Despite some unfavorable polling, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi still thinks the Occupy movement has been politically helpful to Democrats.
In an interview with TPM on Friday, she said there’s no recent precedent for the sort of election House Democrats are going into. In 1994 and 2010, Congressional Republicans ran against Washington controlled by Democrats. In 2006, Congressional Democrats ran against Republican corruption and President George W. Bush. This time around, President Obama will carry the national message for the party while individual candidates use it as they see fit to win in their districts. That national message, Pelosi said, has much greater salience thanks to the Occupiers.
“Our statement is we are reigniting, Democrats are reigniting the American dream, building ladders of success, removing obstacles to opportunity to all who work hard and play by the rules,” Pelosi said. “We have work to do. We think that important to that is enhanced by what’s happening in the Occupy [movement], which is the 99 and one. They really emblazoned that in the minds of the American people. That’s what we dedicated our lives to, but they gave it that clarity. People say they didn’t have a message. They may not have a message, but they have a statement. And the statement is the status quo is unacceptable — 99 and one.”
If it’s a marriage, it’s not a very happy one. Many Democrats are hesitant to align themselves directly with the movement, particularly as the movement’s favorability falls. And the Occupy movement itself recently protested outside DCCC headquarters. But the movement’s key issues like addressing income inequality are still wildly popular and Democrats will benefit from that.
Brian Beutler is TPM's senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he's led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight, and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at email@example.com.