Democrat Nancy Pelosi is one of the most effective congressional leaders in recent history. No wonder Republicans are so afraid of her.
Democratic House Leader Nancy Pelosi has a simple explanation for why she stars in so many Republican attack ads: "They're afraid of me."
Pelosi is a powerful force — both in legislating and fundraising — for the Democratic Party, so Republicans have plenty of reasons to be afraid.
Pelosi took a break from helping Democrats across the country to speak with Shareblue Media about GOP attacks, as well as looking ahead to the 2018 midterm elections.
So far this election cycle, more than one in three Republican ads mention Pelosi. In the special election in Pennsylvania's 18th Congressional District in March, the number was a staggering 58 percent.
The GOP still managed to lose the district Trump had carried by 20 points in 2016.
"[Republicans] have nothing to offer, so they put me on the table," says Pelosi. "They see me as a threat to their being handmaidens to the special interests in our country."
Pelosi's legislative prowess as a Democratic leader is well established. She led the House Democrats both in the majority and in the minority, and has sparred with a series of ever-changing Republican leaders.
As House speaker, Pelosi helped shepherd through the stimulus bill, the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and the the Dodd-Frank Act, the bill to reform Wall Street.
Even in the minority, Pelosi has helped Democrats stay united on spending bills, foiling Republican efforts to cut funding for Planned Parenthood or to spend billions of dollars on a wall Trump promised Mexico would pay for. Further, she worked with the Democratic caucus to stay united in order to defeat relentless efforts to repeal and undermine the ACA.
Republicans, on the other hand, voted more than 50 times to destroy the ACA, ultimately failing even when they had control of the House, Senate, and White House.
Republican Speaker Paul Ryan's sole legislative accomplishment is a failing tax scam designed as a massive giveaway to wealthy Wall Street corporations and the ultra-rich. The bill is so unpalatable Republicans are not even campaigning on it.
With no accomplishments to run on, Republicans project their own fears about Pelosi and everything Pelosi represents: a rejection of the predominantly white male model of leadership in Congress.
"Their fears are well-founded," Pelosi notes, but she also sees a broader underlying theme in the Republican attacks.
"It's not just about me — it's about all the women we are going to elect," she says. "They are so afraid of the women, and people of color, and LGBTQ increased numbers in the Congress because we have clarity in our message, and that is shared by the entire caucus."
Record numbers of women, LGBTQ individuals, and people of color are running for office this year across the country, and they're running on the kind of progressive platform Pelosi has been fighting for: passing commonsense gun background check legislation, fighting for a higher minimum wage, and promoting expanded access to affordable health care.
"Health care is the driving force in this election," she says, a statement backed up by plenty of polling.
While Republicans are still trying to gut the ACA, Medicare, and Medicaid, Pelosi says protecting health care, and making it more affordable, is a top priority for her and for Democrats, and voters are on their side.
Pelosi also listed passage of the DREAM Act, to protect young immigrants brought to this country as children, as one of her top priorities in Congress next year, especially if Democrats take back control of the House.
In February, Pelosi took to the floor of the House and spoke — for eight hours — about the importance of protecting Dreamers. It was the longest continuous speech on the floor of the House in history, and when she finally finished, she left to thunderous applause.
Even in the minority, Pelosi is a powerful and effective leader and a messenger for her party's progressive principles.
No wonder Republicans are afraid of Pelosi.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.