Maybe the biggest loser in the Georgia special election wasn’t Jon Ossoff, but Nancy Pelosi. This election, that raised more than $50 million in campaign funds, was supposed to be a referendum on President Trump, but now has become a catalyst for soul searching within the Democratic party. In an interview with CNN’s Don Lemon Wednesday, Representative Tim Ryan criticized his party’s brand, their connection with voters and House Minority Leader Pelosi.
“The brand is just bad,” Ryan said. “I don’t think people in the beltway are realizing just how toxic the Democratic Party brand is in so many parts of the country.” The CNN host at one point asked Ryan if he thought Nancy Pelosi was more toxic than Donald Trump. Ryan replied, “The honest answer is in some areas of the country — yes, she is. I think that in certain areas, like in some of these special election districts, it doesn’t benefit our candidates to be tied to her. ”
Ryan has a history of challenging Pelosi. He vied for her position as top Democrat last Fall, but lost the internal election only getting 63 votes from the 194 members. But Ryan can sense growing frustration among other Democrats, and is seizing the opportunity. “Clearly, we’re coming off an election, and she’s been getting pounded now for 10 years with negative ads from the Republicans.” Ryan added, “I don’t think it’s fair. But, clearly, these ads using her, linking her to our candidates is still working.”
These are some of the voices that now seem to be joining Ryan’s challenge to Pelosi. “I think you’d have to be an idiot to think we could win the House with Pelosi at the top,” said Rep. Filemon Vela (D-Texas). “Nancy Pelosi is not the only reason that Ossoff lost. But she certainly is one of the reasons.” Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-N.Y) said the results of the Ossoff race further underscore that Pelosi should let someone else take leadership.
Representative Ryan also argued that his party has lost touch with the working class. “I worry sometimes that we get so obsessed and angered by Donald Trump, which is OK, but you can’t hold on to it because it takes your eye off the ball,” Ryan said. “We’re not focusing on the economic messages. People in Ohio, Don, aren’t really talking about Russia or Michael Flynn or Putin … They’re worried about paying the bills.” But he kept his primary focus on Pelosi’s leadership, “There comes a time when every leader has to say, ‘For the good of the order and for the betterment of the party, it’s time for me to step aside.’ And I wish that that would happen right now,” Rice said. “This is not a personal thing. I want to get back in the majority.”
You can watch the interview below. Do you think Ryan is right and that Pelosi should be replaced?