Offering asides, recommended links, blogworthy quotations, and more, In Brief is the Northwest Progressive Institute's microblog of world, national, and local politics.

Aside

The case for Nancy Pelosi

Below are five columns and op-ed pieces that explore the argument that Nancy Pelosi is the best choice to continue leading the House Democratic Caucus and to once again assume the constitutional role of Speaker of the House.

1. Republicans declared war on Nancy Pelosi — and she won.

Nancy Pelosi won. For the second time in a dozen years, a Democratic campaign she oversaw ousted the Republicans who ridiculed her from control of the House. At age seventy-eight, the veteran liberal from San Francisco stands to become just the third House leader in the past century to seize the speaker’s gavel twice.

“They’ve been doing that for a long time,” Pelosi told me in an interview as she awaited election night returns. “Hundreds of millions of dollars. They do this because they are bankrupt of ideas.”

2. Forget Pelosi. Challenge Hoyer.

Pelosi is one of the most ruthless and effective politicians of her generation. Not only should critics worry about the consequences of losing to her, they should also worry about the consequences of replacing a skilled, experienced tactical leader with an amateur.

So what should restless Democrats hungering for “new leadership” in the House do instead? Skip Pelosi. Challenge Steny Hoyer.

3. Don’t blow it, Democrats. There’s only one choice to be the next speaker.

I know some of you promised to vote against Pelosi as speaker. I urge the rest of you to think twice before rejecting the most qualified person, at the most important time, for the most important job.

There will be plenty of time for a change in leadership to a new generation, at every level; that is inevitable.

I urge your leaders, including Pelosi, to use this important time to cultivate new leaders who are prepared to build on her legacy.

4. Nancy Pelosi should be Speaker of the House.

As Speaker, Nancy Pelosi brings to the podium a wealth of experience and success – Exhibit A being the passage of the Affordable Care Act and its treasured protections for Americans with pre-existing conditions.

She knows how to pass bills. She knows how to steer a sometime cumbersome ship. She has worked to reach across the aisle when necessary. Simply put: You change leadership when it suffers catastrophic losses, not when you win elections.

5. The rebellion against Nancy Pelosi is absurd.

Democrats have a complex task in front of them, figuring out how best to act as a single, determined force. They need to bring accountability to President Trump and his administration, promote their agenda for change, and position themselves for the moment, they hope two years from now, when they actually have the opportunity to implement it.

At least some of them want to say to Pelosi, “Sorry, we know you’re obviously the most capable person for the job and you just led us to a historic victory, but since the other side says nasty things about you, even though they don’t seem to work we’re going to pick someone else — anybody else, it doesn’t really matter who.”

No member of Congress has a divine right to a position of leadership. But if the anti-Pelosi side wants to force out one of the most successful leaders in their party’s history, they really ought to come up with a better argument than that.

We’ll give President Barack Obama the last word.

President Obama backs Nancy Pelosi: “Her stamina, her ability to see around corners, her ability to stand her ground and do hard things and to suffer unpopularity to get the right thing done I think stands up against any person that I’ve observed or worked directly with in Washington during my lifetime.”

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A glimpse of the work taking place to bring East Link to Bellevue in between the eastbound and westbound lanes of Interstate 90

A glimpse of the work taking place to bring East Link to Bellevue in between the eastbound and westbound lanes of Interstate 90

Video Clip

Highlights from the sixth episode of Saturday Night Live’s forty-fourth season:

The cold open: Fox News’ Laura Ingraham (Kate McKinnon) talks to Judge Jeanine Pirro (Cecily Strong), Mark Zuckerberg (Alex Moffat) and Marcia Fudge (Leslie Jones) about voter fraud and election interference.

Read More »

Aside

Trump blows off ceremonial presidential duties so he can sulk in the White House

The magnitude of last Tuesday’s losses have sunk in.

For weeks this fall, an ebullient Trump traveled relentlessly to hold raise-the-rafters campaign rallies — sometimes three a day — in states where his presence was likely to help Republicans on the ballot.

But his mood apparently has changed as he has taken measure of the electoral backlash that voters delivered Nov. 6.

With the certainty that the incoming Democratic House majority will go after his tax returns and investigate his actions, and the likelihood of additional indictments by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, Trump has retreated into a cocoon of bitterness and resentment, according to multiple administration sources.

Behind the scenes, they say, the president has lashed out at several aides, from junior press assistants to senior officials. “He’s furious,” said one administration official. “Most staffers are trying to avoid him.”

Trump may project confidence through social media or when he appears in public, but it’s apparent that behind the scenes, he’s not feeling confident at all. There really was a blue wave… and it hasn’t even crested yet. Races keep getting called in favor of Democrats, and in Florida (where recounts are underway), it’s unclear who won the top races: Trump’s loyalists or their Democratic opponents.

All those Democratic gains — and the ongoing media coverage of them — have seriously wounded Trump’s pride and left him feeling very bitter and angry.

Trump ought to have been able to see this coming. The pendulum has always historically swung back after periods of one party rule. But Trump is a narcissist and sociopath, so he was nicely positioned for a big emotional crash.

Although Democrats did win a number of special elections last year (and took back the governorship of New Jersey in addition to keeping the governorship of Virginia), the just-held midterms showed that Trump’s Republican Party isn’t invulnerable.

Democrats are on track to have their best showing in U.S. House races since the 1970s. The party has flipped seven governorships and increased the number of trifectas in its column. And it also took two U.S. Senate seats away from the Republicans in the southwest with the victories of Jacky Rosen and Kyrsten Sinema.

