Politics MSNBC Host Mehdi Hasan Questions Joe Manchin's Intelligence: 'Just Not Very Bright'
Manchin's homegrown bipartisanship comes up against a changing world
When Joe Manchin was in the fight of his political life, vying for reelection in a state where being a Democrat had long been out of fashion, the senator's opening message to voters focused on the place he knew best: Farmington, West Virginia. © Maddie McGarvey for CNN Michael Angelucci, former state delegate, and Donna Costello, former mayor of Farmington.
MSNBC host Mehdi Hasan questioned West Virginia Senator's intelligence on Sunday night after the moderate Democrat said he plans to join in opposing the For the People Act.
In an op-ed published Sunday in the Charleston Gazette-Mail, Manchin revealed that he will continue to oppose abolishing the filibuster and. "The truth, I would argue, is that voting and election reform that is done in a partisan manner will all but ensure partisan divisions continue to deepen," he wrote.
Joe Manchin Blasted As 'Cowardly, Power-hungry White Dude' Over Vote Rights
The senator for West Virginia announced that he will oppose the For the People Act, a Democrat bill designed to overhaul election law. © Michael Swensen/Getty Images U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) attends a news conference at the Marriott Hotel at Waterfront Place June 3, 2021 in Morgantown, West Virginia.
Hasan tore into Manchin for allegedly "aiding and abetting" Republicans during a segment on's Mehdi Hasan Show.
The problem with Manchin's refusal to pass the legislation in a partisan manner "is it's already been done in a partisan manner," Hasan said. "At least 14 states have enacted new Republican laws this year, placing restrictions on the casting of ballots out of at least 389 bills as of mid-May in 48 states."
"Manchin thinks voting is fundamental. He says voting is fundamental. But he doesn't want to do what needs to be done to save it," he added.
Manchin's decision has placed him at odds with Democratic leaders and Biden, who has urged the party to stick together to pass their sprawling voting rights bill.
Meanwhile, Republicans in numerous states—including Texas, Florida, Arizona, Georgia and Iowa—have launched campaigns to enact new voting restrictions, whichallege will make participating in elections hard for their voters.
What you should know about W. Va. Sens. Manchin and Capito
WVa. Sens. Joe Manchin, a Democrat, and Republican Shelley Moore Capito are positioned to swing key parts of President Joe Biden's legislative agenda.West Virginia, which will be down to only two congressional seats after its next redistricting, isn't typically as powerful in Congress as larger, more populous counterparts such as California, New York and Texas.
"It's not partisanship, it's not both sides restricting voting or preventing the securing of elections, it's only Republicans. And it is not partisan to want to undo that damage," Hasan said. "Why should federal action be bipartisan when Republican action at a state level is totally partisan? It makes no sense."
The host goes on to challenge Manchin's intelligence.
"Maybe, as I've said on this show before, Manchin's just not very bright. Maybe simple math is beyond him. Maybe he doesn't understand what's happening at a state level. That may be the most charitable explanation," he said. "I would have loved to have asked him but he's repeatedly turned us down when it comes to an interview."
Newsweek reached out to Manchin's office for comment. This story will be updated with any response.
Fox News hostearlier today, asking the senator whether he was "being naive" about the possibility of bipartisan cooperation on the bill.
Some Democrats wonder when Schumer will get tough with Manchin
Sen. Joe Manchin's defiant statement that he will not vote for a sweeping election reform bill nor vote to get rid of the filibuster has progressive groups and some Democratic lawmakers wondering when Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) will get tough with the West Virginia Democrat.Manchin is a member of Schumer's leadership team and Schumer has several points of leverage, including the power to replace him as chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. But Schumer doesn't have a reputation for getting tough with colleagues. Instead, he keeps them close and hardly ever criticizes Democratic senators who cause him headaches.
Manchin defended his position, arguing that a number of GOP senators will vote for "what they know is right, the facts as they see them—not worrying about the political consequences."
"I believe there's a lot more of my Republican colleagues and friends that feel the same way," Manchin added. "I'm just hoping they are able to rise to the occasion and to defend our country and support our country and make sure that we have a democracy for this republic of all the people."
Democratic National Committee (DNC) chair Jamie Harrisonduring an appearance on MSNBC. Harrison argued that "only one party right now is trying to cut hours in which people can go and vote... that is the Republican Party."
"This is not a both sides issue," Harrison added "Either you are for protecting voting rights and protecting our democracy or you're against it. We have to focus and do all that we can to ensure that all Americans, regardless of whether you're a Democrat or a Republican, get the opportunity to exercise that right."
Manchin's staunch opposition to ending filibuster may imperil Biden's agenda, including infrastructure
Manchin dashed hopes on the left that recent events might compel him to reconsider his support for keeping the Senate's 60-vote rule to pass bills.The moderate Democrat, in a Sunday op-ed in the Charleston Gazette-Mail, not only revealed his opposition to the Democratic-backed For the People Act but reiterated he won't vote to weaken or eliminate the filibuster.
Why the Democrats need Joe Manchin .
Ultimately, we need both parties devoid of extremes. While there are some sensible Republicans like former GOP Chairman Michael Steele and Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) attempting to save the Grand Old Party, in my view, the Republican Party is too far gone. Perhaps a third party is what American politics truly needs. However, in the meantime, the Democrats need to figure out a better way to work with the senior Senator from West Virginia, or we continue to lose as a country.