House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) is expected to step down at the close of this Congress whether or not Democrats retain control of the House. She has served as the House Democratic leader for almost 19 years.

Whoever replaces her will take charge during a tense debate about the direction of the Democratic party. Some believe that the party will cater to the activistic left, thereby more strongly fighting for Democratic ideals, or to the center-left in order to be more palatable to a wider portion of Americans.

It is currently unclear who will replace Pelosi. Fights over who should replace her will continue to increase, as will fights over who else should join the leadership team. This battle will potentially put idealogical factions against each other. The leading candidate so far is Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-New York), a black congressman from New York City who appeals to both moderates and progressives.

Though the debate over the future of the party remains undecided, many hope that the new leaders will herald change for the better.

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Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Washington), chairs of the Congressional Progressive Caucus said of the new leaders, “I think we need leaders who are diverse, who are new, who have fresh ideas, people who are organizers, and people who are disciplined and good communicators.”

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