On Monday, Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-Ill.) said she would not seek another term as chairwoman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), the House Democrats’ campaign arm, after the Democrats took a painful shellacking in the 2020 elections. Saikat Chakrabarti, former chief of staff to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and the co-founder of Justice Democrats (which launched AOC), said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) should be the one to resign.
“In any other country, Pelosi would be stepping down right now,” Chakrabarti tweeted.
In any other country, Pelosi would be stepping down right now.https://t.co/AOhXUvS6Ox
— Saikat Chakrabarti (@saikatc) November 10, 2020
Bustos had campaigned for the leadership of the DCCC, promising to help win races in swing districts, including those President Donald Trump had won in 2016. Yet last week, House Democrats lost seats to a rising tide of Republicans. Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) even suggested that Republicans can oust Pelosi from the speakership by joining with the ten Democrats who voted against Pelosi for the speakership in 2019.
Bustos barely survived her own reelection campaign, winning by four percentage points after she had won by more than 20 points in 2016 and 2018.
It seems Chakrabarti was referencing a parliamentary system when he said Pelosi would be stepping down “in another country.” In a parliamentary system, the prime minister would resign after losing a “vote of no confidence.”
The Democratic Party is facing something of a civil war, with both the far-Left AOC wing and the more moderate wing of the party blaming the other for their political defeats on Election Day. While Democrat Joe Biden currently leads in most of the results in swing states (a lead Trump is challenging with lawsuits), Democrats failed to take the majority in the U.S. Senate and they lost seats in the House.
More moderate Democrats have blamed the party’s lurch toward socialism for their losses. It seems Trump’s anti-socialism message may have resonated with Cubans, Venezuelans, Colombians, and others who either fled socialism personally or whose recent ancestors fled the horrors of socialism. Two Cuban-American Republicans won election to the House in Miami-Dade.
Republicans gained among minorities and women in the 2020 elections, and the number of Republican women elected to Congress hit a new record.
Meanwhile, radicals like AOC have blamed the moderates, claiming that if the Democrats doubled down on socialist policies, they would have won more seats. Chakrabarti’s salvo against Pelosi seems to be another part of this backlash.
While the moderates are likely more correct in their assessment of the election, the radicals are likely to win the Democratic civil war. If so, Republicans will make even more gains in 2022.
Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.