Since becoming Speaker of the House in January, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has had to balance the goals of far-left progressives in her party with moderate Democrats who won districts in 2018 that Donald Trump had carried in 2016.
And, in ways that have surprised a lot of skeptics, she has done an excellent job of uniting the various Democratic factions, a job which some people have likened to herding cats. She has done it by keeping everyone focused on the main prize: winning.
Nancy Pelosi, the only woman to become speaker of the House – not once, but twice – is plowing forward with her agenda. https://t.co/vmqGbj6VcA
— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) April 8, 2019
In a major new interview, Pelosi said that the secret to her success — and to her party’s success — is to get Democrats to “unite around the boldest common denominator.”
“While there are people who have a large number of Twitter followers, what’s important is that we have large numbers of votes on the floor of the House,” Pelosi said, alluding to such social media stars as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), who has 4 million Twitter followers.
“I’m a progressive from San Francisco. I think I can have some credentials on the left, as a person who has represented a very liberal city,” Pelosi said, “But you have to govern mainstream.”
When she was asked how far-left progressive Democrats responded when she told them they needed to agree on House bills that they can actually pass, she responded by saying simply, “They’re fine.”
“As I say to my own district ‘you go out and elect 218 people, just like San Francisco, then we can talk,’” she added. In other words, she knows how to get things done, instead of just talking about getting things done.
While progressives such as Ocasio-Cortez openly embrace socialism, sweeping action on climate change, and a government-run single-payer healthcare system, Pelosi is constantly trying to piece together coalitions of diverse members to get legislation passed.
Ocasio-Cortez and other progressives have been openly critical of Democratic leadership, saying that they compromise too much and sometimes even vote with Republicans.
Over the weekend Pelosi was in Missouri, helping Rep. Lacy Clay (D-Missouri) promote policies that have united Democrats: expanding voting rights, jobs growth and cleaning up corruption in government.
“Just Win, Baby”
Even though there has been Democratic infighting Pelosi remains 100% focused on promoting the issues that will help Democrats retain control of the House after the 2020 elections.
As she said during the 2018 campaign when told that some moderate Democrats were criticizing her, she responded by saying she didn’t care about criticism. “Just win, baby,” she said.
And that’s what Democrats did in 2018, in the largest midterm victory in history. And that’s what Democrats will do again in 2020 as they focus on solving the problems of Americans while at the same time cleaning up the mess in Washington caused by Donald Trump and his administration.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.