Pelosi Faces Mortal Challenge to Leadership

Nancy Pelosi is confronting rising threats from different corners of the Democratic Party, and is girding for a mortal challenge to her leadership after the November midterm elections or even sooner.

In perhaps the most serious test of her 15-year grip on the House Democratic caucus, Pelosi is facing unrest from older lawmakers critical of her style, younger Democrats demanding generational change and candidates across the party who have sought to inoculate themselves against Republican attacks by distancing themselves from her.

While she remains intent on reclaiming the speakership, Pelosi, 78, has also begun to acknowledge more candidly that a transfer of power is coming at some point. And in an interview Wednesday, Pelosi sent a message of reassurance to anxious Democrats, speaking with specificity about building a “bridge” to new leaders in the party.

Most immediately perilous for Pelosi may be an impatient mood in the Congressional Black Caucus, where senior legislators have begun arguing that it is past time to elect an African-American speaker. Black lawmakers and candidates, furious about President Donald Trump’s caustic racial politics and attacks on African-Americans, say they are determined to claim a greater role in steering their party.