Pelosi Strategizes to Back Vulnerable Democrats in Swing Districts amid Impeachment Efforts

WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 26: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) speaks during a weekly news conference on Capitol Hill on September 26, 2019 in Washington, DC. Speaker Pelosi discussed an impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump. (Photo by Zach Gibson/Getty Images)
Zach Gibson/Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) laid out a cohesive strategy to back vulnerable Democrats in swing districts amid the party’s latest impeachment push, according to emerging details of a private conference call that occurred Sunday.

Pelosi – along with top Democrats – strategized on how to deal with the potential impeachment blowback that could affect vulnerable Democrats in crucial swing districts. The speaker has long held off the far-left flank’s demands for impeachment, partially due to the public’s general disapproval of such a move.

“The public isn’t there on impeachment. It’s your voice and constituency, but give me the leverage I need to make sure that we’re ready and it is as strong as it can be,” Pelosi reportedly told Democrats during a caucus-wide call in August.

“The equities we have to weigh are our responsibility to protect and defend the Constitution and to be unifying and not dividing,” she continued at the time.

“But if and when we act, people will know he gave us no choice. If he cannot respect the Constitution, we’ll have to deal with that. It’s about patriotism, not partisanship,” she added.

Nonetheless, Pelosi succumbed to the extreme left’s demands, announcing an impeachment inquiry based on a second-hand complaint from a “whistleblower” regarding the president’s phone call with Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky.

Democrats accused the president of acting like a mob boss and “shaking down” a foreign government in order to get it to target one of his political enemies – Joe Biden. However, transcripts of the call show no such quid pro quo or pressure from the president. Rather, Trump’s request of a “favor” involved an investigation into Crowdstrike. Biden was not mentioned until later in the conversation.

With impeachment remaining widely unpopular, Pelosi is strategizing on how to assist Democrats in vulnerable swing districts, which Democrats need to secure in order to maintain a majority in the House in 2020. Democrat leadership hopes they can ease the worries of voters who are hesitant on impeachment by sticking to a cohesive party message.

“I’m in Texas and they have a saying here: ‘Don’t Mess with Texas.’ Well, I say, ‘Don’t Mess with the Constitution, Mr. President,” Pelosi said on the call, according to Politico.

Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) Chairwoman Cheri Bustos (D-IL) – who recently oversaw a mass shakeup in the party’s campaign arm over festering concerns of a lack of diversity – is working with at-risk lawmakers in the crucial swing districts, urging them to “gauge support and test their message through polling in their respective districts — surveys that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee would help fund, according to multiple people on the call,” Politico reported.

Democrat leaders on the call also stressed the importance of maintaining a unified message and pressed Democrats to repeat the settled upon talking points and certain keywords, such as “betrayal,” “abuse of power,” and “national security.” Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) reportedly made the “repetition” suggestion, which could explain Democrats repeating those key phrases on social media in recent days:

Jeffries tweeted all the keywords in a single tweet:

Pelosi also urged Democrats to stick to their legislative agenda, which has fallen by the wayside in the wake of the ongoing impeachment push.

Politico reported:

On the call, Pelosi reiterated that Democrats would remain focused on their legislative agenda and said she hopes Trump doesn’t walk away from a deal on trade or drug pricing — a dual approach that many moderates have said is key to keeping the House.

Lawmakers were also told on the conference call which committees will be handling which aspects of the investigation. The Intelligence Committee will focus on the substance of the president’s alleged actions as outlined in a whistleblower complaint that the Trump administration initially withheld from Congress, while the Foreign Affairs Committee plans to probe the details of the State Department’s possible involvement with Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal attorney.

House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) reportedly supports Pelosi’s strategy.

“If we stick to the speaker’s plan, we will prevail,” Nadler said, according to Politico.

The New York Times also detailed the mounting concerns and internal turmoil among Democrats in swing districts, who remain hesitant to forcefully endorse impeachment:

And some of these lawmakers, as well as colleagues from similarly competitive districts, are deeply uneasy about seeming too rash.

In a meeting before they left Washington last week, these vulnerable Democrats pressed Ms. Pelosi and her lieutenants to steer some of the more fervently pro-impeachment members of the House Judiciary Committee away from serving as the party’s on-air messengers for the inquiry, according to Democrats familiar with the conversation. And to give lawmakers a more substantive message to take home, Democratic leaders distributed packets on their next major piece of legislation, a prescription drugs pricing bill.

Despite the Democrats’ attempts to walk the line, all 231 Democrats backed Pelosi’s decision to announce an impeachment inquiry after House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (D-CA) drafted a resolution “formally condemning the way in which Pelosi launched the impeachment inquiry,” as Breitbart News reported.

“Democrats were caught off guard by this,” a GOP aide told Breitbart News. “They were not ready to go on the record.”

McCarthy is pushing Democrats to go on the record in support for the impeachment inquiry, knowing that it will not bode well for Democrats in tight districts:

In regard to the Ukraine “scandal,” the California lawmaker believes the facts speak for themselves:

“The Greatest Witch Hunt in the history of our Country!” Trump exclaimed Monday before blasting the “fake whistleblower complaint”:

“The Fake Whistleblower complaint is not holding up. It is mostly about the call to the Ukrainian President which, in the name of transparency, I immediately released to Congress & the public,” Trump wrote.

“The Whistleblower knew almost nothing, its 2ND HAND description of the call is a fraud!” he added:

Vocal Democrats have, so far, stuck to Pelosi’s messaging on social media. What happens after the two-week recess remains to be seen.

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