Politics Joe Manchin gets hoodwinked — again: Why does he keep falling for the Republican con?
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.
Mitch McConnell, Joe Manchin and John Thune Photo illustration by Salon/Getty Images
On paper, Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., has produced an elegant solution to the voting rights problem that addresses both Democratic concerns about protecting fair elections and Republican concerns about voter fraud. For months now, Democrats have been touting twin bills — theand the — offering a broad array of democracy reforms, from reducing the impact of money in politics to standardizing ballot access across the country. Republicans, however, have opposed these bills at every turn, which is so rare as to not be anything even approaching a real problem in the U.S. But Manchin has sworn up and down that bills must be "bipartisan" to get his support, refusing to reform the Senate filibuster, even though Republicans use it to block every big bill Democrats want to bring to a vote. So this week Manchin offered what he touted as a compromise bill, a long list of items for legislation he would support.
Inside Biden and Manchin's Joemance
Democratic senators say that only the president can convince the influential centrist to sign off on key parts of the party's agenda.Four months after Biden helped secure Manchin’s vote for a party-line, $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief law, the president is taking a different approach with the West Virginia Democrat who's blocking multiple party priorities. Biden didn't sound pleased last week when, during a speech marking the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa massacre, he appeared to take a public swipe at Manchin and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) by citing two Democrats who frequently sided with Republicans.
It has concessions to Republican concerns, such as as having a national voter ID, but sets standards for how it can be done in a uniform and fair fashion. It would ban partisan gerrymandering, which would level the playing field for both parties. It does a great deal to protect and advance voting rights, while also addressing the main objections that Republicans have to the both of the other bills that Democrats have offered.
So Republicans responded by publicly thanking Manchin for listening to their concerns, treating them with respect, and giving them a bill that they are happy to vote for, right?
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Joe Manchin said in 2011 that the US was 'paralyzed by the filibuster' but is now blocking efforts to change it
In a 2011 press release, Manchin said that senators wanting to halt bills should turn to "sustained debate" rather than the filibuster.Manchin is currently the only Democratic senator refusing to back the For the People Act, a sweeping voting-rights bill that would cancel many GOP-led voting restrictions at the state level. It passed the House with no Republican Party support, and its chances of passing the Senate have been destroyed due to Manchin's opposition.
Ha ha ha, no!
Only someone born yesterday — or a 73-year-old Democratic senator from West Virginia — could be so naive as to think that would happen. Instead, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., got to work demonizing Manchin's proposal. First, McConnell seized on the fact thatpublicly came out in favor of Manchin's proposal, saying, "the plan endorsed by Stacey Abrams is no compromise."
As, "he had his caucus at 'Stacey Abrams,'" because invoking her name "branded a proposal by a Democrat from a very white (and red) state as 'Black.'" But just in case folks didn't get McConnell's (unsubtle) implication, he also tossed around terms certain to raise racist fears in conservative white people, like "cancel culture" and "name-and-shame." (GOP focus group testing apparently shows that white people are absolutely terrified that the world will find out about that time they used a racial slur in college.) Pandering to racist whites is the core strategy of the modern GOP and Senate Republicans no doubt heard McConnell loud and clear on this front.
The Democratic Senators Hiding Behind Joe Manchin
It was March 5, right before the Senate’s doomed vote to raise the minimum wage to $15, and, as usual, Sen. Joe Manchin was the center of attention. But there was no need for reporters to swarm the West Virginia moderate. On that day, he was far from the only Democrat who’d give the thumbs-down to a progressive priority. Seven other Democratic senators would vote the same way—and draw far less recognition or criticism. That tally surprisedBut there was no need for reporters to swarm the West Virginia moderate. On that day, he was far from the only Democrat who’d give the thumbs-down to a progressive priority. Seven other Democratic senators would vote the same way—and draw far less recognition or criticism.
that the and being passed by Republican state legislatures "are designed to suppress the vote." Since that's all that such laws exist to do, McConnell is letting Manchin know that he is not bound by even the pretense of honesty or good faith when it comes to opposing any and all efforts at protecting free and fair elections in the U.S.
The reason is straightforward: The Republican Party has become radicalized against democracy. That's why they refused to convict Donald Trump when he wasand . It's why the party is passing state laws faster than they can write them to make it harder to vote and to make it easier to nullify election results. For many Republican leaders, it's because they are deeply racist and just loathe the idea of people of color having equal ballot access. But even those who aren't personally bigoted know Republicans cannot win majorities with free and fair elections, so they are instead trying to kneecap democracy itself.
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.
, "The GOP has become an authoritarian party pushing an authoritarian policy agenda," and their main goal is "rigging elections enough to maintain power indefinitely." Asking such people to back a federal voting rights bill, however watered down, is a joke. Why on earth would they do anything that would slow down or even prevent the number one GOP goal: permanent minority rule?
The strategy that Republicans are using to hoodwink Manchin is the same they have used for decades to hoodwink Democrats: Pretend to be interested in a "compromise," mire the Democrats in endless negotiations, and run out the clock until elections. Then Republicans will run on a platform of accusing Democrats of getting nothing done, while ignoring the fact that Republican bad faith is why Democrats got nothing done.when it comes to the infrastructure bill, wasting his time with negotiations on a bill they will never, ever actually vote for. Manchin has been told, over and over and over and over and over, that this is how Republicans operate, and yet, like a chicken who can't help banging his head against the wall all day, he just keeps acting like the barrier is about to crumble.
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Joe Manchin's Game | Opinion
It's time to take to the field, and challenge Senator Joe Manchin's machine head on.Unlike the vast majority of their constituents, U.S. senators don't have to worry about medical bills or food or their next paycheck. For them, politics really is just a game.
that Manchin will wake up to reality after watching McConnell take this carefully crafted compromise, crumple it into tissue paper and blow his nose in it. That assumes, unfortunately, that Manchin is capable of learning from experience.
The tea leaf reading on this front is, well, mixed.
On one hand,, Manchin got interestingly timed donations from corporate funders who have an economic interest in this GOP plan to wind down democracy. So this may be a classic case of someone protecting his own self-interest, even if at the expense of not just his party but his nation. On the flip side, that he's open to filibuster reform. Even if he is not motivated by serving the voters or his party, Manchin is torn between two sets of donors, which is something.
Time will tell, but right now, things aren't looking good. Manchin appears to have an endless appetite for letting Republicans run out the clock with fake negotiations, either because he's an idiot or because he himself would rather not ever have to vote on actual bills. Unfortunately, the very fate of our democracy really does hang in the balance and Manchin is too busy pretending Republicans could be heroes to see them for the villains they actually are.
As his voting rights proposal stalls, will Joe Manchin's dreams of bipartisanship ever come true? .
Sen. Joe Manchin’s latest attempt at bipartisanship — a compromise on voting rights legislation — has again received a cold shoulder from the Republicans he’s attempting to win over. This week, the West Virginia Democrat circulated a three-page memo outlining his proposal for a bill that would eliminate partisan gerrymandering and increase early voting but would also require voter ID, a favorite provision of the GOP. Manchin wrote last month that he felt “that partisan voting legislation will destroy the already weakening binds of our democracy.