But Republicans still love Nancy Pelosi - because she helps them win elections.
Before Tuesday's special election in Georgia's Sixth Congressional District, many journalists were ready to declare a victory by Democrat Jon Ossoff proof the GOP is doomed to lose its congressional majorities next year.
None of that suggests that Pelosi faces an immediate challenge to her leadership.
KAREN BASS: In the districts where we are truly competitive, I don't think that message is going to hold very much.
But while Republicans were facing a sobering reminder of their president's poor approval ratings, Handel steadied the ship in a district that only narrowly backed Trump in last November's vote. "That approach still has a little bit of punch to it".
The Democratic flub may well reinforce Washington's Republican-ruled status quo, starting with the health care deform that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is crafting under cover of darkness.
Democrats came up empty-handed nonetheless. She has beat back all comers, including last fall, when Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan of OH ran against her. Ryan fell well short but garnered dozens of votes, enough to underscore dissatisfaction with Pelosi and with her aging leadership team that has left promising young Democrats with few places to rise.
BENNETT: Pelosi still has broad support among House Democrats. In mid-2009, President Obama was still riding high, the political toll of ObamaCare only just becoming apparent.
"Sen. (Harry) Reid was a target, Sen".
Pelosi defends leadership following special election loss
"Any President in his shoes would do exactly what he's doing, and that is impress the voters with the fact that he withstood assaults on four different states and Republicans won all four", he added.
The top three House Democrats are now Pelosi, who is 77; Maryland Rep. Steny Hoyer, who is 78; and South Carolina Rep. Jim Clyburn, who is 76.
Ossoff regularly attempted to deflect questions about whether he would back Pelosi in the House, saying he hadn't given it any thought.
In conceding the race, Ossoff, a filmmaker and former political staffer, signaled that Democrats could learn from these races and prepare for the larger battle for control of the US Congress in 2018. "She has been a great leader, but like every leader, time immemorial, it's time for people to know when to go", Rice said.
With the support of a notoriously republican district and of President Trump, Handel was able to defeat Ossoff by over 12-thousand votes. Liberal New York Times columnist Frank Bruni called Democrats "demoralized yet again". That's why Nancy Pelosi and her allies are pouring millions into his campaign.
Republicans' ability to effectively use Pelosi as their bogeyman in Georgia was especially stark when contrasted with the Democrats' tactics there. She had handled Trump delicately throughout a primary and runoff election to fill the congressional seat vacated by Tom Price to take a spot in Trump's cabinet.
Despite spending more than US$30 million, Mr Ossoff lost the district by a wider margin than Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election.
As Democrats lick their wounds in the wake of the defeat, eyes quickly turned to Pelosi, with some Democrats openly calling for a change in leadership as they fear Pelosi is bad for their brand.
In April, in Kansas, in the first contested seat since the inauguration, another Republican candidate held off a Democrat to secure another congressional win. But their reluctance left Ossoff running on a milquetoast message, allowing Republicans to drive the narrative that he would be a Pelosi lackey on Capitol Hill.
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