House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) in Washington on July 26. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

Regarding the Aug. 10 front-page article “Pelosi causing jitters in party”:

The question Democrats should be asking after the close loss by Danny O’Connor in Ohio’s 12th Congressional District was whether the “Nancy Pelosi factor” made the difference. Republicans are using the prospect of Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) as House speaker to get people to vote Republican; Democratic candidates claim defensively they would not vote for Ms. Pelosi for speaker.

In close races this November, a shift of a few thousand votes could make the difference. 

Ms. Pelosi should renounce her interest in becoming speaker so as to disarm the Republican argument. We can honor her for her past contributions to the nation and to the Democratic Party, but she must be asked for one more contribution. With that, she could save the United States from its dangerous downward spiral.

Alfred P. Van Huyck, Round Hill