Andrew Malcolm explains in his latest McClatchy column why the 2018 midterm might represent the last best chance for Nancy Pelosi to return to power in the U.S. House.

This November’s election is likely the last chance Nancy Pelosi has to become the first former House speaker to regain the job in more than six decades.

She’s vowed to do it. But then as the Democrats’ minority leader, she’s vowed to do it for four straight House elections. And she has failed every time, starting with the historic 2010 drubbing by Republicans, who seized 63 seats.

The 78-year-old, who represents most of the city of San Francisco, needs to see her party pick up only 23 seats to regain the House majority and all the powerful committee chairmanships with subpoena powers. …

… However, Pelosi’s return is not as assured as it might appear, even given the widespread consensus that the Republicans will lose their grip on the House. …

… Pelosi’s recent speaking problems — losing her train of thought and mispronouncing numerous words at the podium — only add to the sense that the party needs a change.

To counter the GOP’s strategy this cycle, Democrats are attempting to customize their political messages to individual districts. But persistent questions about a professed loyalty to Pelosi hamper that.

A new poll found that only 27 percent of Americans, and barely 51 percent of Democrats, wanted Pelosi to stay as House Democratic leader. Of course, the only votes that count are her caucus members after Nov. 6. But if the same proportion of her colleagues abandoned her this year as in 2016, she would lose.

Pelosi’s abiding internal party strength grows from her prodigious fundraising for members. But younger, incoming freshmen would owe her no loyalty for that.