Nancy Pelosi speaks Italian

Most powerful woman in America: Nancy Pelosi is now Trump's main antagonist

It was a fight for 78 year old Nancy Pelosi. In order to move up to the most influential post in the US Congress, the Democrat had to push aside competitors. The first hurdle has been taken.

Nancy Pelosi has come a long way. The 78-year-old has been in the political business for 37 years and has held leadership positions in the US Congress for a long time. The front woman of the Democrats knows how to fend off criticism, organize majorities and capture dissenters. She has proven that once more: after an internal revolt, the Democrats nominated Pelosi on Wednesday as a candidate for the influential office of Chairwoman of the US House of Representatives. The actual election will follow in January. If all goes well, Pelosi will again be number three in the state - after the US president and his vice-president. And she also becomes: the most powerful woman in America and for the time being the most important opponent of Donald Trump.

The management job in the chamber is something like the office of President of the Bundestag in Germany. An influential post - by far the most important that the Democrats currently have to fill. From 2007 to 2011 Pelosi was the "Speaker" of the House of Representatives, that is the official title. Pelosi became the first woman in the country's history to take up the post.

No opposing candidates

When the Democrats subsequently lost the majority in the House of Representatives, she became the minority leader of her party again. And in that role, she only just led the Democrats back to a majority there in the early November congressional election. Pelosi claims part of the election success for himself and immediately after the election claimed the most important office in the US Congress.

But some MPs from within their own ranks spoke out against them, calling for change and rejuvenation. They called for Pelosi to make way for someone younger after more than 30 years in Congress and 16 years at the head of their group. At 78 years of age, Pelosi does not exactly represent the new departure that many Democrats are longing for. Critics see her as part of the establishment, as a representative of the old guard.

But Pelosi could not be stopped by the revolt. She persistently replied to her critics that she was best suited - and that there was no one else for the job. Pelosi organized its own troops and had prominent advocates appear every day. And: She charmed a possible competitor out of the race. The African-American MP Marcia Fudge from Ohio had announced ambitions for the spokesperson's office. Pelosi met with Fudge, gave her more say in the parliamentary group, gave her a post - and thus moved her not to stand for candidacy. Pelosi also appeased other critics in a similar way. In the end, there was no opposing candidate.

Fast ascent

Pelosi is considered a skilful tactician. As someone who knows how to haggle behind the scenes. She could probably learn a little something from her father. He was mayor of the east coast city of Baltimore near DC. Pelosi grew up as the youngest of six children in a family of Italian roots. She later raised five children herself and then started her political career.

Pelosi rose quickly and held political leadership positions for decades. It doesn't work without toughness. She has often shown stamina. Also as someone who has already completed a speech marathon for eight hours without a break and without food in parliament to fight for an immigration law.

The democrat should still need toughness. The vote in January - at the first meeting of the newly elected House of Representatives at the beginning of November - will be the real test for Pelosi. There she can only afford a few votes against from her own ranks. 218 votes are required, the Democrats currently have 234 seats in the chamber. There could be one more, because the race for one seat is still a draw.

But even if everything goes well with the election, the times for Pelosi are not easy. Your party is changing and fighting over the future course. In the congressional election, a whole group of progressive, younger Democratic candidates who will sit in the House of Representatives in the future won through.

Far left for the Republicans

Many women are among them, Latinas, Muslims, blacks, descendants of indigenous people. They stir up the party, want to make it more modern. Their front woman is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who is the youngest woman ever to move into the chamber. Shortly after the election, Ocasio-Cortez took part in a protest about climate protection in front of Pelosi's office and broke with lots of conventions. Ocasio-Cortez only supported Pelosi to a limited extent: as long as Pelosi was the most progressive candidate for the post, she could count on her support. Pelosi belongs to the left wing of her party - but for some in her own ranks she is not left enough.

The Republicans, on the other hand, see them as a kind of left-wing extremist. The fact that Pelosi is likely to become chairman of the House of Representatives again is a hit for Trump's party. Already during the election campaign there was hardly a speech by him in which he did not blame her. Shortly after the congressional election, Trump presented the Democrat with poisonous praise. She deserved to be elected to the key post by her party, he explained - and added patronizingly: "If you make life difficult for her, we might give a few Republican votes on top of that." Until it is clear who will stand against Trump in the Democrats in 2020, the - or in this case the - chairman of the House of Representatives will be Trump's most important opponent. He apparently thinks he has an easy opponent in Pelosi. It remains to be seen whether he is right.