House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) will be facing a new Democratic challenger in her 2018 reelection bid, a man inspired by Sen. Bernie Sander (I., Vt.) who believes she is more popular among Democrats nationally than in her own district.
Stephen Jaffe, 71, is an employment attorney who supported Sanders during the 2016 presidential election. He hopes to unseat Pelosi, the House's top Democrat who has served as San Fransisco's representative for three decades, easily winning her reelections with 80 percent of the vote.
Jaffe told the Los Angeles Times in an interview published Friday that Pelosi is not liberal enough, or even a true liberal by her constituents' standards. Pelosi's challenger said the incumbent fails the litmus test and "is much more popular among Democrats nationally than she is here in her own district."
When asked if Pelosi's landslide reelections sound like someone who is unpopular, Jaffe scoffed, "It sounds to me like somebody's got a very powerful machine in San Francisco and a very firm grip on the party here."
The Los Angeles Times rattled off a list of Pelosi's accomplishments to Jaffe, such as securing billions in funding for earthquake safety, funding AIDS research and treatment, expanding public transit, and repurposing old military facilities.
Jaffe's answer was simple.
"Why would that change?" he asked. "San Francisco is still going to remain San Francisco, whether it's me or Miss Pelosi representing it. We still have the same needs."
The platform Jaffe is running on is similar to Sanders' progressive presidential campaign. Jaffe supports universal governmental health care and eliminating campaign contributions to political parties from oil, pharmaceutical, and financial industries. His platform also seeks to banish super-delegates, major elected officials and prominent members of the Democratic Party with heavy influence over the final delegate count in the presidential primary.
The odds may be in Pelosi's favor, but Jaffe is looking to an unexpected source for inspiration: President Trump.
"I do think it's possible that I might pull off a spectacular upset and surprise everybody," Jaffe said, "just as our current president did exactly the same thing."