Nancy Pelosi believes that a strong presidential candidate will help bring Democratic voters to the polls, but that House Democrats will not be able to simply ride those coattails back into the majority, reports The Hill.
"When we won in '06, we had plotted this for awhile [with] solidarity, unity of message and … the timing for how we rolled it out," the former House speaker told The Hill in February.
"It was all plotted and planned very scientifically, and members trusted us and stuck together with that unity. We are on that path again, even though it's a presidential year," she added.
Pelosi already is planning ahead, meeting with more than two dozen moderate House Democrats for a closed-door lunch to help jump-start voters for 2016, according to Politico.
The meeting with 30 members of the New Democrat Coalition was an opportunity for the members to suggest ways in which the party could improve on its message, which was partly to blame for the shellacking Democrats received in the 2014 midterm elections.
"It was a fairly big deal [for her to join us], especially given the fact that it was the same day that we unveiled our new agenda. There are concerns about broadening our message so we’re more inclusive of a broader swath of the middle class. We talked about winning back constituents that we’ve seemed to lost and we talked about respect," a Democratic lawmaker who was in attendance told Politico.
In addition to identifying a message, Pelosi does not intend to manage the House Democrats according to the wishes of the Obama White House.
"We want to work in a bipartisan way, as we did to fully fund the Department of Homeland Security, but part of working together is to make clear where we have bipartisan, common ground and where we do not," Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill told The Hill, adding that Democrats will work with Republicans when possible, but not at a cost to their principles.
Shortly after the 2014 midterms, which gave the GOP its largest majority since 1929, several Democrats expressed dissatisfaction with President Barack Obama, not with the message.
"We lost all over because people weren't motivated to come out to vote. And the whole campaign — not just the campaign, but the whole zeitgeist for years — has been the president who has the bully pulpit refusing to attack the Republicans, refusing to differentiate, refusing to defend his own policies," said New York Democrat Rep. Jerrold Nadler, according to a source who spoke with The Hill.
While Obama may have been one of the reasons the Republicans were able to gain the majority in the Senate and keep it in the House, the GOP may be its own worst enemy heading into the 2016 elections if they continue to govern as they have in the first 100 days of Congress.
"Three months into the expanded Republican majorities on the Hill, White House aides see a landscape in which President Barack Obama is more in charge now than he was before the midterms. Rather than moving forward on their own priorities as Republican leaders promised after their midterm sweep, the House and Senate find themselves reacting to Obama," argues Politico reporter Edward-Isaac Dovere.
"So far, most legislation hasn’t moved at all, and the most prominent votes have been on bills they already know Obama won’t sign," he adds.
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