House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) could be moving toward the end of her political career over the course of the coming year.
With the mounting likelihood that the GOP will regain majority status in next year’s midterm election, Pelosi would be relegated to minority leader, which has sparked widespread speculation that she might step down from Congress altogether in an effort to avoid such a fate.
House Democrats have arguably suffered under Pelosi’s leadership and, following her retirement, the party could have an opportunity to reconsider and reform its stagnant platform.
Along with Pelosi, establishment Democrats including President Joe Biden have represented an anchor to the agenda of decades past. Some in her own caucus would surely welcome a chance to promote younger leadership.
Of course, Majority Leader (D-MD) and Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-SC) would be among the obvious choices to replace her — and both of them are in their 80s.
Despite speculation that Jeffries is on the fast track to Party leadership, however, he reportedly has some bad blood with some far-left Democrats like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a fellow New Yorker.
Nevertheless, his focus on social issues has resulted in a strong base within the party and represents something of a divide between his priorities and those of Democrats focused on environmental issues.
An ideological chasm is likely to exist in the party even after Pelosi and other old-guard Democrats retire.
The rise of identity politics has made unity nearly impossible and each wing of the party believes its cause to be the most important. In the end, new blood might result in a much-needed perspective shift for the Democratic Party — but it likely won’t have the unifying effect some optimistic members are predicting.
Pelosi responded in November to speculation surrounding her retirement, specifically related to her prior remarks that would indicate this is her final term in the House.
“I don’t want to undermine any leverage I may have, but I made the statement,” she said at the time.