The Army of 5
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was recently interviewed by Lesley Stahl on 60 Minutes. The two of them discussed a range of topics. Then the internal power struggle between freshmen Congresswomen like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Pelosi herself was brought up and before Lesley Stahl could finish her statement, Pelosi cut her off and derisively said, “well that’s like 5 people.” This statement has not sat well with the legions of people who consider themselves part of this movement to reshape the Democratic Party from the inside.
It’s part of a trend Progressives have witnessed whenever Nancy Pelosi references people to her left in Congress. Pelosi likes to throw shade. Remember back in February when Pelosi called the Green New Deal “the Green Dream” and brushed the policy off completely. Earlier this month, Pelosi continued her trolling and implied that it didn’t matter how many Twitter followers one had. She said that what mattered was how many votes you had on the Floor.
We’re not even six months into the 116th Congress and already centrist corporatists within the Democratic Party, like Nancy Pelosi, are looking to cut the legs out from under the Progressive movement. This is why Black and Intellectual took the stance against Pelosi becoming Speaker. This is why many Progressives actually supported Barbara Lee of California – though it’s clear she didn’t want it (or was told not to pursue it by insiders). Many of us knew this was going to happen, because despite how she tries to position herself – Nancy Pelosi is barely Progressive. Some may say she’s not Progressive at all.
Nancy Pelosi doesn’t support Medicare For All. She doesn’t support the Green New Deal. She was onboard with rebuking Ilhan Omar and playing into the “she’s anti-Semitic” smear that helps Republicans. There’s been no serious discussion about HR. 40 – setting up a commission to study reparations. Pelosi claimed back in February that she supported the bill, but it’s unclear when it’ll get a vote – if ever. Pelosi is not pushing to end any of the undeclared wars we’re fighting abroad. She’s also not allowing any bills through that reign in the power of Wall Street.
The point is, Pelosi runs defense for corporate America and capitalism in general. On the same 60 Minutes interview, Pelosi also said that she “rejects socialism as an economic system” and “[socialism] wasn’t the view of the Democratic Party.”
Technically, AOC and some of the others don’t call themselves socialists. They call themselves democratic socialists. The media likes to remove the ‘democratic’ part to make it sounds less appealing. Watch out for that.
However, this is just the beginning. Freshman Progressives like AOC, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley, Ro Khanna, Rashida Tlaib, etc are small in number right now. The people they represent, however, are vast in number. In due time, there will be more than “just 5 people” in the House of Representatives.
"Holding The Center"
Nancy Pelosi also mentioned that the Progressive newcomers also know that the Party must “hold the center” and “go down the mainstream.” This doesn’t sound like a leader ready to fight for Progressive policies that corporate America doesn’t want. HR. 1 was easy to pass because it’s purely political. There is nothing corporate America loses by stopping voter suppression – there’s no money involved. Whenever you push for policies that will impact industry and finance, that’s when you will see Pelosi’s Progressive flame fizzle out.
The current “center” in America is actually pretty conservative because the Overton window is so far-right, it’s practically one shift away from right-wing authoritarianism. So the “center” that Nancy Pelosi speaks of is not all that Progressive.