House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Friday refused to take responsibility for the Democratic Party’s spate of losses in the 2020 election, a night in which her caucus expected to see big wins but instead suffered some surprising defeats.
“I accept credit for winning the majority and holding the House,” Pelosi told reporters during a Capitol Hill press conference.
Democrats held a 35-seat advantage in the House before the election; but after Tuesday, their majority will shrink by at least six seats, making it one of the thinnest margins in decades, following a better-than-expected performance by down-ballot Republicans.
In the week since the election, Democrats have traded blame over who’s ultimately responsible for the lackluster showing, in which the party lost a number of freshmen representatives who won during the 2018 midterm election, partly by reaching into districts that Trump had won in 2016.
“We lost a few seats. But, as I said, we won those seats in Trump districts, he wasn’t on the ballot, he is now,” Pelosi said, adding: “I do believe with Biden in the White House and a Democratic Congress and hopefully a Democratic Senate, we’ll see in January, we’ll be able to do great things for the American people.”
“As I said, we’ve lost some battles, but we won the war,” she continued. “We have the gavel. We have the gavel.”
Moderates have pointed fingers at their colleagues who embraced the “defund the police movement” and for not pushing back harder against socialism.
“We should have won big but you know the defund the police issue, the Green New Deal — those issues killed our members. Having everybody walk the plank on qualified immunity with the cops. That just hurt a lot of members. No one’s taking responsibility for it,” one Democratic source told Fox News.
But progressives, led by the four congresswomen known as the “Squad,” including New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, have argued those liberal policies help to galvanize the party’s core base and are popular among the general electorate.
On Friday, calling, for an internal reckoning of what went wrong last Tuesday, Pelosi said Democrats have “pages, in fact, books of notes” they need to examine from candidates in swing districts who lost their races.
“We have to have a deep dive,” she said.
But despite the smaller-than-expected majority, Pelosi, a California Democrat, said that does not mean more compromise with Republicans next year.
“We had a very big win in the last election, it is smaller now,” she said. “We still have the power of the majority, but on top of that our leverage and our power is greatly enhanced by having a Democratic president in the White House.”