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East Link continues to roll forward: This photo shows the new elevated guideway that will one day carry trains under construction above I-90 #CapturedByLight

East Link continues to roll forward: This photo shows the new elevated guideway that will one day carry trains under construction above I-90 #CapturedByLight

Recommended Link

Trial balloon or imminent news? Trump is preparing to remove Kirstjen Nielsen as Homeland Security secretary, aides say

The Washington Post: “Trump has told advisers he has decided to remove Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, and her departure from the administration is likely to occur in the coming weeks, if not sooner, according to five current and former White House officials.”

Video Clip

Highlights from the fifth episode of Saturday Night Live’s forty-fourth season:

The cold open: Jeff Sessions (Kate McKinnon) packs up his office as Sarah Huckabee Sanders (Aidy Bryant), Mike Pence (Beck Bennett), Eric Trump (Alex Moffat), Donald Trump Jr. (Mikey Day) and Robert Mueller (Robert De Niro) stop by.

Read More »

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Inside King County Elections, Part II: Ballots literally fly into a tray after being scanned by an ultramodern ImageTrac-Lite optical scanner

Inside King County Elections, Part II: Ballots literally fly into a tray after being scanned by an ultramodern ImageTrac-Lite optical scanner

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Inside King County Elections, Part II: Return ballot envelopes wait to be archived

Inside King County Elections, Part II: Return ballot envelopes wait to be archived

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Greetings from peaceful Cannon Beach, Oregon, where representatives of NPI's staff and board are gathered for our annual post-election sojourn. We wish you a happy, tranquil Veterans Day weekend!

Greetings from peaceful Cannon Beach, Oregon, where representatives of NPI's staff and board are gathered for our annual post-election sojourn. We wish you a happy, tranquil Veterans Day weekend!

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Inside King County Elections, Part II: This industrial strength Pitney Bowes sorting machine helps elections staff stay on top of hundreds of thousands of incoming ballots

Inside King County Elections, Part II: This industrial strength Pitney Bowes sorting machine helps elections staff stay on top of hundreds of thousands of incoming ballots

Aside

This year, Los Angeles is going all out to knock down transportation barriers to voting

Way to go, Los Angeles! Courtesy of Mayor Eric Garcetti’s campaign team, here’s an update on what America’s second largest metropolitan region is doing to make it easier for voters in Southern California to cast ballots.

Voting is our most fundamental right as Americans.

We know that 51% of California voters cite a lack of transportation as a factor in deciding not to vote — so we’re doing everything possible to make sure that nothing stands between you and your ballot.

Check out these nine ways we’re making it easier for you to get to and from the polls on November 6.

9 WAYS WE’RE MAKING IT EASIER TO GET TO THE POLLS ON ELECTION DAY

  1. Metro trains will be free all day.
  2. Metro buses will be free all day.
  3. LADOT’s DASH and Commuter Express buses will be free all day.
  4. Parking meters will be free within one block of polling places.
  5. Parking time limits will be relaxed within one block of polling places.
  6. Parking restrictions due to street cleaning will be suspended within one block of polling places.
  7. Permit parking will be suspended within one block of polling places.
  8. The first thirty minutes of Metro Bike Share will be free: use code 1162018.
  9. Access Services and Cityride will provide free rides to and from the polls for riders with disabilities and their companions.

Every vote counts in our democracy. Make your voice heard on Tuesday, November 6.

There is no good excuse for not voting. Be sure your ballot is in a drop box or at a post office by the last outgoing mail collection time before tomorrow night!

Video Clip

Highlights from the fourth episode of Saturday Night Live’s forty-fourth season:

Democrats are confident in the blue wave coming to vote in the midterm election.

Read More »

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Retired oil refinery worker Steve Garey gives an in-person pitch for Initiative 1631

Retired oil refinery worker Steve Garey gives an in-person pitch for Initiative 1631

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It ain't easy being wheezy: Initiative 1631 is doctor-recommended because it would clean up our air and water

It ain't easy being wheezy: Initiative 1631 is doctor-recommended because it would clean up our air and water

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Ahmed Gaya rallies grassroots activists to sprint to the finish for Initiative 1631, the groundbreaking plan to put a price on pollution in Washington

Ahmed Gaya rallies grassroots activists to sprint to the finish for Initiative 1631, the groundbreaking plan to put a price on pollution in Washington

Video Clip

“I’m not asking any of you to give any blood,” civil rights legend Representative John Lewis said at a rally for Stacey Abrams. “I’m just asking you to go and vote like you never voted before. We have to vote!”

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Washington Environmental Council leaders celebrate their work to pass Initiative 1631 following a Get-Out-The-Vote rally

Washington Environmental Council leaders celebrate their work to pass Initiative 1631 following a Get-Out-The-Vote rally

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Progress starts with you! This November, be the change you wish to see in the world. Vote, and convince people you know to join you in fulfilling their civic duty!

Progress starts with you! This November, be the change you wish to see in the world. Vote, and convince people you know to join you in fulfilling their civic duty!

Quotation

It goes beyond politics now. I’m a Republican, I’ll finish a Republican as I cruise through my 91st year. But you’ve got to put the nation’s interests and the state’s interests ahead of politics… I just feel that the Democrats have got superior credentials to what is being offered.

— Virginia Republican Party dean John Warner endorses Democrats for Congress, including Senator Tim Kaine (via NBC News)

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State Senator Patty Kuderer and party switcher Rodney Tom Square off in one last candidate forum before the November midterms

State Senator Patty Kuderer and party switcher Rodney Tom Square off in one last candidate forum before the November midterms