Pelosi faces tough vote for speaker as more progressives keep their distance

As the progressive “squad” continues to grow, speculation of a mutiny against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is mounting.

Two new members of the far-left caucus have still not pledged to vote for the California Democrat this weekend when she is up for re-election as speaker, according to the Washington Examiner, meaning Pelosi’s career in leadership is at risk of soon coming to a bitter close.

Bad news for Nancy

Pelosi’s caucus got smaller in this year’s House elections, leaving her in a more vulnerable position as she seeks another term as speaker on Jan. 3.

Worse still, two new Democrats to the left of the speaker, Representative-elects Cori Bush of Missouri and Jamaal Bowman of New York, have not said whether they will support Pelosi’s re-election bid, the Examiner notes. Pelosi won her last term over the objections of 15 Democrats.

“I am going to make sure that voices of the people of St. Louis are heard and we have what we need. And so you will find out then,” Bush, of the Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez–backed “squad,” told CNN, according to the Examiner.

Bowman, for his part, told CNN that his vote will be clear when it “is tallied and, again, [I will be] organizing with our community to figure out what’s best.”

So far, three Democrats — Reps. Conor Lamb (PA), Jared Golden (ME), and Elissa Slotkin (MI) — have said they will oppose Pelosi outright, the Examiner reports.

Coronavirus concerns

There is also speculation that the coronavirus pandemic could work to deny Pelosi her ostensible final term as speaker, as The Hill recently reported, although some find that conjecture overblown.

Pelosi will be at a disadvantage, as rules allowing lawmakers to vote remotely will expire. “Let’s say, just theoretically, we had six or eight people out with COVID and the Republicans have none. They probably could elect [Republican Kevin] McCarthy [as speaker],” Democrat John Yarmuth (KY) said in a recent interview, as The Hill reported.

Pelosi’s not worried

Moderates and progressives within the Democratic Party have been locked in debates for weeks about their dismal performance in this year’s elections, with moderates saying that extreme “defund the police” rhetoric was an albatross.

Earlier this month, Pelosi warned her caucus to stay in line, saying, “We need people to vote with the nominee. That would be me.” She also said that a vote against her is a vote for Republicans, as the Daily Mail reported.

But she didn’t sound concerned on Monday, replying, “Yeah, I do,” when asked if she has the votes, and saying, “I’m fine,” when questioned about potential disruptions from COVID-19, according to the Associated Press.

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