California's top-two primary system, in which all candidates, regardless of party affiliation, run in a single primary, and the two candidates who receive the most votes in the primary advance to the general election, could mean the end of Democratic U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi's storied political career in 2014.
Pelosi currently represents 12th Congressional District of California, which includes the northeastern three-quarters of the City and County of San Francisco, California. (here's a PDF map of CA-12)
In 2012, Pelosi was lucky to draw a Republican general election challenger, John Dennis. Since the 12th Congressional District of California is overwhelmingly Democratic to the point that simply being a Republican means that someone is unelectable, Pelosi won re-election easily. If that happens again in 2014, Pelosi will win re-election easily.
However, if Nancy Pelosi draws a Democratic general election challenger, which is possible because of the way congressional elections are conducted in California, Pelosi could be in big trouble.
Since the 2010 Republican wave that saw Democrats lose the majority in the U.S. House of Representatives, Pelosi's relationship with progressives has become heavily strained.
First, in a 2011 report by the newsmagazine 60 Minutes, Pelosi was revealed to have participated in the initial public offering (IPO) of shares of Visa stock in 2008 at the same time that the House was considering whether or not to bring proposed regulations on credit cards to the House floor, which it never did:
...former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her husband have participated in at least eight IPOs. One of those came in 2008, from Visa, just as a troublesome piece of legislation that would have hurt credit card companies, began making its way through the House. Undisturbed by a potential conflict of interest the Pelosis purchased 5,000 shares of Visa at the initial price of $44 dollars. Two days later it was trading at $64. The credit card legislation never made it to the floor of the House.Second, Pelosi has supported President Obama's War on Social Security, including making the absurd claim that Chained CPI would actually strengthen Social Security:
A coalition of progressive outside groups is threatening to recruit primary challengers against Democrats who vote for a bill with “chained CPI,” and the groups have been directing thousands of activists to call Democratic members, including leaders.Finally, Pelosi publicly defended the National Security Agency's PRISM elecronic surveillance program at the 2013 Netroots Nation conference, and she was booed by progressive activists:
But when asked about “chained CPI” Wednesday, Pelosi backed Obama, saying she considers it “a strengthening of Social Security.”
Writer, blogger and sometime TV pundit, Zerlina Maxwell, who was given the unenviable challenge of interviewing Ms. Pelosi, Saturday afternoon, eventually got to a question about Edward Snowden's release of documents related to the government's snooping operations. Boos and heckles cascaded across the convention hall, as the minority leader defended the legality of the NSA's data mining operation, and its intrusions into the world's email and internet activity, while decrying any comparison to similar activities under Bush and Cheney. She even brought charts explaining the differences, which she tweeted.Trust me, the LAST thing Nancy Pelosi wants is to have to run against a progressive Democrat in the general election in her home district, as she'll have to defend her non-progressive positions on a few very important issues in a district that has a storied history of progressive activism. If Pelosi has to run against a true progressive Democrat, she could lose re-election despite Pelosi having a massive campaign war chest at her disposal.
"No more secret courts! No more secret laws," shouted attendee Marc Perkel, a 57 year-old Californian. As the crowd applauded and cheered his audaciousness, some joining in the chants, security personnel were summoned and he was removed from the hall. "It was wrong when Cheney did it, and it's wrong now," he yelled, as they marched him out.
The shouting inside did not stop, however. When Leader Pelosi was asked for her response to the news that Snowden had been charged with three felonies, under the Espionage Act, she defended the Department of Justice's criminal complaint. "In terms of Snowden," she said, "I may be in disagreement with you. He did violate the law, in terms of releasing those documents." At that point, Pelosi was assailed with another rolling chorus of boos.