Democrats Nominate Pelosi As Speaker, But Bigger Test Lies Ahead

As Einstein so eloquently noted:

"The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results."

And so it is that House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) claimed victory on Wednesday, saying she had won the Democratic nomination for Speaker amid an entrenched rebellion from insurgent lawmakers who pose the starkest threat to her long reign atop the party.

As The Hill reports, Wednesday’s Speaker vote was conducted by private ballot in the Visitors Center of the Capitol. It was reflective of the unusual nature of this year’s leadership elections that there were written ballots at all.

The outcome was no surprise though, as Pelosi was running uncontested and enjoys widespread support within the liberal-heavy caucus she’s led since 2003.

Nine Democrats in the bipartisan, 48-member 'Problem Solvers' caucus had vowed to withhold their support for Pelosi - or any other Speaker nominee - unless the candidate commits, in writing, to the changes to rules aimed at empowering rank-and-file lawmakers and breaking partisan gridlock.

Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-N.Y) said that rebel members met with Pelosi before the vote in an effort "to engage her in a reasonable conversation about leadership transition," but were rejected.

"Unfortunately, our concerns were dismissed outright," she said in a statement.

The much higher bar will come in the first week of January, when the full House meets to choose the Speaker in a public vote when she'll need 218 votes, the majority of the full House, to be elected speaker. House Democrats are taking control with at least a 233-vote majority, but some Democrats have pledged that they won't back Pelosi for speaker, and so it’s there that the insurgents feel they can block Pelosi’s ascension, even as Pelosi and her allies have projected nothing but confidence that she’ll retake the gavel she lost following the red wave elections of 2010.