Home Speaker Nancy Pelosi (California) introduced on Thursday that she is stepping down as chief of the Democratic caucus after 20 years within the position — and, whereas she usually obstructed the left wing of her get together throughout her time in management, the legislator favored to comply with her, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, may very well be much more damaging to the left if he’s chosen as her successor.
“With nice confidence in our caucus, I can’t search reelection to Democratic management within the subsequent Congress,” Pelosi said on the Home ground. She’s going to stay in workplace, as will her first and second in command, Representatives Steny Hoyer (Maryland) and James Clyburn (South Carolina), the previous of whom can be stepping down.
As chief of the Democratic caucus, Pelosi, a centrist and one in all the richest members of Congress, usually butted heads with the left-leaning members of her get together. She has publicly feuded with the progressive “Squad” — one thing that the group pushed again on in 2019, mentioning that the chief was selecting on newly elected girls of coloration on the time — and has made selections which have deeply annoyed progressives.
In 2020, for example, Pelosi endorsed a centrist in his race to unseat progressive Sen. Ed Markey (Massachusetts), an unique sponsor of the Inexperienced New Deal. This endorsement got here regardless of her supposed position of supporting Democratic incumbents, which she did along with her endorsement this 12 months of Rep. Henry Cuellar (Texas), the one anti-abortionist within the caucus.
Pelosi has confirmed a roadblock to progressive coverage as nicely, and in recent times has dismissed progressive priorities just like the Inexperienced New Deal (“the green dream or whatever”), Medicare for All (“I’m not a big fan”), and scholar debt cancellation (“not even a discussion”). Within the meantime, she has repeatedly proved a supporter of insurance policies that assist enrich the ultra-wealthy.
Nevertheless, Jeffries may very well be way more hostile to leftists if his previous positions are a mirrored image of how he would lead; if Pelosi was a pressure that stopped progressives of their tracks, Jeffries may very well be a bludgeon actively forcing the progressive motion again, relying on how he decides to train his energy.
Jeffries, a former lawyer, identifies as a progressive however has alliances within the middle or proper wing of the get together; as The American Prospect reported last year, the New York lawmaker has stayed silent as supposed fellow progressives have lobbied for points in recent times, and began a PAC final 12 months, referred to as Staff Blue, that was shaped particularly to guard Democratic incumbents from progressive challengers. His co-founder for Staff Blue was Rep. Josh Gottheimer (New Jersey), a conservative Democrat who was key in torpedoing the Construct Again Higher Act final 12 months.
Crucially, Jeffries has voiced unfiltered antipathy towards the left. In a profile by Edward-Isaac Dovere in The Atlantic final 12 months, Jeffries contrasted himself, a “progressive,” with the left-leaning factions of the get together that he was even then favored to take over in the House. “There’ll by no means be a second the place I bend the knee to hard-left democratic socialism,” he stated.
In a separate interview in The New York Times in regards to the upcoming primaries for the midterm election and in the warmth of negotiations for the Construct Again Higher Act final 12 months, Jeffries took his stance towards the left even additional, outright attacking anti-establishment leftists.
“The intense left is obsessive about speaking trash about mainstream Democrats on Twitter, when nearly all of the citizens represent mainstream Democrats on the polls,” he stated. “Within the post-[Donald] Trump period, the anti-establishment line of assault is lame — when President [Joe] Biden and Democratic legislators are delivering tens of millions of good-paying jobs, the fastest-growing economic system in 40 years and a large little one tax reduce.”
The left would say that there are many causes to be anti-establishment in a time when the institution is embracing corruption and company rule, however Jeffries could view anti-establishment views as a private assault. Even in occasions when Democrats as an entire could have been pivoting away from Wall Avenue, Jeffries has taken donations from deep-pocketed conservative pursuits; he has been one in all Congress’s leading recipients of hedge fund donations and is among the solely Democrats who has taken donations from Fox Information’s PAC, Information Corp.
On the similar time, Jeffries has taken positions that progressives — or no less than many throughout the progressive base — would discover heinous. For example, he is vehemently pro-Israel, and has supported legislation that will penalize corporations and People that help the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions motion; this laws is a serious slap within the face to Palestinian advocates and might endanger People’ proper to take part in political boycotts in any respect.
Jeffries isn’t going through different challengers for the leadership spot yet, however progressives aren’t more likely to help him; in spite of everything, Jeffries was once rumored to be a goal to be primaried by these near Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York), although that effort by no means got here to cross. The management election is slated to happen in roughly two weeks, on November 30, that means that if there might be a progressive or left-leaning challenger, they’ll possible must emerge quickly.