Uh, Nancy Pelosi Just Said What Exactly About Israel Protests?

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This is Totally Normal Quote of the Day, a feature highlighting a statement from the news that exemplifies just how extremely normal everything has become.

For them to call for a cease-fire is Mr. Putin’s message … I think some of these protesters are spontaneous and organic and sincere. Some, I think, are connected to Russia … and I want to ask the FBI to investigate that.”

—Nancy Pelosi on CNN’s State of the Union, speaking about U.S. activists who are protesting Israel’s war in Gaza

One thing about Democrats that is pretty much not up for debate is that they support a cease-fire in Gaza. Somewhere between three-fourths and four-fifths of Democratic voters are saying as much in polls, a position that is at odds with the Biden administration’s approach. Disapproval for the president’s strategy with Israel is especially high among young voters, Black voters, and Latino voters.

Another other thing about Democrats? They are headed into an election cycle feeling nervous. Joe Biden’s numbers are perilously soft with groups that have in the past tended to be loyal Dems and critical to their success. Those groups, too, are heavy on young voters, Black voters, and Latino voters.

With those two pressing realities in mind, Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi, supposedly semiretired as one of her party’s leaders, took to CNN on Sunday to propose a new approach: Why not sic the Federal Bureau of Investigations on pro-cease-fire activists? If Democrats’ very own core constituency wasn’t thrilled with Biden before, surely harassment from a federal police force will bring them around!

Where did she come up with this inspired idea? Well, perhaps from a fellow Democrat she probably voted for in 1964, when she was in her 20s, 60 years ago. That year, President Lyndon B. Johnson dispatched FBI agents to the Democratic National Convention to carry out a spying operation against members of his own party. For good measure, he also unleashed the CIA on protest groups in 1967, many of whom were also Democrats, Civil Rights, and anti-war activists, aka young people of color. (Just to close the loop on how that whole thing went, the 1968 presidential election was won by the Republican, Richard Nixon.)

To be clear, she only advocated for investigating the financing links between protesters and Putin—if that is somehow better. And she later clarified that she supports a right to “peaceful protest” but is “acutely aware of how foreign adversaries meddle in American politics to sow division and impact our elections.”

But her timing was absolutely terrible.

At the same time she was blithely dismissing the concerns of a wide swath of Democratic voters, the Biden campaign team announced a record-setting ad buy, via its super PAC Future Forward, to woo them back—specifically, $250 million in forthcoming digital and TV ad spend, targeting in particular “younger voters, Hispanic voters and Black voters,” according to the New York Times. In essence, they’re spending a quarter of a billion dollars to try to offset the contempt that could easily be construed from Pelosi’s own commentary. (So while young, Black, and Latino voters and activists are shaken down by undercovers on one hand, they’ll be privy to soft-touch Instagram ads reminding them that Joe Biden is their friend in Washington. Does that balance out?)

And the relationship between Democrats and Black Americans, in particular, is increasingly strained. Representative Jim Clyburn sounded the alarm to NBC that he is unable to reach Black voters like he used to, while Black religious leaders have become increasingly vocal in their own campaign for a cease-fire. But Pelosi is arguing, essentially, for more stick and less carrot. Send in the feds!

There are cheaper and easier solutions to this problem. They involve submitting to the democratic will of the Democratic voter base. But the octogenarians at the top of the party don’t seem to be interested.