Democrats' disputes simmer after special election losses

Karen Handel

"The Democratic Party should have said, 'You wanna run?"

But for Democrats, having failed to unseat a Republican in four special House elections in a row despite an extremely energized base, it's now a time for soul-searching - and finger-pointing. Democratic Rep. Kathleen Rice from NY told CNN that it's time for the Democrats to let her and the entire Democratic leadership team go.

Pelosi said Republicans will always make a target of Democratic leaders, saying they did so with legendary former House Speaker Tip O'Neill and many others. Republican Karen Handel beat Democrat Jon Ossoff by around 5 percentage points in the suburban Atlanta district previously represented by Tom Price, now the Health and Human Services secretary.

On the other hand, Republicans can nationalize 2018 against the Democrats pretty effectively at this point. Pelosi is a fundraising powerhouse and is responsible for raising huge sums of money for the Democratic Party - which the party will certainly need if they want to run competitively enough to take back the House and Senate.

Vela supported Pelosi when Ohio Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan challenged her for the top leadership position after the 2016 election. It would not have been a crucial blow to Trump if Ossoff had won in Georgia, and it's not a devastating blow to Democrats that, despite raising $25 million, he couldn't win in a heavily Republican district.

Nevertheless, Pelosi believes President Donald Trump's unpopularity, the history of mid-term elections and Republican efforts to repeal Obamacare, whose passage was the highlight of her brief speakership, present an opportunity to recoup. "And we need to also lift up this nation so that we can find a more civil way to deal with our disagreements". When it comes to her detractors, Pelosi said "my decision about how long I stay is not up to them".

Rep. Seth Moulton, a Massachusetts Democrat, told CNN his party needed new leadership. Being the most expensive House election in U.S. history, especially for Democrats, it was more painful for them.

"This is not the time", Pelosi said.

Apprenticeships? Last week, President Donald Trump signed an executive order rolling back regulations that prevent certain industries from creating apprenticeship programs. "The Republicans gave him that", she said.

The vote was 134 votes for Pelosi to 63 for Ryan. Pelosi told fellow House Democrats in a letter Wednesday, "The House was in play before the Georgia race".

"Unfortunately a loss for us, but not good news for them", Pelosi told members.

"If you were talking about a company that was posting losing numbers, if you were talking about any sports team that was losing time and time again, changes would be made, right?"

And progressive activists' willingness to pour millions of dollars' worth of small-dollar online contributions into Ossoff's campaign - donations fueled nearly entirely by a desire to deal Trump a political setback - was what convinced Democrats to take the race seriously.

Pelosi, 77, has led the House Democratic caucus for almost 15 years, from the minority into the majority and back again. Democrats have successfully transferred Hillary Clinton's gains in well-educated districts to their down-ballot candidates, even while succeeding in making up some of the ground she lost in white working-class ones.

"We don't agonize, we organize", she concluded.

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