Rep. Joe Crowley’s stunning loss on Tuesday night to a first-time candidate makes this crystal clear: Nancy Pelosi’s path back to the speaker's chair is getting more narrow by the day.
But it may not ease the route for the leaders directly below her either.
As the Democratic Party grows younger and more diverse, House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) — an older white male centrist — may be left without a chair in any leadership scramble.
And for Rep. Jim Clyburn of South Carolina, the No. 3 House Democrat, the Crowley earthquake cuts both ways. Clyburn could be in line to become the first African-American to serve as speaker of the House or he may find himself pushing another black Democrat for that post.
The septuagenarian troika that has run the House Democratic Caucus since the early 2000s reacted to Crowley's defeat in different ways, but the stakes for all of them this November are high. Pelosi will either be speaker or she will be out. Hoyer hopes that he can somehow cobble together a coalition to vault him to the top spot, or at least keep him in the game. Clyburn, while always loyal to Pelosi, may find himself as her successor or sidelined as well.
The drama comes as a new slate of Democrats is being floated for top posts within the Democratic Caucus, no matter what happens in November.
The complete story here > Pelosi’s path to speakership gets even harder