In martial arts, there is a philosophy of using your opponents’ strength against them. Remember candidate Jon Ossoff (GA-6), candidate now-Congressman Conor Lamb (PA-18) and candidate Danny O’Connor (OH-12) for example. Think of all the PAC money and campaign funds that have been spent this year tying Democratic candidates to Nancy Pelosi (CA-12). In politics, pollsters and pundits talk about unfavorable numbers. I think its probably safe to say that the three politicians with the highest unfavorable are, in alphabetical order, Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, and Donald Trump. Try as Trump may, Hillary Clinton is not on the ballot in the 2018 midterm elections. On November 6, 2018, however, it is easy to make the argument that every vote cast for Congress is a proxy vote for either Pelosi or Trump.
Here are two lists: The first list is, in alphabetical order, Kobe Bryant, Brett Favre, George Foreman, Shaquille O’Neal, Jerry Rice, and Tiger Woods. All five are incredible athletes. The second list, also successful athletes, is Tiki Barber, Jim Brown, Rocky Marciano, Barry Sanders, Robert Smith, and Annika Sorenstam. Given a choice, which list would you want to be on? What do the people on each list have in common? The first list includes athletes that are considered by many to have played too long. Conversely, the second list of athletes are often said to have retired too early in their career.
So, which is Nancy Pelosi? Nancy Patricia D’Alesandro Pelosi (born March 26, 1940) has represented California’s 12th Congressional district since 1987; Pelosi is currently the 14th most senior member of the House of Representatives and the 7th senior Democrat. Pelosi has been the Democratic Leader of the House since 2003. Her tenure is not only longer than any other Democratic House Leader but also longer than the longest-serving Republican House leaders as well; Robert Mitchel (IL-18) served 14 years as Republican Leader of the House of Representatives from 1981–1995. (For comparison, the longest serving party leaders in the U.S. Senate are Mike Mansfield (D-MT) 16 years as Majority Leader of the U.S. Senate from 1961 to 1977 and Mitch McConnell (R-KY) who served 11 years as the Republican Leader of the U.S. Senate from 2007 to 2018.)
In the NFL, Bill Belichick’s successful defensive strategy has been described as “taking away the opponents’ best option.” Nancy Pelosi has already made history as the longest serving Democratic Leader in the House and as the first female Speaker of the House of Representatives. If Pelosi wants to help her party win control of the House, she should announce in September that she will not run for House leadership in the 116th Congress. Such an announcement would give political cover to nascent Democratic House candidates as well as vulnerable Democratic incumbents. It takes away the go-to talking points of Republican candidates, pundits, and sympathetic media. At the same time, Trump’s high unfavorable poll numbers would still be available as talking points with independent voters. Like Peyton Manning of the Denver Broncos, Nancy Pelosi could go out on top. On January 3, 2019, Republican Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (CA-23) may well pass the Speaker’s Gavel ceremonially to Nancy Pelosi who would do well to pass the gavel to the next generation of House Democratic leaders.
The Counter Argument: