There isn't any good reason for why Nancy Pelosi shouldn't be Speaker of the House, and the rebel faction has barely offered one other than some vague murmurings about "change" (I'm having flashbacks just writing that sentence). But the political calculations here are, if anything, even worse. Let's review:
- Not to put too fine a point on it, but the broad argument that Nancy Pelosi is a weight dragging Democratic electoral chances seems to have been rather decisively falsified by our massive gains nationwide a few weeks ago.
- Speaking of which, the political storyline with respect to the House should be "Democrats pick up nearly 40 seats in a crushing blue wave", followed closely by "Donald Trump is terrified of a House with subpoena power." But let's step all over that story in favor of yet another "Dems in disarray" narrative the media loves so much! Nothing says "the adults are back in town" like immediately collapsing into petty infighting!
- The idea that the savvy political move right now in the Democratic Party is to step on perhaps the most prominent female elected official in the party in service of a tack to the center is ... let's go with "counterintuitive."
- Even in swing districts, the number of independent voters who realistically are making their D-or-R voting decision based on whether Nancy Pelosi is speaker is charitably described as "trivial". And of that set, the number who will care about something as an inside-baseball-y as the vote for Speaker cannot be measured by any instrument known to man. Put differently: if someone is going to vote Republican because Nancy Pelosi is speaker, it's cute to think they'd make an exception for a Democrat who voted against Pelosi on the floor.
- To the extent that anyone who promised to "not vote for Pelosi for speaker" needs a face-saving measure, the solution clearly is "vote for someone else in the caucus meeting". Then -- once you lose that vote by a predictably crushing margin -- say you've fulfilled your promise to "vote for someone else" and fall back in line like a good soldier. If that sounds too clever by half, keep in mind we are dealing with a hypothetical class of voters who who will hold a grudge over the House leadership vote for two years, yet apparently won't be influenced by or care about anything the House actually does over that time period.
Honestly, there's nothing more "Democrat" than a bunch of sanctimonious morons deciding that opposing Trump is way less fun than a few weeks of needlessly self-destructive intraparty fratricide.
The only pleasant thing about this whole affair will be watching Pelosi crush the insurgents like bugs. See, unlike them, Nancy Pelosi actually does know how to play the political game.