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News & Press: Government Affairs News

Pelosi Hangs on to Democratic Leader Post

Thursday, December 1, 2016   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Bradley Coffey, MA, AAOE Government Affairs
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Washington, DC - House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) was victorious in her bid to continue serving the Democratic Caucus as leader in caucus elections held November 30. Pelosi was facing a challenge from Ohio Congressman Tim Ryan (D-OH) following Democrat's poor showing in the general elections held on November 8.

Pelosi had a wide margin of victory (134-63) but those 63 votes for Ryan could spell trouble in future leadership elections should Democrats continue to be unsuccessful in future electoral contests. Pelosi's detractors argue that the age of democratic leadership in the House (an average age of about 70) hurts the party as it tries to compete with Republicans for millennial voters. Pelosi's supporters argue that Democrat's woes in 2016 were to blame on the top of the ticket (i.e. Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine/Donald Trump and Mike Pence).

The schism highlights a bigger problem in the Democratic Caucus, the gap between affluent urban districts and poorer rural districts. Pelosi represents the City of San Francisco while Ryan represents a rural portion of Ohio. In his comments to the caucus, Ryan argued that the Democratic Party has abandoned its traditional base of blue-collar voters like those in his Ohio district (which the President-Elect carried).

Younger caucus members were also frustrated with the current leadership system pushing many to vote for Ryan. Presently, Democratic leadership and ranking members are chosen based on seniority which effectively freezes out younger members of the caucus and benefits caucus members from "safe" districts.

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