Pelosi's Claim of Democratic 'Mandate' Crashes Into Cold, Hard Reality of What Her Own Allies Say About It

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

As my colleague Becca Lower wrote last week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is still yada-yadaing about how the election was supposedly a mandate from the American people for Democrats to do big, radical things in 2021.

“Did you know that House Democrats got nearly 2 million more votes than Donald Trump?” she asked reporters Friday while displaying a placard similar to the one below that showed popular vote totals for House Democrats, President Donald Trump, and House Republicans. “Everybody turned out and it was a great victory — a mandate.”

She made similar claims the week of the election, even as numerous House races had yet to be called. “Hold your head up high,” she told Democrats on a contentious conference call. “We helped Joe Biden get that mandate.”

The problem for Pelosi, of course, is that this is not how “mandates” are determined. “Mandates” in the House aren’t measured by popular vote totals. They are gauged by the individual wins and losses of each House member, and it is there where Pelosi’s fanciful story of “Democratic mandates” completely falls apart.

Though they didn’t lose their majority, House Democrats lost big in their respective races. Before we even get into what her allies have said about what happened to House (and Senate) Democrats, let’s take a look at how Cook Political Report’s Dave Wasserman broke it down Friday:

Should Republicans take the last three, that would put the count for the next Congress at 222 Democrats to 213 Republicans, which would give Pelosi only a tiny fraction of the majority she once had.

That would be pretty astonishing, considering the breakdown was 232D, 197R, 1L, and 5 vacancies going into Election Day 2020, and also considering all the pollster/media/Democrat predictions of a massive “blue wave” in down-ballot races.

As noted earlier, not even Pelosi’s own allies are buying her spin on a Democratic “mandate”:

In addition to the shellacking House Democrats took this year is the fact that Republicans did well in state legislative races across the country (including here in North Carolina), which means they will get to give nightmares to Democratic state lawmakers, governors, and lawyers when redistricting time comes.

“The GOP’s victories in state-level elections could pay dividends long after Biden leaves office, thanks to their influence over next year’s redistricting process,” reported in an analysis piece.

As to House Democrats and their election losses, Becca correctly noted in her piece that “Pelosi has been left with a small group to herd… In fact, you can call it a ‘red wave,’ not a blue wave. She needs to wake up and realize that’s the truth.”

Pelosi won’t wake up to that cold, hard reality until the first time she tries to shove through controversial legislation with a much smaller majority than what she had prior to Election Day. I’m stocking up on the popcorn as we speak.

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