As Pelosi increasingly incoherent in public, Dems face a battle over leadership succession

Long-simmering ethnic tensions in a party increasingly defined by identity politics could erupt if Nancy Pelosi’s mental decline forces her to bow out of her leadership of the Democrats’ House  Caucus. With African-Americans the largest loyal base constituency, the fact that there has never been a black minority leader, much less speaker, the choice of her successor could split the party. Potentially at stake is the Speakership that could result if the longed-for Blue Wave produces a Democrat House majority.

Kyle Olsen of The American Mirror red flags Pelosi’s latest lapse into incoherence at a podium. Speaking to reporters Thursday,

Pelosi suffered brain freezes, speech problems and confused Russia and China at least twice.

While attacking Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh, Pelosi had trouble saying “effectively.”

“His kowtowing to the president, esffect, esffectively saying…” she said.

Moments later, while attacking the Trump tax cut, she said, “…the GOP tax scam for the rich that added 2 children dollars more” to the deficit.

See for yourself in the 83 second excerpt:

Speculation and chatter suggest that the longest-serving African-American member of the House may throw his hat in the ring. Emma Dumain reports for McClatchy:

A whisper campaign is underway to promote U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn of Columbia as the next speaker of the House of Representatives.

Allies of the S.C. Democratic lawmaker, currently assistant House Democratic leader, say the conversations are still in the early stages. They add, however, there are real and active efforts to pitch the idea of Clyburn, the highest-ranking African-American lawmaker in Congress, as a so-called “bridge speaker” should Democrats retake the House’s majority in November and members decide to replace their current leader, California Democrat Nancy Pelosi.

The problem is that:

For years, House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer of Maryland quietly has sold himself as a Pelosi successor. He has told members he would step in for one or two terms as speaker as a “bridge” between the old guard and a new generation of leaders, promising to groom younger members and facilitate a transition of power.

And the dirty little secret is that fundraising is what brought Pelosi to power and what kept her there through her long decline. I strongly suspect that Hoyer has better prospects than Clyburn when it comes to shaking the money tree.

But of course, the slogans write themselves for  Clyburn speakership. “It’s time!”, for instance. As the most loyal segment of the base, normally accounting for a quarter or so of the party’s vote, African-Americans’ absence from the House leader’s role is an anomaly.

Clyburn is no Keith Ellison, to be sure. He is not scary-radical. But would his position as leader of the House Democrats add to the party’s prospect of electoral success in swing districts? I simply don’t know.  I do know that Steny Hoyer has been visibly paying his dues for a long, long time.

Everyone seems to recognize that a gerontocracy running a party that seeks to mobilize young people and get them to the polls is a problem, which is why both Hoyer and Clyburn are marketing themselves as potential “bridge” speakers. But once in office as leader of the caucus, it might be harder to let go and choose a successor that could unify the party.

And, should the Blue Wave fail to propel House Democrats into the majority, there will be a certain amount of hell to pay.

All in all, the prospects for Democrat unity going into November are not that great.

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