Nancy Pelosi is a drug that Republicans just can’t quit, and the GOP hopes that the threat of her becoming speaker of the House again will awaken any potentially apathetic base voters. While that might work for Republicans for yet another cycle, it might be the last cycle with their favorite boogeywoman, considering there are at least three scenarios in which the California Democrat won’t regain the leadership mantle.
Scenario 1: Democrats Don’t Win a Majority
Given the presence of a polarizing President Donald Trump in the White House and historical midterm trends, falling short of a majority in November would be a catastrophe for Democrats.
They are already searching for a new leader and divided on the issues and strategy to get them out of the electoral wilderness. But with the marches, movements and money fueling a record number of candidates, failing to gain the 23 seats necessary to take back the House would put more pressure on the party to reinvent itself for 2020.
If Democrats stumble, there is virtually no way Pelosi can continue as the minority leader, let alone be elected speaker again. House Assistant Minority Leader James E. Clyburn of South Carolina admitted as much last month, when he said the entire leadership team (presumably, himself included) should change in that scenario.
Scenario 2: Leaving on Her Own Terms
If Democrats take back the majority for the first time in nearly a decade, Pelosi could use it as an opportunity to go out on top. She…