Former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is set to take the gavel again, polls and pundits suggest. The House Minority Leader managed to survive leading her party to one of the worst defeats in congressional history in 2010, after she ballooned the deficit and pushed Obamacare through passage.
In most democracies, defeated party leaders resign and allow new ones to emerge. But Pelosi clung to power, thanks to the fact that the only Democrats left were from urban enclaves like her own San Francisco.
Theoretically, having Democrats lead part of a divided government could play to President Donald Trump’s dealmaking skills. The fact is that most of the country’s major problems — the high cost of health care; the national debt; the sinking entitlements — cannot be solved without bipartisanship.
Unfortunately, Democrats are in no mood to compromise. And we know — since we saw Pelosi lead Congress in the last two years of President George W. Bush — that she will stop Congress from doing anything.
Instead, she will hold symbolic votes that put Republicans on the spot ahead of the 2020 elections. Her agenda is simple: impeach, tax, bail out.
Impeach. Pelosi has downplayed talk of impeachment on the campaign trail, and has let it be known that she is not happy with the effort of left-wing billionaire Tom Steyer to force the issue. But most of that irritation is just for show. Pelosi’s deputy, Steny Hoyer, has already accused Trump of “treason” and said that impeachment could be discussed after Democrats take the House.
Given that Republicans are likely to maintain control of the Senate — thanks to the fact that Democrats have 25 seats at stake, versus eight for the GOP — there is little chance that Trump would be convicted and removed from office. But Democrats will impeach the president merely to punish him for having been elected in the first place, and to placate their rabid “progressive” activists. They will also use the impeachment process and vote to make the case against Trump for the 2020 presidential election.
Tax. Pelosi infamously called the Republican tax cuts “crumbs” — then had to walk that back after companies started using their tax breaks to give their employees hefty bonuses. But she left no doubt that Democrats will raise taxes if and when they take the majority. (As she put it in May, Democrats want to “revise” the tax cuts.) Pelosi has trashed each month’s new jobs report as if America is suffering rather than prospering at 4.1% growth and record-low minority unemployment, especially among minorities.
The Senate — assuming it is still run by Republicans — will reject Pelosi’s new taxes. However, she intends to put each and every Republican senator up for re-election in 2020 — and there will be 20, versus only 11 seats at stake for Democrats — on record as supporting “tax cuts for the rich” versus whatever wonderful programs she can pretend the tax cuts would have been used to fund.
Bail Out. Obamacare cost Pelosi the Speaker’s gavel in 2010. Now it is costing American families thousands of dollars in monthly payments for high-deductible insurance policies that are often useless anyway. Republicans promised to repeal and replace it — but could not find the votes. Democrats want to keep the system afloat by bailing out insurers — though they cannot find the money. Their real goal is socialized medicine — “Medicare for All” — as conservatives had warned was Democrats’ intent from the start.
Senate Republicans should reject that — but then again, they may not. If the upper chamber remains as closely divided as it is today, Democrats would just need a few defections from swing-state Senators to impose government health care on America.
In sum, Speaker Pelosi 2.0 offers a do-nothing Congress, whose agenda will be to remove Trump — by impeachment if possible, by election if necessary.
And despite Pelosi’s deep unpopularity, she will be the Speaker in November — unless the voters stop her.