In case last week’s elections caused anyone to doubt that the national Democratic Party is still a tomb of old ideas and older leaders, “Saturday Night Live” aired a reminder last night.
“The Dems are back!” the fake Democratic National Committee declares in a triumphant video message, promising to follow up victories in Virginia and New Jersey with “fresh new ideas delivered by fresh new faces.”
These faces include “hot young thing” Sen. Elizabeth Warren (who is 68), a parody of Sen. Tim Kaine who can only repeat “yo soy Tim Kaine!” and Larry David (70) portraying Bernie Sanders (76).
And a perpetually grinning Nancy Pelosi, of course — whom SNL’s Kate McKinnon plays as if an inverted coat hanger were jammed in her mouth.
“We’re going to end the spirit of divisiveness in this country by focusing on how we won the governors races in two of the 10 states we care about,” promises Cecily Strong-as-octogenarian-Sen. Dianne Feinstein.
The skit was a break from what feels like a thousand years of Donald Trump parodies on SNL and was well received by conservative critics. Even Breitbart didn’t hate it.
But it also jibes with criticisms that are coming more and more from within the Democrats’ own ranks.
“Our leadership is old and creaky, including me,” former DNC chair Howard Dean told MSNBC in February.
“Our strongest age group that votes for us is under 35, and they don’t consider themselves Democrats,” he said.
The DNC was about to vote for a new chairman, and Dean urged it to choose an Indiana mayor in his mid-30s: an Afghanistan war veteran who had criticized Democrats for ignoring smaller communities like his own while they obsess over Washington politics.
The committee instead chose as its new leader Tom Perez, a veteran of the Obama and Clinton administrations who used to work for Sen. Ted Kennedy way back in the 1990s.
Party leaders believed Perez, The Washington Post wrote, would “keep control of the party in trusted hands.”
And so he has, maybe, even if many of those hands are looking a little liver-spotted.
“Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is 77, Minority Whip Steny Hoyer is 78, and Assistant Democratic Leader James Clyburn is 77,” noted Paul Waldman, a writer for the liberal American Prospect, in a column last month for The Post.
Pelosi has been in Congress since 1987 and led House Democrats for nearly half of those three decades. The Post wrote several weeks ago that at least one party leader is calling for her to finally pass the torch.
On SNL last night, by way of new ideas, her doppelganger pitched a jobs program based on “converting Confederate monuments into statues of prominent lesbian poets.”
Back in July on "Fox News Sunday," Chris Wallace asked the real Pelosi point blank about the matter:
“Do Democrats need new leaders with new ideas?”
The minority leader snapped into the wide-eyed, frozen grin that gives SNL writers so much delight. “I am a master legislator; I know the budget to the nth degree,” she told Wallace, and kept talking over him for a while, until he finally got in his second question.
If Democrats manage to retake the House in 2018, Wallace asked, will she run for speaker yet again?
Pelosi kept talking but dodged the question expertly. She’d had many years of practice, after all.