How power, even just the promise of it, changes things and divides those who professed unity when power was a more distant goal.

To wit, Democrats are already showing fractures that were at least previously papered over with the linked arms and pink hats of the Great Brave Resistance against the Bad Guy at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue. But now that Connor Lamb has shown you can be a very centrist – to not say rather conservative – candidate and win as a Democrat, the party is roiling as it sorts out the spoils of its eagerly anticipated wins in the coming mid-terms.

Let’s leave aside the fact that nearly 8 months is a very long time in politics, especially with this administration, and maybe Democrats won’t retake the House, or especially the Senate. They’re already behaving as if they will, however, and so now Nancy Pelosi is coming under fire. All because a pro-life veteran faced the camera and said he wouldn’t (necessarily one assumes) support her.

So we’re already getting speculation over Nancy Pelosi’s replacement as Speaker of the House come November. Guess who’s name is somehow being thrown around?

Adam Schiff.

Imagine: Speaker Schiff with a Democrat-controlled House. While New York Rep. Joe Crowley is being touted as the steady hand experienced guy to take the baton from Nancy, one feels Schiff is not bothered by the rumors that he’s a candidate, and likely encouraged some vigorous leaking by his aides to ensure those rumors started floating around as soon as it was clear that Lamb would win PA-18.

And more than a few people had plenty to say, (anonymously of course), about Nancy Pelosi. Here’s a few quotes given to or passed on to Axios’ Mike Allen:

  • She used to be retributional. Now she’s more inclusive.
  • She could win the caucus vote [for Speaker] but lose the floor vote.
  • That would give the House to the head of the Republicans.
  • She’s the best vote counter this generation has ever seen. So she’ll know this scenario well in advance, and will figure out a way that will preserve her legacy.

Preserve her legacy? Does that sound like a ringing endorsement?? They’re already chiseling in the epitaph on her political gravestone it would seem.

But it is Nancy Pelosi we’re talking about, who’s also very good at counting the numbers written on the bundled checks that her fundraising skills rake in by the truckful for her party. So she retains a certain amount of agency here. It still is her call, but the whistle is slowly being pulled from her hands.

Will she let go or angrily hang on?

Meanwhile in the upper chamber, Senator Elizabeth Warren is in a standoff with more centrist Democrat Senators over the new banking bill that is being considered. Here’s what she said:

This bill isn’t about the unfinished business of the last financial crisis. This bill is about laying the groundwork for the next one. So I will make a prediction: This bill will pass. And, if the banks kept their way, in the next 10 years or so, there will be another financial crisis.

Senators like Missouri’s Claire McCaskill are of course more than a little frustrated by Warren’s stance on the banking bill. Will the Bernie Sanders tear-down-Wall-Street crowd be the leading voice on this heretofor invisible piece of legislation? Or will Lamb’s centrist yet politely cautious defiance of the identity politics wing prevail, allowing a Democratic Senator facing a tough re-election to vote for a bill without being denounced as a Wall Street Lobbyist?

Power breeds division. On both sides of any aisle. So even if Nancy & Elizabeth have agency in this struggle for the Democratic party’s soul, there’s another group with more than a little agency: voters. If Democrats want to ensure victory, they will have to remind themselves that a voter in Missouri may not have the same concerns as a voter in San Francisco. Are the foaming-mad progressives ready to do that?

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