After string of defeats, Democrats rudderless in Trump era

Claudine Rigal
Juin 25, 2017

"She just doesn't help our candidates in those swing districts with independent voters and Republican voters", Vela said on CNN's "Newsroom" Friday.

When all was said and done, the race came down to a conservative Republican and a liberal Democrat.

Just hours before the news conference, moderate Democratic Rep. Kathleen Rice of NY reiterated her call that it was time for Pelosi to step aside.

"The Democratic Party needs new leadership now", Cunningham tweeted on Wednesday.

"I had a member of Congress grab me tonight, "Please, tell me you're not going to get rid of Nancy Pelosi; please, tell me she's not going to retire" because that's who I run against", he said.

Despite calling Pelosi a "historic figure" and "prolific fundraiser", the Texas congressman also questioned whether her fundraising efforts were really worth it.

The party fielded a hodgepodge of candidates in four special elections in recent months, including a banjo-strumming cowboy poet in Montana.

Said Rice: "The Republican playbook has been very successful".

"I'd like to keep her right where she is, because our record is extraordinary against her", Trump said in a Fox News interview.

There's also an even more basic reality: Showing that the party will dump its leader if Republicans are persistently negative enough about that leader only gives the GOP more incentive to use aggressive tactics - and puts the next Democratic leader on tepid ground from the outset.

"Usually they go after the most effective leaders because they want to diminish the opportunity that we have", Pelosi said.

Following Ossoff's loss, Democrats were quick to point out that the Georgia district was gerrymandered, that it had been in Republican hands since Newt Gingrich held the seat, and that Handle won a close race, while her Republican predecessor had won by a large margin. Republican Karen Handel beat Democrat Jon Ossoff by around 5 percentage points in the suburban Atlanta district previously represented by Tom Price, now the Health and Human Services secretary.

Georgia's 6th shares numerous same characteristics as the districts that Democrats believe will pave their way to a House majority in 2018. Moulton added, "The takeaway from the meeting is that we want to win again in 2018". Since 2002, Pelosi has hauled in $568 million for House Democratic campaigns - including $141 million during the 2016 campaign cycle.

But at her weekly press conference, Pelosi shrugged of concerns that she was dragging down the party.

"I certainly hope the Democrats do not force Nancy P out, ' Trump tweeted Thursday morning".

In 2009, Pelosi was Speaker of the House leading a 255-seat majority.

Ryan ran for the position of House minority leader last fall but he fell short. "I'm here to serve the caucus", he said.

David Gergen, senior political analyst, and former presidential advisor to Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Ronald Raegan, and Bill Clinton, told CNN that the results should serve as a warning to the Dems to never underestimate Donald Trump and his party's capacity to win against them.

Pelosi said Thursday that she has "always featured the young 30-somethings".

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