Pelosi put on a bizarrely gleeful press conference to a largely supportive press corps despite the possible loss of roughly 10 seats in an election that Democrats and the media predicted would be a blue wave. Indeed, Pelosi was supposed to be picking up that number of seats while Democrats were given an over 70 percent chance of retaking the Senate. As for the presidential election, we are still counting votes in states with a razor-thin margin — an election that the media predicted would be a blowout for Biden. Instead, the country was divided almost down the middle after the Democrats outspent Republicans. Not only did Biden spend far more than Trump but donors like Michael Bloomberg dumped a $100 million in Florida alone and still lost the state by a good margin.
Nevertheless, Pelosi claimed that the election gave Biden and herself a “tremendous mandate.” Indeed, she added: “I think Joe Biden has . . . a bigger mandate than John F. Kennedy.” Where is Senator Lloyd Bentsen when we need him?
The reference to Kennedy’s win in 1960 was also curious since that election may have been secured by widespread fraud in Illinois and Texas. To this day, many historians question whether Kennedy actually won the election. Hardly the election you want to reference when the Democratic Party is opposing court review of close races in places like Nevada.
What was particularly striking in how Pelosi heralded Biden as a leader who will unite rather than divide and show tolerance for opposing views. It is a value that Pelosi has admired from a safe distance as one of the most polarizing figures in American politics. Indeed, some of us called for her resignation after her outrageous and juvenile protest during the State of the Union address, including ripping up the address from the Speaker’s Chair.
One threat for Pelosi could come from the small number of moderate Democrats remaining in the caucus combining with the Black Caucus to install the first African American Speaker. Ironically, the Republicans would likely prefer to take Pelosi in the position, particularly with the runoffs in Georgia in January.
Obviously, Biden was not the “President-Elect” and there is no “tremendous mandate” for either side. Yet, while hitting President Donald Trump with “disinformation” labels for his post-election comments about effort to steal the election, Twitter and Facebook were entirely happy with the obviously untrue statements from Pelosi about Biden being elected. They also did not strike out at Democratic statements that Trump was trying to steal the election. Indeed, one of Facebook’s much maligned “Oversight Board members” immediately celebrated the defeat of Trump as the ending “the wave of hate and intolerance” across the globe.
Pelosi’s comments would ordinarily be viewed as delusional from anyone else. But this is Washington. They were not delusional; just dishonest. That is never a problem in Washington. The Democrats may well reelect Pelosi because polls and seats change but the establishment does not. Even with dissenters objecting to the radicalization of the rhetoric in the election, Pelosi has the edge because she has the goods to deliver for votes. Members reelected her after the disastrous 2016 election despite polls showing that she was radioactive as a leader, the second most unpopular Democrat after Hillary Clinton herself. The fact is that these elections are not about the voters or even the party. It is about power and who can use it and who can keep it. Pelosi can engage in utter fantasies about “tremendous mandates” to dupe voters while offering juicy committee assignments and campaign donations to entice members. Washington will soon be back to normal with a tremendous mandate for the resilience of the establishment.