Her stance is part of a growing revolt against party leadership due to a growing gap between the party and voter priorities.
CNN's John Berman posed the question to Tlaib during an interview last Thursday: "Will you vote for Nancy Pelosi [to become speaker of the House]?"
"Probably not," Tlaib, who is positioned to become the first Muslim woman in Congress if she wins her race in Michigan, replied. "I need someone that is connected with the different levels of poverty that's going on, just the fact that there are structures and barriers for working families in my district that need to be dismantled; and supporting big banks and supporting efforts that I don't think put the people first, is troubling, and I need someone that fully understands why I'm so passionate about those issues, why [I'm] so eager to make sure their voices are heard."
Tlaib thus joined the ranks of more than a score of Democratic candidates who have publicly disavowed Pelosi as a future Speaker, Politico noted. Other candidates who have voiced reservations about Pelosi as leader in the House are Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in New York City, Danny O'Connor in Ohio and Rep. Conor Lamb from Pennsylvania.
Pelosi has led House Democrats for 15 years, and although once named the "strongest and most effective speaker of modern times" by Charles Mann at the Brookings Institute, she faced down a major internal revolt in 2011 when 63 House Democrats backed Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio for speaker instead of her.
Niko House, political activist, journalist, and the founder and CEO of multiplatform broadcast network Mi Casa es Su Casa, spoke with Sputnik Radio's Fault Lines Tuesday about Pelosi's future prospects of being the most powerful member of the House of Representatives again.
[interview begins at 19:40]
House noted there has been a lot of pressure put on progressives to push to make sure Nancy Pelosi is speaker of the House. However, "They only keep her on because she's ‘the best fundraiser in the party,'" he told hosts Garland Nixon and Lee Stranahan. But with the Democratic Party millions of dollars in debt, House noted that "she's clearly not doing her job."
Tlaib's soft rejection of Pelosi last week was nothing new for her: back in May, she tweeted that "we're changing the Democratic Party, getting rid of sellout Democrats, and making sure this is a party for and by the people!"
It's over for cowardly corporate Dems, together with groups like @People4Bernie @BoldProgressive @DFAaction @justicedems @UFCW876, we're changing the Democratic Party, getting rid of sellout Democrats, and making sure this is a party for and by the people!— Rashida Tlaib (@RashidaTlaib) May 17, 2018
The mainstream Democrats are fighting a war on two fronts; they're fighting Trump on one hand, but also fighting the left of their own party: progressive liberals and democratic socialists. Emily's List, a powerful political action committee that endorses pro-choice liberal candidates for office, has nonetheless declined to support left-wing female candidates critical of the Democratic center, such as Ocasio-Cortez and Cynthia Nixon, both of whom have claimed membership in the Democratic Socialists of America.
Notably, in its gallery of endorsed House of Representatives candidates, the PAC's website presently does not list Pelosi, either. It does, however, endorse Tlaib. It also endorses Deb Haaland, another part of what CNBC called an "alliance" of Democratic female candidates gunning for office, a group that includes Tlaib and Ocasio-Cortez, who if victorious would become the first Native American woman in Congress.
However, the consensus among liberal media, from The Atlantic to Salon and The New York Times, is that the primary objection to Pelosi among Democrats is that she's unpopular because she's a powerful woman. In an April article, The Atlantic even went so far as to attribute the unpopularity of Democrats to their being perceived as "emasculated yes-men," avoiding completely the question of distance from regular voters raised by Tlaib and House.
In the face of a female challenger like Tlaib, however, it's hard to hide behind the politics of identity.
House noted that Pelosi and other wealthy Democratic leaders with a net worth of millions of dollars "don't live on the same planet" as working people and don't know about their pressing needs, including those that motivate them to vote for populists like Trump instead of establishment Democrats.
"Their dreams are not grounded in reality," he said, noting that the Democrats are speaking about "taking back the House" in November, but they aren't pressing the Trump administration on any of the concerning current issues, such as the war in Yemen being waged by US ally Saudi Arabia.
One could speak similarly of the Democratic obsession with the Russiagate narrative, with CNN publishing the results of a poll on Tuesday that revealed that two-thirds of Americans, and a majority of members of both major political parties, favor ending, before the November 2018 elections, the investigation of alleged Russian collusion with US President Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign.