But a recent report in the New York Times says that age isn’t the only change some Democratic members of Congress would like to see the party’s highest level of leadership, especially if Democrats regain control of the House. The Times reported:
Most perilous for Ms. Pelosi right now may be an impatient mood in the Congressional Black Caucus, where senior legislators have begun arguing that it is past time to elect an African-American speaker. Black lawmakers and candidates, furious about President Trump’s caustic racial politics and attacks on African-Americans, say they are determined to claim a greater role in steering their party.Some Democrats have focused on Representative Jim Clyburn of South Carolina, the third-ranking House Democrat, as a potential successor. Mr. Clyburn came under intense pressure at a black caucus retreat in the Mississippi Delta last weekend to take on Ms. Pelosi, with Representative Cedric Richmond of Louisiana and others urging him to step forward if she struggles to assemble the 218 votes needed for the job.
Clyburn, currently the assistant Democratic leader in the House, notably expressed interest in running if Pelosi falls short, telling the Times that his becoming speaker would “put to bed forever the notion that the Democratic caucus is taking black voters for granted.”
But Clyburn, who is also 78 and has been in Congress since 1993, could face a challenge gaining support among Democratic members who are also looking for a generational change.
Since Hillary Clinton’s loss in the 2016 presidential election, much conversation has taken place about black Americans' loyalty to the Democratic Party.
Since the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the party has regularly received the overwhelming majority of black votes. But some have questioned how committed the Democratic Party is to its most loyal constituency.
While Clinton went on to win nearly 90 percent of black votes, questions about her commitment to the black community — based on some of her past comments about black youth — were a consistent thorn in her side during her campaign.
Some black Americans — unconvinced that Clinton and her vice-presidential pick, Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), would be the best stewards to carry on Barack Obama’s vision of a more inclusive America — stayed home on Election Day, despite pleas from the president and other prominent black Americans.
The clearest evidence of liberal Americans' interest in seeing a new wave of leadership can be found in Democratic voters backing the most racially diverse group of candidates that the party has ever offered in a midterm election. And much of that change is being pushed by an increasingly diverse electorate and the youthful energy of millennial voters. Democratic Party leaders are banking on those same levels of support from the primaries to be carried through the November elections.
But even if Democrats do exceedingly well this November, there is still concern about future elections, leading some to argue that the best way for Democrats to remain in the majority in upcoming years is to have a more youthful presence at the most senior levels of leadership.
But if Clyburn is selected to lead the party, it suggests the party’s bigger focus is respecting its most loyal demographic group over trying to secure a demographic that has proved to be less consistent in its support. So far, Pelosi has stated she intends to run for the House Democratic leadership, and while there have been rumblings for change, significant support for America’s most powerful Democrat remains within the halls of Congress. It seems we’ll have neither a black speaker nor a younger speaker unless she’s forced to relinquish that claim.