‘They’re going to be in for a rude awakening’: Young Dems ready for post-Pelosi shake-up

Should the anticipated red wave arrive propelling Republicans into control in Congress, Democratic leadership may be struck with two big losses as insiders suggest “they’re going to be in for a rude awakening.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has held the top spot for Democrats in the lower chamber since 2007 and has touted “experience” as a driving factor maintaining the status quo with her, 82, Majority Leader Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD), 83, and Majority Whip Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC), 82, in charge as other members call for “new blood.” As the midterms close in and others test the waters ahead of the 118th Congress, some in the caucus contended whether they stay or go, the change has already begun.

Speaking with NBC News, one Democratic lawmaker said, “I think [Hoyer and Clyburn] do try to stick around, but the paint has dried on the generational-change decision. If people don’t see that, they’re going to be in for a rude awakening.”

“It’ll be unfortunate,” the congressional member went on. “They’re both beloved; they’re great legislators, great people. And it could just be that the caucus has shifted under everyone’s feet–not just theirs, but everyone’s.”

Meanwhile, a Democratic aide said, “It’s an inevitability that’s really hard for them to swallow right now.”

These statements followed Pelosi’s appearance on MSNBC where she reacted to comments from 46-year-old Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-MI) by stating, “I say, just win, baby. Just in. If that’s what you have to say to win, fine. We will not in any way do anything but totally support, mobilization, message, money for those people to win their races.”

“We need generational change, of course, we do,” the speaker added, “but, in some cases, there’s no substitute for experience.”

Slotkin had said, “I have been very vocal, including with my own leadership in the House, that we need a new generation. We need new blood, period, across the Democratic Party, in the House, the Senate, and the White House.”

“I’ve said I think we need new leaders. I would love to see some Midwestern leaders in there. Right? That’s been important to me, is to reflect the middle of the country. We’re here too. And… but I do think new blood is a good thing,” she went on.

Of course, for Democrats who have stood firm against ceding any power through measures like term limits, the idea of “ambitious young Democrats” included the likes of 52-year-old Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (NY) and 59-year-old Rep. Katherine Clark (MA) who are already in leadership roles. As a reminder, the age threshold to be sworn in as a member of the House of Representatives is 25.

With others said to be checking the viability of taking over House Democrats like 62-year-old Rep. Adam Schiff (CA) and 57-year-old Rep. Pramila Jayapal (WA), one member of the caucus told NBC News, “My assumption is that nobody’s going to be unopposed. We’re the Democratic Party.”

“In a sign of how hungry Democrats are to climb the leadership ladder,” the outlet wrote, “candidates have been flocking to the race for caucus vice chair, a lower-tier position. They include Reps. Ted Lieu, 53, of California, and Debbie Dingell, 68, of Michigan, two co-chairs of the House Policy and Communications Committee–the Democrats’ policy and messaging arm–as well as Congressional Black Caucus Chair Joyce Beatty, 72, of Ohio, and Rep. Madeleine Dean, 63, vice chair of the Judiciary Committee, of Pennsylvania.”


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