Politics

Nancy Pelosi surfs the ‘blue wave’

Published: 20. 1. 2019
Author: Andrew Snelling
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Many people have mixed feelings seeing at the results from the 2018 midterm elections in the United States. It was not exactly the ‘blue wave’ promised by many Democrats in the weeks leading up to the big day, however, there were several surprising swings that have balanced the share of power a bit between the two parties.


The biggest change is the Democrats taking the majority of the House of Representatives, and with that, a change of leadership in the House. The Minority leader for the last eight years, Nancy Pelosi, is likely to try to pursue a position she once held, Speaker of the House. 

The speaker is selected by the other members of the House when the session of Congress opens. Traditionally, the Democratic party has always nominated their minority leader for the vote. Representatives are expected to vote for their party’s candidate, although they are free to vote for whomever they choose; but they must deal with the consequences that accompany going against the party.

Pelosi was the first woman in the position. Additionally, the first Californian, and only the second from the West Coast. Being the Speaker of the House also makes the person in the position the leader of the majority party in the House. As leader of the minority party for the better part of the last decade, Pelosi should find it an easy transition back into to the role. 

In her first stint as Speaker, she was not very well liked. Her approval ratings were low; she went against her constituents and other Democrats who were pushing for the Impeachment of George W. Bush. However, after the 2008 elections, which was a huge success for the Democrats, including the election of Barak Obama, she saw her popularity spike. With Obama, she took a leading role on the health care reform agenda, known as Obamacare. Thus, making up a bit for her decision as Minority Leader to block Social Security reforms in Bush’s second term, despite this being generally against the ideals of the Democratic party.

Since again becoming Minority Leader, she has become less popular in the party. The Democrats have been struggling since the 2016 elections and many see the problem as being the leadership of the party. It was even at the point that she had to defend her seat against fellow Democrat, Tim Ryan. A contest she easily won. 

With the recent surge the Democrats are feeling, albeit not quite realising or capitalising on, it looks like Pelosi will be the Speaker of the House and the Majority Leader come January. Having been in this position before and hopefully having learnt a bit from that experience, the Democrats hope that Pelosi will lead the party to winning the White House in 2020, along with more seats in both the Senate and the House and all the way down to the state and local level. It will not be an easy two years. Republicans still control the two other branches of the US Government, Executive and Judicial, and the upper house of the Legislative branch, the Senate. 

With the power they have, however, hopefully the Democrats can work to reduce some of the damage that has been done under the current administration, and prevent any future damage that may come.


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