On the week of a leadership change in the House Democratic Caucus, much has been written about Speaker Nancy Pelosi's and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer's legislative prowess and decades-long impact on U.S. politics. Experts and fellow leaders have extolled their ability to understand members' needs; count votes; persuade and cajole members; and cultivate the party's core infrastructure.
Democrats' new leaders will be well positioned to build on this legacy and continue the Democratic tradition of muscular internationalism.
While these kudos are amply due, far less attention has been paid recently to Pelosi's and, particularly, to Hoyer's international achievements and what they mean for democracy activists around the world. Pelosi and Hoyer are, at their core, premier Democratic internationalists who believe in the power of Congress to wage battle against dictators and to act in support of global democracy.
The two traveled the world to meet with dissidents, transatlantic allies, and like-minded democratic leaders who could help push back against autocracy wherever it was emerging or entrenched. They wielded Congress's moral bully pulpit—persuading and, where necessary, castigating adversaries; comforting concerned allies and activists; and giving hope that the United States remains a democratic beacon, especially during the tumultuous Trump years. Democrats' new leaders will be well positioned to build on this legacy and continue the Democratic tradition of muscular internationalism.
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