Pelosi is a Litmus Test for Change

John Henderson
Nov 22, 2018 · 4 min read
J. Scott Applewhite — Pool/Getty Images

The Democratic Party’s capability of change is being tested. I said many times before the Midterm Elections that the best possible outcome for progress might be for Democrats to not win the House majority, forcing them to do some serious soul-searching and introspection. I align with the Green Party more than any other, so it isn’t without a tinge of cringe that I say such an internal audit by the Democratic Party, reviewing their policies and changing their focus, would make them much more likely to win in 2020. Conversely, I said if they win the majority it would show them there is no need for change, that they can win elections simply by focusing on Trump and identity politics, keeping the same old deadly foreign policies and domestic policies of despair. The reasons now being given for Pelosi clinging to power are providing bittersweet vindication of my prediction as they cite winning the majority as a reason that they are on the right track.

Let’s examine why Pelosi does need to go. By quelling the cries for Medicare For All, and even promoting the common Republican position of leaving it up to states, she is effectively fighting against it. Pelosi is against Single Payer Healthcare. This should come as no surprise given her statements and Schumer’s statements, Chuck Schumer being a fellow staple of the the old guard, even if sometimes spoken with a forked tongue in craftily convoluted political double-speak, on capitalism and the importance of protecting the well-being of the poor helpless insurance companies. She shuns the growing popularity of socialism. You may be able to deduce your own conclusions from her corporate donations or some of them vowing to withhold their injection of influence if their faithful servant is deposed. Cenk Uygur, who has been on a role lately, even to those who have written him off due to certain positions at critical moments, nailed some of these points recently

I’m not going to put too much weight into Trump’s endorsement. The photo of her shaking hands with him is more of a general critique of Washington’s political theater, how they persuade you that the “other side” is going to destroy all life as we know it, is Hitler reincarnated and has either fascism or communism goosestepping its way into the country, an unforgivable enemy, but they have no problem laughing and smiling together at the end of the day, unlike most of the country that had been subjected to the first part. Although Marcia Fudge’s criticism of Pelosi is generally identity politics, it does carry some weight for me. It appears her convictions are also only skin deep, as she has now given in to the weight of Washington and endorsed Pelosi. The latest upcoming progressive champion and icon of socialism, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, has also endorsed Pelosi. The litmus test isn’t looking good.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez says she endorses Pelosi because her challengers are “to the right” of her, but Pelosi is to the right of center, to the right of popular ideas. If only there were some brave progressive to step up against Pelosi, someone more inline with popular positions, someone elected to fight for such ideas. In the end, she is supporting the status quo, supporting someone against Single Payer, a staunch corporatist who shuns the positions of the party’s own voters. This is good old fashioned lesser-evilism. I watch all potential progressive champions closely, and this is a legitimate criticism against her.

It could be argued that Nancy Pelosi deserves to lead the party, that she represents its policies and practices, but that’s my point. More Republican voters (52%) than Democratic Senators (34%) support Medicare For All, contrasting more so with their own voters (85%). Pelosi represents the party, but not the people. The party doesn’t represent its own voters. This is a major political opportunity for someone to stand up and stand out. Is there no brave populist left in the Democratic Party?