country — in large part caused by the Democrats‘ relentless focus on race and class warfare — the Democratic Party is acting as if nothing happened. Most political parties, faced with a shocking reversal, reform themselves. Instead, the Democrats seem set to veer towards Jill Stein and the Green Party.
With the re-election of Nancy Pelosi as their House Minority Leader, the Democrats will have no one to blame but themselves.