Sometimes I wonder if the mainstream media pundits honestly can’t figure out what Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is doing because she’s smarter than they are, or if they merely like to spin nonsensical narratives about what she’s doing because they think it’ll better for ratings. In any case, the pundits never do seem to acknowledge why Pelosi keeps winning. Now it’s happened yet again.
Last night Palmer Report pointed out that, for whatever unknown reason, Nancy Pelosi had suddenly decided that she wanted to nail down two articles of impeachment and reveal them today – even though it meant the House Judiciary Committee had to work through the night on them. Now we know why she wanted it to happen today. She was simultaneously revealing that she’d cut a deal with Donald Trump to pass the USMCA trade deal.
Naturally, the pundits spun this as Pelosi inexplicably handing Trump a win on the same day she was impeaching him. But that’s not what happened. Not even close. Trump negotiated the USMCA as a NAFTA replacement that isn’t much different or any better than NAFTA, with the expectation that House Democrats would never pass it. Then he could campaign in 2020 on the premise that the “do-nothing Democrats” are so cravenly partisan, they refused to pass his trade deal, and therefore the teetering economy is the Democrats’ fault. It’s actually pretty deviously smart if you think about it.
Unfortunately for Donald Trump, Nancy Pelosi is smarter than he is. Pelosi just brought articles of impeachment against Trump, the ugliest thing that the House can ever do to a president. In that same moment, she showed that she’s still willing to work with the president to get things done, because while she had to impeach him for his crimes, she’s not trying to shut down the entire nation just to stick it to Trump.
This means Donald Trump can no longer campaign on the premise that the Democrats refused to give him his trade deal. Instead, the House Democrats in vulnerable districts can now campaign on the premise that they’re still acting in bipartisan good faith, even though they’re impeaching Trump. There’s not a single person in this country who wasn’t going to vote for Trump in 2020, but is now suddenly going to vote for Trump because the USMCA is passing. There are, however, voters who will stick with House Democrats because they pulled off a bipartisan accomplishment during impeachment.
In other words, Nancy Pelosi increased the odds of retaining a Democratic House, while forcing Trump to go back to the drawing board when it comes to his 2020 campaign messaging. This is what strategy and winning actually looks like in politics. There are no magic wands involved. There is rarely instant gratification. There is simply outmaneuvering the other side, so that you gain an incremental advantage. Do that enough times in a row, and your side starts racking up serious electoral victories as a result.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report