‘Fear And Respect’: How Pelosi Uses The Carrot And Stick To Control Her Freshmen

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 08: Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the U.S. Capitol March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. With almost zero chance of passing the Senate, H.R. 1 is a package of legislation aimed at bolstering voting rights, reducing corruption in Washington and overhauling the campaign finance system in an effort to reduce the influence of 'special interests.' (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images North America

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has managed to keep her diverse class of freshmen Democrats in line by supporting them when they come under fire and sternly keeping them in line when they stray too far.

According to a Thursday Politico report, she has kept many members happy by standing behind them when they come under intense media scrutiny and criticism both publicly and privately.

Still the early days of the term, she has already come to the side of freshmen Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) when their comments lit off firestorms.

Even when disagreeing with some of the liberal members on issues like impeachment and the Green New Deal, she’s earned enough respect from her caucus to only garner mild criticism from prominent freshmen like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY).

Per Politico, she holds biweekly meetings with members and regularly checks in with freshmen on the House floor. At a recent members’ dinner, she was one of the last in attendance in an attempt to put in facetime with everyone there.

“I think it’s a combination of fear and respect,” Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA) told Politico. “You understand the power of this office, speaker, and its potential impact on your future career and you tread carefully.”

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