Editorial: Reelect Pelosi and congressional Dems

by BAR Editorial Board

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Photo: Rick Gerharter
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Photo: Rick Gerharter  

Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who represents San Francisco in Congress, will almost certainly be reelected. Simply put, she is an extraordinary leader. And while some on the left disdain her as insufficiently progressive, we believe she has earned another term in the House of Representatives. She is the most powerful politician in the country, except for the president and vice president. She is one of the few who can go toe to toe with President Donald Trump — and he knows it. That is reason enough to keep her in Washington, D.C.

On impeachment, Pelosi was masterful even as she and others knew that Trump would be acquitted in the Senate. Her skillful handling of the House impeachment inquiry and hearing led to two articles of impeachment being approved in the House. Crucially, she let the impeachment inquiry proceed despite her own misgivings; it's what millions of people demanded. Trump is now the third U.S. president to be impeached, and he cannot change the biggest blight on his record full of lies, falsehoods, racist comments, and incompetence.

Pelosi is running in a safe district. Her opponents are little known and lack the support to mount a credible challenge — one already dropped out. Of more importance to her is that House Democrats maintain the majority they won in 2018, which made her speaker. That resulted in all House committees being chaired by Democrats, including those that dealt with impeachment. We all saw how hamstrung the Republican-led House was during the first two years of Trump's presidency (the Senate, still in Republican control, remains so for Democrats) when Democrats, because they were in the minority, couldn't even get hearings on topics that would expose the corruption of Trump and his administration. A consequence of the 2018 midterm elections was that, for the first time since taking office, Trump was held accountable for his crimes — although with limited effect. Their majority allowed House Democrats to hold hearings and pass legislation, such as the Equality Act, which had been bottled up in GOP-led committees for years.

The Bay Area's congressional delegation is a well of support for Pelosi and for LGBT equality. We continue to support Democratic incumbents, none of whom have serious opposition. Jared Huffman, District 2; John Garamendi, District 3; Mike Thompson, District 5; Josh Harder, District 10; Mark DeSaulnier, District 11; Eric Swalwell, District 15; Ro Khanna, District 17; Anna Eshoo, District 18; and Zoe Lofgren, District 19, can all be counted on in a Democratic-controlled House. If you live in one of the districts not mentioned, or one that is competitive, consider choosing the Democratic candidate so that the party can retain its majority.

Two congresswomen deserve a special shout-out: Barbara Lee in District 13 and Jackie Speier in District 14. Lee represents Oakland and the surrounding area and has been a champion on LGBT and HIV/AIDS issues. She and Pelosi played key roles in the return of the AIDS Memorial Quilt to the Bay Area; both are also involved in this summer's AIDS 2020 conference that will be held in Oakland and San Francisco. Lee is a progressive champion who will keep standing up for LGBTQs and other vulnerable communities. Speier, who represents a sliver of southwestern San Francisco and the Peninsula, is also excellent on our issues. She has led on veterans matters, ending conversion therapy, and LGBT immigration, particularly regarding binational couples. Speier is a strong voice in Congress and deserves our vote.

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