The recent special election for the Georgia 6th congressional district was billed as a referendum on President Donald Trump. However, it looks like it may be one for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi instead. In the wake of the latest defeat of Democrats at the hands of Republicans more voices are being raised for Pelosi, age 77, to retire and make way for a younger generation of Democrats in leadership, according to in NBC News. While the discontent over the aging House leader is indicative of general divisions within the party, Pelosi will be staying around, at least for now.

Republicans make Pelosi into an issue

One of the common themes in the various special congressional elections has been accusations by Republicans that any Democrat who is elected to Congress will be obliged to vote for Nancy Pelosi as their leader. Pelosi, as a San Francisco liberal, does not sell very well in the South or the Midwest, which tends to be much more conservative than the west coast.

Pelosi has also suffered a number of “senior moments” in which she seemed to be confused, even to the point of thinking that George W. Bush is still president of the United States instead of Donald Trump. The accumulation of these incidents has caused some people to call into question Pelosi’s mental faculties.

The question presents itself whether she still can be an effective party leader.

Why she is likely to stay around as long as she wants

On the other hand, Pelosi elicits lots of loyalty from most of the Democratic House caucus. The main reason is that she can raise boatloads of money for Democratic House members. The fact is that money is still the fuel that makes politics possible and the ability to raise it is still considered an asset.

The bottom line

Democrats have some hopes of retaking the House in 2018. The string of defeats that have suffered in special elections has seemed to have dampened those aspirations somewhat. While President Donald Trump appears to be relatively unpopular, Democrats are really disliked according to most polling data. If the Democrats fall short again in the midterms, one would not be surprised if an effort is made to make Pelosi and perhaps the rest of the aging House Democratic leadership to step aside in favor of younger members.

In the meantime, Republicans will continue to use Pelosi as a fundraising and vote-getting tool, depicting her as a boogie woman whose views are out of the mainstream of American politics and her persona as off-putting for most people. She will thus continue to be an anchor for Democratic political aspirations.