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Why Does the Right Hate Nancy Pelosi?

Nancy Pelosi is the American politician with the highest number of disapproval. Deserved or not, today she and her family are victims of hate attacks in the run-up to the United States midterm elections

Nancy Pelosi

Photo: US Department of Labor

LatinAmerican Post | Santiago Gómez Hernández

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Leer en español: ¿Por qué la derecha odia a Nancy Pelosi?

At the end of October 2022, the residence of Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House of Representatives, was the scene of one of the most serious political attacks in recent years. The incident left Paul Pelosi (82), the politician's husband, injured and currently recovering in a hospital. The attacker, identified as David DePape, faces charges of attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon and elder abuse.

Police determined that David DePape intended to kidnap and injure the Speaker of the House. The detainee had duct tape, ropes, zip ties and a hammer. In addition, Paul told the authorities that the intruder entered asking for his wife: "Where is Nancy?" DePape repeated. “DePape stated that he was going to hold Nancy hostage and talk to her. If Nancy told DePape the 'truth,' he would let her go, and if she 'lie,' he would break her 'kneecaps,'” the victim said in an affidavit.

So far, it has been established that the attack was motivated by political reasons. The tension in the United States today has led a large part of right-wing extremism to carry out violent acts.

This attack seems to be the explosion of a series of hate speeches that have cast Nancy Pelosi as the enemy of the right. From official and unofficial sources, the Speaker of the House has been one of the people most hated by Republicans and the right in general.

According to an NRCC poll, Pelosi is the congresswoman least loved by Americans. This can be associated with his great recognition (he is one of the most recognized figures) and the representation of the traditional political class. It is not for nothing that Pelosi is currently the third most powerful person in the United States. Because she is the Speaker of the House and is the second-in-line successor in the US behind Vice President Kamala Harris. This means that if a fatal event befalls President Joe Biden and his vice president, Pelosi would take over as president.

But Why, Despite Her Recognition and Power, Does the Right Hate Nancy Pelosi so Much?

A Political Enemy Who Helped Hate Speech

From the very moment that Pelosi came to lead the minorities in the House in 2003, the Republican Party identified her as the visible face of the Democratic Party, beyond the 2 presidencies of Barack Obama or the first Biden administration. Campaigns such as “Fire Pelosi” (Fire Pelosi), to stop the universal social security proposal better known as Obamacare, were proof of this.

Republicans have caricatured her as a crazy, angry, hysterical woman who does not manage her temper. Something usual to attack women in politics who have a temperament and do not manage an image of a submissive woman.

But it was not until the arrival of Donald Trump that the animosity against the minority leader in the lower house increased. Being the most powerful woman in the Democratic Party and the face of the opposition, she was the one who received the attacks and the hatred of the Republicans. The derogatory speeches, which Trump also exposed, helped this rejection. Frequently, he called her “Crazy Nancy”, “Nervous Nancy” or “Nancy Antoinett”.

Even, as collected by the VOX medium, in 2021, the Fox News host, Mark Levin, called Pelosi as "a filthy old woman, that's what she is, a nasty, vicious and deranged fool" who “likes Trump” and “can't get Trump out of his mind.”

Also, prominent politicians within the Republican Party have sent messages that can induce violence, dispatched against Pelosi and other members of the Democratic Party. The commercial of the Arizona senator candidate that caricatured Pelosi as “Pelosi crazy face” and appeared shooting her, Joe Biden and Mark Kelly went viral.

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The recent attack on Nancy Pelosi's husband is just one example of a sentiment that has been brewing for several years in the American extreme right: an irrational hatred of Californian politics. But what makes Nancy Pelosi, the current speaker of the House, so disliked by one of the country's political extremes?

According to Kantar Media, from 2014 to 2016, the figure of Pelosi was used between 9% and 13% in Republican Party campaigns. She became a public enemy of the right.

Misogyny

This hatred towards Pelosi cannot be explained without understanding the component of misogyny that exists in American politics. There are many male leaders within the Democratic Party, but it seems that the extreme right views women with more revulsion.

Amid so many Democratic politicians of various profiles (high, low, middle), the targets of these recent attacks seem to be women in power. It not only happened with Nancy Pelosi, there is also the case of the governor of the state of Michigan.

In 2020, two men were captured for plotting the kidnapping of Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat. What at the time was classified as domestic terrorism, may be associated with the Pelosi case, despite the fact that the Government has wanted to maintain the precaution of not declaring it a local terrorism attack.

The culprits of the act against Michigan Democratic politics, Adam Fox and Barry Croft Jr., were identified as far-right extremists.

Conspiracy Theories

Beyond the fact that the Republicans, the extreme right and the alternative right see in Pelosi the representation of their ills: a woman, a feminist, from the political elite and progressive, there is also another factor that today plays an important role in American politics. It's about conspiracy theories. This element, which has become vital in the most faithful Trumpism, has developed a discourse of friends and enemies within politics. In addition, it has promoted a rejection of liberal democracy.

Today, movements like Q'Anon spread a series of lies and accusations against various high-profile politicians. They have been accused of everything from stealing the elections that Joe Biden won to being a sect that consumes human flesh. This type of diatribe has permeated numerous Americans. Today, they reject any real information and turn to unverified sources with fictitious stories that end up dehumanizing politicians like Nancy Pelosi.