In all my years of being a basketball fan, I never heard Michael Jordan say that he needs a strong Utah Jazz team to win the NBA Finals. He relished beating the best of the best, but it didn’t matter who was in front of him. All that mattered to Jordan was winning that championship.
I continue to be perplexed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) inferences for a “strong, Republican party”– even more so after her comments at the opening session of the Aspen Ideas Climate Conference in Miami. Why would we need a party rooted in obstructionism to be an ally? What Republican is overwhelmingly for pro-choice policies and fighting climate change? The speaker’s comments promote this mirage of bipartisanship when the Republican party is not even remotely interested.
“So rather than saying, ‘Well, we have to defeat them,’ no, let’s just try to persuade them. I want the Republican party to take back the party, take it back to where you were when you cared about a woman’s right to choose, you cared about the environment.”
“Hey, here I am, Nancy Pelosi, saying this country needs a strong Republican party, and we do, not a cult, but a strong Republican party.”
You can argue the Republican Party has never been stronger in its ideology. Roe v. Wade is on its deathbed; Republican state governments all over the country are reshaping our education system, erasing gender identity, and impeding election steps to shape results that benefit them. Trump administration-appointed judges are actively overturning precedent. Republican representatives will have disagreements, but when it comes to passing laws and pushing through messaging, they all fall in line.
With the Democratic party, if one or two representatives are against something, the entire foundation crumbles. Perhaps Speaker Pelosi is talking about a time when Democrats and Republicans used to take the Amtrak together, but that’s no longer the case.
The generations who hear these comments have never seen a Republican party be harmonious – they see non-violent protesters being attacked, book bans, attacks on women’s reproductive rights, and embracing disinformation. Millennials watched how the Iraq War and recession saddled them with debt and jobs that lack upward mobility, and wages that grow with rising living costs.
So, no – it’s not that the U.S. needs a “strong Republican party.” Look what Republicans are doing as the minority. We need an assertive Democratic party who will fight tooth and nail for policies that will help all Americans, like universal healthcare and affordable housing – not try to be friends with the bullies that pick on them every day. Democratic leaders need to make sure every stone is unturned and all options are on the table to ensure everybody is accounted for and not just place the responsibility on the voters.
If people see you fighting, they will fight alongside you. We want to root and vote for you - but you must recognize the cult of personality IS the party. I can guarantee Republicans are not calling for a “strong, Democratic party” because Americans’ lives would have a chance to be better. When I see comments like this, I picture them originating from a place of privilege. Speaker Pelosi’s life will not be impacted in the same way a regular person if the current iteration of the Republican party reaches an apex.
So, respectfully, madam speaker, fight for us instead of asking those doing the opposite to join us.