My Thoughts on Sen. Joe Manchin
Sen. Joe Manchin may be the most powerful person in America right now.
The West Virginia Democrat stands as the key vote to getting anything passed inside the Senate. Within a fragile legislative body that’s split evenly at 50-50 strictly along party lines (two Independents typically vote with Democrats), Manchin wields far greater influence than one might normally expect, particularly from a small state with a relatively low population. We can criticize how the system (actually, the US Constitution) makes such stonewalling possible, and that’s certainly a debate we should have going forward. However, my comments here will pertain to Manchin and his so-called “obstructionism” against significant parts of President Biden’s agenda.
Let me also issue a standard disclaimer before spewing my opinions about Machin. I wish Democrats would grow a backbone. I wish we could replace most of the Democrat leadership. I wish we had fresh faces to persuade undecideds and independents that the progressive agenda for America works best. I wish we’d move to the far-Left as a nation.
But let’s also be realistic. And pragmatic.
Fact: Joe Manchin is as good as it’s going to get for Democrats in West Virginia. Actually, it’s shocking that WV even elected a Democrat to the Senate in the first place. In 2020, Trump won this state by a whopping 39 points. Repeat — 39 points! Manchin, love him or hate him, is a political miracle. Indeed, I don’t use the word “miracle” within the political lexicon often, but his election and continued relative popularity among his constituents is a miracle.
Expecting anything more liberal than Manchin from a state such as West Virginia is fantasyland. It’s ignorant and self-destructive. So, please stop with the shaming and the demagoguery. Do I wish Manchin was more like Sen. Bernie Sanders on his voting record? Hell yes! But if he was, then he’d be bounced out of West Virginia like a rubber ball. Get real, people. Joe Manchin is as good as it’s going to get for Democrats (and progressives) in West Virginia. Instead of kicking him in the ass, we should be kissing him on the lips.
Okay, so maybe not that. But you get the picture.
West Virginia is Mississippi with mountains. It ranks near the bottom of every significant metric of quality of life and is dead last in many key categories. This is typical of conservative Republican states run by Trumpers and Bible thumpers. Frankly, I find it sad Red states keep on electing politicians who have done NOTHING to lift up their quality of life. But, I can’t help that. All I can do is praise the occasional beam of light that breaks through the dark clouds (such as Sen. Doug Jones elected in Alabama in 2017, who lost in 2020; Kentucky electing Democrat Andy Beshear as Gov.; and Joe Manchin somehow holding onto his seat despite all the fallout and division).
I can’t stress this more strongly: If we continue pestering Joe Manchin, he could bolt the Democrat Party and flip into a Republican. Then, where would we be? Say hello to “Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.” If that’s prospect doesn’t horrify you, then I don’t know what else to say. If that is the price you are willing to pay for blind idealism (losing), you really don’t belong in politics. Go teach a class at Berkeley.
If we Leftists truly want to implement a progressive agenda, then we need to win the Purple states, and even turn a few Red states just a little Bluer with the occasional upset here and there. We need to hold the line where we currently have seats (such as Georgia, Nevada, New Hampshire) and make gains in Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Arizona, and Wisconsin. Oh, and quit worrying about West Virginia. No, we aren’t going to “primary” Manchin. Just stop.
I’ll even go one step further: I wish we had 50 Joe Manchins. Yes, 50! Instead of Republicans, who vote *wrong* all the time and are beholden to a political cult (Trumpism), I’d much rather see a very conservative Democrat sitting in those seats. Joe Machin shouldn’t be criticized. He should be championed. For all his controversial posturing and marginal voting record, Joe Manchin should be a DEMOCRAT ROLE MODEL.
Without him, and Democrats like him, WE LOSE.
It’s time to face the facts, fellow liberals.