Nancy Pelosi, who opened up an impeachment inquiry of Donald Trump in response to pressure from the far-left base of her party, has issued a warning to the Democrats running for president: far-left proposals like Medicare for All and wealth taxes won’t help them defeat Trump in 2020. “What works in San Francisco does not necessarily work in Michigan. What works in Michigan works in San Francisco — talking about workers’ rights and sharing prosperity,” she said at a Bloomberg News roundtable on Friday. “Remember November. You must win the Electoral College.”
Pelosi was careful not to back any one candidate in the party’s contentious presidential contest, but didn’t hold back when asked about which ideas should – and shouldn’t – form the party’s case to American voters. Or about her fears that candidates like Warren and Sanders are going down the wrong track by courting only fellow progressives – and not the middle-of-the-road voters Democrats need to win back from Trump.
This is familiar ground for Pelosi, who has spent the year tussling with the “Squad,” a vanguard of liberal newcomers to the House led by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York.
“As a left-wing San Francisco liberal I can say to these people: What are you thinking?” Pelosi said. “You can ask the left — they’re unhappy with me for not being a socialist.”
Her call for caution is backed by the authority she carries as a giant of Democratic politics who rose from the left wing of the party to become the first female speaker of the House and has earned grudging praise from her foes for her skill as a legislator.
Pelosi then echoed Joe Biden, by arguing that Democrats should run on protecting Obamacare. “Protect the Affordable Care Act — I think that’s the path to health care for all Americans. Medicare For All has its complications,” she said. She also warned about supporting the Green New Deal. “There’s very strong opposition on the labor side to the Green New Deal because it’s like 10 years, no more fossil fuel. Really?” she said. Interestingly enough, Joe Biden caved to pressure and embraced the plan, despite the fact that he’s supposed to be the “centrist” alternative to the crazies.
It sounds to me that Nancy Pelosi realizes that she can’t control her party’s messaging anymore. She may be a wacko liberal at heart, but she knows you can’t win running on those policies. This is the same woman who said of Obamacare “we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.” Now she’s saying “You have to elect Democrats to find out what they support.”
Matt Margolis is the author of Trumping Obama: How President Trump Saved Us From Barack Obama’s Legacy and the bestselling book The Worst President in History: The Legacy of Barack Obama. You can follow Matt on Twitter @MattMargolis