House Democrats vote for their next leader today. And there's an outside chance they won't re-elect House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).
Though Politico reported that Pelosi, who has led the Democratic caucus since 2002, remains the "overwhelming favorite to win re-election," she certainly isn't sailing towards that outcome without resistance.
Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) has put up a formidable challenge to Pelosi, as many Democrats who once supported Pelosi have switched loyalties in search of a fresh start. "Change is necessary. And the only way we're going to survive is to get change; they're connected. We've never changed anything since I've been here," said Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.). Another representative told BuzzFeed News, "I think the anybody-but-Pelosi sentiment is stronger than she thinks it is."
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Even if Pelosi wins, some change will likely be imminent. Already, Ryan's candidacy has spurred Pelosi to propose structural changes to the Democratic leadership and to appoint younger members. Pelosi will also have to grapple with whatever portion of her party votes against her.
But with Democrats preparing to face off against Donald Trump, Pelosi's adversarial experience with the last GOP president may actually be her saving grace. "She is steady, and experienced," said Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.). "She worked with Bush when she needed to, and effectively pushed against him when she needed to — I'm thinking specifically about the Iraq war and his desire to privatize Social Security."
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