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Joe Manchin's Name Will Be In The History Books. He Might Not Like What They Say About Him.
He says he's made his choice, but he's got a choice to make.
West Virginia's Democratic Senator Joe Manchin dramatically announced the other day that he still loves the filibuster and he can't possibly vote for the For The People Act, because — *Wonkette checks stupid Joe Manchin op-ed to see if there are any reasons in it* — ahem, because none of his Republican friends and lovers like it. (Because they don't like democracy. Also dunno if any of them are actually his lovers , but if the houseboat's rockin' don't come a- ... EW. GOD, WONKETTE. WHY?)
Politico Playbook reports that today, Manchin is meeting about voting rights with Black and civil rights leaders including NAACP head Derrick Johnson, NAACP Legal Defense Fund President Sherrilyn Ifill, and Rev. Al Sharpton. Not sure he's planning on listening very hard. "Those who know Manchin tell us the senator's mind isn't exactly open to persuasion on S. 1 as he heads into this meeting." Will he listen to them when they try to explain that the filibuster is a racist tool for old racists? Does he have a clue that his Republican pals literally hate democracy at this point? Does he even care?
Maybe he'll tell them how much he likes this other voting rights bill, H.R. 4, the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, which is narrower but still a good bill that addresses some of the problems . Alaska GOP Senator Lisa Murkowski is on board with that one, which means that if you do some back of the napkin math, Manchin just has to find ... NINE MORE REPUBLICANS who value American democracy more than they value preserving their minority power over an innocent American majority that loathes them. Then in a few months, Manchin can tell these same Black leaders he now opposes that bill because not enough Republicans like it.
Manchin simply refuses to understand that the current GOP isn't an American political party. His friends on the other side of the aisle are not his real friends, and they don't share the core values he claims to hold. We don't have to wonder what Republicans would do if the shoe were on the other foot, because we're watching them in state after state destroy access to the ballot box on purely party-line votes, wherever they have the majority to do so.
In Manchin's op-ed, he asked with wide eyes, or maybe he thought he was asking rhetorically:
Are the very Republican senators who voted to impeach Trump because of actions that led to an attack on our democracy unwilling to support actions to strengthen our democracy?
Yes. Also, there weren't 10 of them, which is the margin he's decided he needs to see before he'll let even anything that actually is bipartisan pass.
Are these same senators, whom many in my party applauded for their courage, now threats to the very democracy we seek to protect?
Yes. Grow up, asshole.
To be clear, what's at stake here isn't just voting rights. It's gun control. It's DC statehood. It's infrastructure and a permanent child tax credit and immigration and abortion rights and gender equality and, and, and! It was an actual congressional investigation into the Trump terrorists who attacked the Capitol on January 6. It's literally everything Democrats could do to make Americans' lives better and preserve the republic. Instead, Joe Manchin is fantastizing about a circle jerk of bipartisanship that doesn't exist anywhere besides his browser history, allegedly.
As Manchin's Democratic Senate colleague Brian Schatz, one of the few to speak out publicly about this right now, said:
"I admire Joe's optimism but at some point anyone who is defending the 60-vote threshold has an obligation to help the body to get to 60 votes," said Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii.) "It would be wonderful if we could get 10 Republican votes for democracy reforms. There's just literally no evidence that it's going to happen."
Eugene Robinson writes in the Washington Post that Manchin "has the right to live in a make-believe wonderland if he so chooses. But his party and his nation will pay a terrible price for his hallucinations about the nature of today's Republican Party." Robinson adds that "even this sacrifice might not guarantee that Manchin can hold on to support back home."
Because that's the thing. Manchin is up for re-election in 2024, and it's not unlikely his Senate career ends there. West Virginia is one of the Trumpiest of the Trump states, and his approval ratings there are underwater. Find a criminal or a child molester with an "R" next to their name to run against Manchin on a platform of Trump's Big Lie, and Manchin might be done-zo.
However, a poll last month from an advocacy group called End Citizens United (its name tells you what you need to know about it) shows that actually West Virginians don't hate what the Democrats are selling, AKA what Manchin is opposing. Here are a couple of screenshots from that poll from Rachel Maddow's show last night:
As you see in that frame, fully 79 PERCENT of West Virginians are just fine with the For The People Act. (The same poll found 84 percent of Arizonans support it too. Of course, Kyrsten Sinema is actually a co-sponsor of the bill, but that doesn't matter if she keeps clinging to the filibuster, KYRSTEN.)
Here's the partisan breakdown, which shows that it's ... what's that word that gives Joe Manchin all the groin feelings? Oh yes, it has BIPARTISAN SUPPORT! Just not among the fascist assclowns who serve as Republicans in the US Senate.
There's not even a partisan divide, really.
They asked if people would be more or less likely to support Manchin if he supported voting rights legislation, and 33 percent said "more," while only 12 percent said "less." And the same poll showed that West Virginians don't give too much of a fuck either way about the filibuster, at least not to the point it's a hill worth dying on.
Point is, Manchin might very well lose in 2024. Supporting these things might not actually help him in 2024, but it's doubtful they'd hurt . He can't even claim he's doing right by his constituents right now. Indeed, it seems the only entities he's serving here are the Koch Brothers (or what's left of them) and those masturbatory hallucinations in his own head.
Here's what an influential union in West Virginia thinks about protecting voting rights and democracy:
The United Mine Workers of America, an influential group in Manchin's state, reiterated its support for voting rights legislation on Monday, citing restrictive laws being passed by Republican legislatures in some states. "It is wrong for these states to attack the basic rights of citizens to participate in our democracy," UMWA International President Cecil E. Roberts said in a statement. "Congress should be doing everything possible to not just maintain, but expand voting access and create freer and fairer elections. If only one party is interested in doing that, then so be it."
And here's what the national security advisor of the United States said yesterday:
"I would say the basic notion of democratic reform and voting rights in the United States is a national security issue," White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters. "We are in a competition of models with autocracies and we are trying to show the world that American democracy and democracy writ large can work."
Manchin claims he's already made his choice on the For The People Act and the filibuster, but he's got a choice yet to make, and it ain't over until it's over. And whatever he does, we have a feeling it's going to end up in the history books.
If he sticks with his current course, he is not gonna like what those history books say about him, or how they're at the very end of the book about the American democratic experiment, which ended a couple or three decades into the 21st century.
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