The Democratic old guard will try to hold the line Wednesday against a rank-and-file rebellion
intent on winning some concession — no matter how small — from a leadership team seeking reelection despite having presided over the loss of at least 60 Democratic seats earlier this month.
The leadership election follows on the heels of a brutally long, contentious and divisive leadership meeting Tuesday
, and it will determine not only whether Speaker Nancy Pelosi remains the head of the House Democratic contingent but just how much authority she will wield
in the new Congress come January.
Pelosi is in no real danger of losing her job as leader of the Democratic Caucus, but she is being challenged by a diffuse set of critics, dozens of whom believe she should step aside
after her party’s defeat, others who hope to strip her power to appoint loyalists
to positions of influence within the caucus and still others who simply want more time to reflect on whether endorsing the same set of leaders is the best course of action for a defeated minority.
The Democratic fissures were laid bare Tuesday
as various factions engaged in open warfare
with one another, both in private discussions among lawmakers and in behind-the-scenes efforts to influence the outcome of the leadership elections and related votes on how to choose the party leader’s top lieutenants.
A significant share of the caucus believes Pelosi, who became a symbol of Democratic excess
in the midterm elections, is the worst possible leader
for a party that was rejected at the polls.