President Donald Trump dispensed some advice to the Democratic Party in a humorous tweet Friday evening. He implored Democrats: “Please do not distance yourself from Nancy Pelosi … who should definitely be given a 4th chance” to turn the party around.
“She is trying very hard & has every right to take down the Democrat Party if she has veered too far left!” Trump concluded.
Trump’s message was an unconcealed attempt to mock Democrats for staking their future to a congressional leader who has single-handedly administered the demise of her own party. Pelosi’s name hasn’t helped Democratic candidates during primaries and special elections across the country, and Trump is pointing out that — no matter how hard they try to divorce themselves from her politics — Democrats must lay in the bed that Pelosi has made for them.
Democrats, please do not distance yourselves from Nancy Pelosi. She is a wonderful person whose ideas & policies may be bad, but who should definitely be given a 4th chance. She is trying very hard & has every right to take down the Democrat Party if she has veered too far left!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 10, 2018
With Pelosi at the helm, Democrats surrendered a majority in the House in 2010. Since then, things have turned progressively worse for liberal lawmakers who forfeited a majority in the Senate and lost control of governorships and state assemblies across the country.
Democrats are worried that their promised “blue wave” could lose steam because of Pelosi’s tarnished image. The San Francisco-based House Minority Leader is an unapologetic liberal elitist who many believe has lost touch with her own party.
Pelosi’s wealth and privilege were on display in February, when she referred to the money that middle-class citizens will save from the GOP tax plan as “crumbs.” At least five House Democrats rebuked her for making the tone-deaf comment.
“Language is important, and we have to be very careful that we don’t insult people by saying that the amount of money they get is crumbs,” Rep. Emmanuel Cleaver (D-MO) told Politico. “We cannot be seen as patricians.”
The Trump effect
Since then, at least 27 Democrats running for the House have declined to publicly endorse Pelosi. Anti-Pelosi messaging from Republicans in elections this last week helped propel Republicans to victory in special elections held in places like Ohio, where Troy Balderson defeated Democrat Danny O’Connor in a “tight race” for the state’s 12th congressional district.
President Trump voiced his support for Balderson in that election, and the mainstream press momentarily sought to assign the same toxicity to Trump’s support of Republicans as Democrats were experiencing from Pelosi. “Trump is the only figure who looms large over the midterms,” said Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill. “At the end of the day the midterms are about the president and his party, especially when they’re in control of every branch of government.”
However, that particular line of Democratic messaging vanished after Trump’s favored candidates went five for five in races throughout the nation last week.
“Clearly, the president’s support was pivotal in GOP primaries yesterday,” Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale said in a statement. “President Trump is delivering the right kind of leadership, results, and inspiration to unify our party at just the right time to keep America winning.”
A new vision
The same enthusiasm cannot be applied to Democratic leaders like Pelosi, whose name candidates from the left would prefer wasn’t mentioned at all. Rashida Tlaib, a Democratic Congressional candidate from Michigan, said that her constituents “don’t feel like they’re being heard, and I think that starts at the top with leadership.”
Rep. Brian Higgins (D-N.Y) told The Washington Post that he spoke to frustrated supporters about the Pelosi problem following the latest wave of GOP victories. “People pretend that it isn’t a problem, but it’s a problem that exists,” he said.
And as November approaches, the Democrats’ “problem” doesn’t appear to be going anywhere.