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Democrat Party And Midterm Elections: Is Nancy Pelosi The Achilles Heel For Joe Biden? – OpEd

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The rumor that Nancy Pelosi would run for office was laid to rest when Donald Trump lost to Joe Biden. Though nothing prevents her from running for presidency and her political career is evidence enough of her understanding of politics, it’s unlikely that this possibility might manifest. For Biden and the Democrats, however, things are not looking too well in the midterm elections due November, 2022. Joe Biden has not been able to win American hearts and minds let alone convince international allies that he is better than what they got from the US under Trump. With her party and president not being able to resist oncoming pressure, things cannot be worse for Nancy Pelosi. The recent outrage at gun violence and school shootings, serious social backlash on his stance on reproductive rights and how America will regain lost ground on its foreign policy canvas are colossal barriers the Democrat Party must overcome if it hopes to succeed in Midterm Elections. For Nancy Pelosi, having Republicans dominate her House would spell disaster in coming presidential elections. Not only does that leave room for Donald Trump to contest for office but it also stands to redo all that Biden promised to undo in his first 100 days in office.

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For Pelosi, issue is not with the Republican Party but with the choice of candidates they might wheel out when elections happen. Donald Trump was successful in avoiding impeachment proceedings going any further despite the January 6 Committee still haunting his political future. The main issue is that if Democrats lose majority in the coming midterm elections and Biden remains unable to consolidate his commitments, America’s competitors would see this as an opportunity to overtake Washington DC on the world stage. Pelosi has always been regarded as an aggressive politician who commands reason as well as she commands provocative rhetoric. Her attitude as a politician is significantly intimidating and her quotes often end up being unfriendly to say the least. Being the first female Speaker of the House of Representatives in American history, she could easily be perceived to be contesting for presidency but is it what she eventually aspires for? Being second in line in substituting the president, her office also grants her the ability to maneuver government policy and legislation. If her party loses the current advantage, she might have to switch to a more direct role for the Democrats.

So when she plans to visit to Taiwan and South Korea, amid warnings and provocative military deployments by Chinese armed forces, is Nancy Pelosi trying to make a statement? Why would she neglect Biden’s advice and proceed to accomplish an undertaking that puts America in direct contact with Beijing? The Republicans pushed their rivalry notion with China quite aggressively and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy directed all of his focus on how Nancy Pelosi was trying to ‘dodge the bullet’ inferring that such a stance encourages pushing America out of global superpower competitiveness. Such a narrative can prove to be damaging in the coming midterms considering how Beijing and Moscow have postured against Taiwan and Ukraine respectively. Perhaps Pelosi has taken it upon herself to repair political damage by actively and aggressively visiting all points of concern for American foreign policy. Such visits include her recent tour to Taiwan and South Korea with an intent to reaffirm American commitments towards collective and extended security. She previously visited Ukraine amid its war with Russia which indicates how she aims to address core issues that the Oval Office should take an interest in. She was also critical of Biden on his position after the Taliban takeover on Kabul after American forces withdrew which did attract a lot of criticism.

The Democrat Party feels that it will be unable to offer substantial resistance in the coming elections and its track record of being able to defend such a position has remained tumultuous even during Obama administration. Biden is already under the shadow of his Vice Presidency days and has yet remained unable to accomplish any significant political victory for his party. Nancy’s actions might seem to be a damage control for her parry but a reluctant president or a president in tow of House Speaker are not really the confidence boost they are looking for. Her actions abroad may not have a significant domestic impact but it will surely resonate negatively on the foreign policy front. Russian advance over Ukraine has not subsided, her visit to Taiwan has created a new fissure in the Western Pacific and her visit to the DMZ would surely resonate a similar sentiment. Even after taking out Al-Zawahiri, America’s position abroad may not improve and any possibility of extended confrontation in Europe and Southeast Asia may deal a financial damage to America and the world. Such visits and prospective backlash does America no good but it also does not improve Biden’s position; not even his approval ratings back home. Pelosi’s actions amid a surging inflation only add more fuel to the fire and opting to engage in an international conflict to restore post-withdrawal glory may not be a suitable scenario. Biden’s team would have to stick together and decide their actions carefully if they hope to achieve any dividends from the situation America is in.

America’s domestic political landscape during the pandemic and Trump administration has come a long way from being influenced by Cold War antics. Pelosi’s decision to make the Democrats seem more proactive may just be Biden’s Achilles Heel and may even pave the way for Donald Trump. Even though Mitch McConnell supports her visit to Taiwan, Democrats hold nominal advantage in both houses of the Congress. This means that if Biden is unable to capitalize on the situation or at least take control of impending economic recession, Pelosi’s efforts would be severely damaging to her party and the government. America cannot afford to divide its focus between the Pacific and the Atlantic and it surely cannot take on China while its allies struggle to make sense of where they stand in a rekindled cold war. American allies are not in a position to brace for impact for prolonged conflicts and America is too domestically engaged for a policy shift. Russia-Ukraine war has substantially proved how devastating conflicts can be for the world which is recovering from an economic hiatus. The State Department does not oppose her active international exposure to territories of concern but will the Democrats and Biden himself be able to absorb the fallout is not something Pelosi may have planned for.

Dr. Muhammad Shareh Qxazi, Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, University of the Punjab, Lahore

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