House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is confident enough to say that the Democrats can win back the House, but questions have been raised on whether or not she is the right person to move forward in 2019 with this new majority.
On Tuesday, Pelosi appeared on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” with a bold prediction that the Democrats will come out on top.
“Up until today, I would have said if the election were to happen today, we would win,” she said. “Now what I’m saying is that we will win.”
She added that if they have a “bigger victory,” they could also carry the Senate and governorships and that Election Day would be a “great night for America” due to their wins.
Watch the video below:
Pelosi has been in the position for 16 years and has vowed to run again, but many analysts have wondered whether Pelosi would the best representative to speak for this new majority. Colbert called her a “polarizing” figure within the Republican base and quoted that she has been featured negatively in ads “130,000 times.”
“They come after me because I’m a very effective legislator,” she said. “[…] I don’t mind them criticizing me.”
Along with that, her close confidant and potential successor, Rep. Joe Crowley (D-N.Y.), was shockingly defeated by a younger Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in the Democratic primary, only increasing “the questions about who might replace her.”
Politico reported in June that many Democratic lawmakers and aides believe selecting the first African-American speaker of the House, suggesting people like Reps. Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.), Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), Cedric Richmond (D-La.) — who currently heads the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) — Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), and Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio).
“We want people to see that the Democratic leadership in the House of Representatives is, with some intentionality, very inclusive,” Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) told Politico. “It’s a powerful statement for the nation and maybe even for the world.”
Having the first female and African-American speaker would certainly promote this inclusive narrative, and while the CBC does not make up the entirety of the House Democrats, it will be an important chunk to win over, especially since the number of members (48) is likely to rise following the midterms.
“I think it’s more than a possibility. It’s a probability,” Fudge said on the prospects of an African-American speaker, backing Clyburn for the job.
Clyburn was reported to still be loyal to Pelosi but added he would be interested in the position.
“If the opportunity is there, absolutely,” Clyburn said in an interview, according to Politico. “I have been preparing myself for this role since my pre-teenage years.”
Other options, reported by Roll Call, include Reps. Cheri Bustos (D-Ill.), Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), and Linda T. Sánchez (D-Calif.), who is the first woman of color in a Hill leadership position as vice chairwoman of the Democratic Caucus.
However, this is all speculation and conjecture banking on the Democrats taking the House, and as Colbert said while closing out his time with Pelosi, “regardless of what she says, it’s not a done deal.”