Democrats must win the House in 2018. The major reason is that a man who behaves as a narcissist and sociopath, seemingly without the slightest capacity for growth, occupies the most important office in the world.
And, the entire world is on tenterhooks.
As Speaker, and as Minority Leader, Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) performed and performs well. She was both an effective leader in creating majorities, when she had them, and a skilled tactician in leading a minority.
So, to be clear, my argument that she needs to step down is not based on her skills or performance.
It is simple arithmetic. She is from San Francisco, a city Republicans have been effective in conjuring in peoples’ minds as a symbol of elitism and the extremes of cultural diversity.
Hence, no matter how good and local a Democratic candidate is in a congressional election between the coasts, and no matter how opposed to their district’s real needs a Republican candidate is, they can gain the upper hand by repeating over and over again, as they do, that the Democrat is just another liberal elitist whose real values are not local but defined by Nancy Pelosi 3000 or 2000 or 1000 miles away.
With the dark money Citizens United has allowed shady Republican groups to spend, it is a connection that is very difficult for a mid-western, southern or mountain state democrat to overcome. It is an added hurdle with which Democratic candidates should not have to contend.
Congressman Tim Ryan ran against Nancy Pelosi for Minority Leader. Ryan is from a working-class district in Ohio, and is 43 years old. If Ryan were leader, there would be no mileage in Republicans linking a congressional candidate to him.
Indeed, there would be great mileage for democratic congressional candidates connecting themselves to him.
Let me be clear. Democrats are champions at losing elections. Pelosi stepping down, and Ryan assuming the leadership will not, itself, enable Democrats to win Congress in 2018.
It will remove an obstacle. An obstacle Democrats can ill afford. An obstacle to holding Donald Trump accountable.