House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is about to “feel the Bern” from San Francisco employment attorney Stephen R. Jaffe, a lifelong Democrat who was inspired by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) to challenge Pelosi for her seat in 2018.
“I think Ms. Pelosi has served long and — for the most part — well,” Jaffe said in an interview with the Observer. “But, from my observations of the last year or so, particularly in her Town Halls with voters, I think she’s really out of touch with the voters in San Francisco. I think the district needs to be represented by someone more in touch with the voters and the constituents here, and I think I’m that person.”
Jaffe, who was recruited by the Sanders campaign as a senior attorney to observe and monitor the Nevada caucuses, told the Observer he thinks the Vermont senator was “was more or less cheated out of” the nomination.
However, others have suggested Sanders knew he never stood a chance against Clinton and establishment machine from the start.
Jaffe co-founded and serves as president of the South Beach District 6 Democratic Club in San Francisco, Pelosi’s district, where he reportedly has a strong record of fighting for grassroots efforts and, more recently, pushed for the removal of dark money from politics in the Bay Area. Like Sanders, he is also seeking to move the Democratic Party away from its Establishment wing and everything that it represents.
He’s not the first, or last person, to call Pelosi “out of touch” with her Democratic base either.
In a 2016 interview with CBS News’ Face the Nation, Pelosi said, “I don’t think people want a new direction.” Showing an occasional contrast with her party’s “progressive” base in a February CNN Town Hall, she told a millennial Sanders supporter, “Well, I thank you for your question, but I have to say we’re capitalists — that’s just the way it is.”
The Observer points out that “Under Pelosi, Democrats lost more than 60 seats in the House of Representatives from 2008 to 2016, and her tenure represents just how corrupt the Party has become.”
Last November, Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-LA) criticized Pelosi and suggested her proposals to empower junior members of Congress — by making certain positions available only to lawmakers who have served fewer than three or four terms, while she and Reps. Jim Clyburn (D-SC) and Steny Hoyer (D-MD) remain in their current posts — could decrease the Congressional Black Caucus’s power while seemingly increasing her own.
“The reality is that, from the perspective of the CBC, some changes may be beneficial while others may have severe unintended consequences that could diminish our power as a caucus within the Democratic Caucus,” Richmond wrote.
Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH), 43, has also accused Pelosi of trying to “further consolidate her power.” In one of several letters criticizing Pelosi over her poor leadership, Ryan wrote, “I am very disappointed in Leader Pelosi’s proposed caucus reforms which are seemingly designed to further consolidate her power over the caucus.”