In the aftermath of four Special Election defeats, including a devastating loss in Georgia’s Sixth District, Democrats are trying to figure out where it all went wrong.

Democrats were expecting anti-Trump *Resistance* to be enough. But it wasn’t. It’s not that focusing intently on the opposing party’s leader doesn’t work anymore. It’s that the leader against whom such a tactic worked wasn’t Republican Donald Trump, but Democrat Nancy Pelosi.

Supporters of Karen Handel pegged Democrat Jon Ossoff as just another Pelosi puppet. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution noted the Pelosi effect:

President Donald Trump may have been the 800-pound gorilla in Georgia’s 6th District race, but Nancy Pelosi ended up being the albatross.

Republican Karen Handel’s larger-than-expected win over Democrat Jon Ossoff Tuesday proved how potent her side’s messaging regarding the House minority leader could be in mobilizing GOP voters.

Handel and her allies took every opportunity on the campaign trail to frame Ossoff as a shill for the California Democrat whose values were more in line with Pelosi’s home base of San Francisco than Georgia’s.

“Let me tell you something, he’s a puppeteer and the strings are being pulled by Democrats and the Nancy Pelosi,” Agriculture Secretary and former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue said of Ossoff at a rally last weekend.

Here’s an example of an ad tying Ossoff to Pelosi:

It’s a tactic Republicans have used successfully for several election cycles, even when Obama was on the ballot and otherwise popular. Under Pelosi’s control, Democrats lost their majority in the House in the 2010 Tea Party wave which openly was an anti-Pelosi movement because of her role in passing Obamacare.

Pelosi strolling towards the Capitol with a large gavel in hand became an iconic image which could rally Republican troops.

And it worked in Georgia again.

While there have been grumblings and tentative challenges to Pelosi’s minority leadership in the House, in the wake of the Georgia loss those grumblings are out in the open and becoming more heated.

Politico reports, Pelosi faces growing doubts among Dems after Georgia loss:

….the fact that Republicans spent millions of dollars on TV ads tying Democratic hopeful Jon Ossoff to Pelosi — and the brand of progressive policies she represents — shows that she will once again be an issue for Democratic challengers in the very districts that the party needs to win to make her speaker again….

“I think you’d have to be an idiot to think we could win the House with Pelosi at the top,” said Rep. Filemon Vela (D-Texas), who supported Pelosi in her last leadership race. “Nancy Pelosi is not the only reason that Ossoff lost. But she certainly is one of the reasons.”

Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-N.Y.), who backed a challenge to Pelosi last year, said the results of the Ossoff race further underscore that Pelosi should let someone else take the reins.

“There comes a time when every leader has to say, ‘For the good of the order and for the betterment of the party, it’s time for me to step aside.’ And I wish that that would happen right now,” Rice said in an interview. “This is not a personal thing. I want to get back in the majority.”

Aaron Blake at The Washington Post writes The Democrats’ persistent Pelosi problem:

[Representative] Vela is right that Pelosi isn’t the reason Ossoff lost. She may not even be the biggest reason (there was the conservative lean of the district, Ossoff’s residency issues, questions about his message, etc.). But it’s also pretty clear — and has been for some time — that in the types of districts Democrats need to win to retake the majority, she is an effective cudgel. And more than that, she’s about the only good cudgel Republicans have left right now.

Polls have regularly shown this, of course. But now that President Barack Obama is out of office, Pelosi is really the only game in town for the GOP. And notably more than six years after her speakership ended after the 2010 election, she continues to draw similarly passionate opposition….

And as shorthand for “liberal,” you can’t get much better than the House minority leader from San Francisco.

How bad is the Pelosi brand? DEMOCRAT Joe Cunningham is running for Congress in the 1st District of South Carolina promising that if elected, he will not support Pelosi:

None of this is likely to deter Pelosi from retaining her leadership position. She’s already rallying the troops, as AP reports:

The House Democratic leader is seeking to reassure Democrats dejected after a loss in a Georgia special election where the party invested millions of dollars.

Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California says in a letter to colleagues Wednesday that when President Donald Trump nominated House members to serve in his administration, he chose them from Republican districts the party knew it could win.

She says Democrats “gave them a run for their money in all of them.”

Pelosi insists Democrats still have a shot at winning the majority in next year’s midterm elections, saying, “The House remains in play now.”

Will Democrats finally throw Pelosi overboard to save the party? Republicans sure are hoping the Democrats keep her just where she is.


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