What We Should Be Doing Instead of Complaining About Joe Manchin
Or launching primaries against him.
By Scott Mason
Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) has once again thrown a wrench into the democratic agenda. However, this time is different. West Virginia’s democratic senator has once again, for the sake of bipartisan optics has chosen to vote against a bill that would expand access to voting, simplify the process of voting with an absentee ballot, take election map drawing out of the hands of state legislatures, beef up election security, revamp campaign finance laws and make it safer to travel to the polls without fear of harassment from local rogue poll watchers. Yet again, the lack of bipartisanship was the aspect of this bill that did not sit well with him. It didn’t matter that republicans want elections to be unsafe and tilted heavily in their favor in the first place. However, the problem in the voting rights battle isn’t him. It’s the senate math. That’s what we should be focusing on. We can fix it faster, and right now, we certainly need to.
West Virginia is a reliably republican state. Anyone with a big red R on their registration could win there. No matter how inflammatory, scandal plagued or active in a hate group a GOP candidate might be, the Mountain State would welcome them into public office. For Team Blue, it is profound that we have any federal representation from a state-wide election there at all. Senator Manchin may be pro-life, anti-gun control, pensive about climate change and willing to get messed around but the GOP’s no-hearted calls for bipartisanship but it doesn’t stinking matter. No one from West Virginia will vote in favor of the For the People Act. We should be focusing on other states and acknowledging that progressives aren’t going to do any better than what we have now in the Mountain State. We must turn our sights elsewhere.
As hinted above, the problem is the razor thin margin of error in the senate and some of the personalities of certain purple and red state democrats. We cannot have a single defection at present. If we ever want to pass a voting rights bill into law, nuke the filibuster or pass anything without 60 senate votes it won’t happen with this many risky seats.
It is not true that Southern democrats are by nature timid about voting rights laws. Raphael Warnock (D-GA), has come out in favor of the For the People Act. I may not agree with him on everything but on the voting rights issue I think he’s right. The GOP is a menace to our ability to vote. We can find candidates in other states that will put election integrity before paralyzing bipartisan optics. We’ll have a better chance of expanding a senate with candidates sympathetic to voting rights than we ever will of getting current incumbents in lopsided districts to fall in line. Putting a more progressive senator to go from a nay to a yay in an intensely conservative district is even less likely.
Joe Manchin has made it clear that he will never abolish the filibuster. He’s not a republican who would bow to pressure from leadership like a rod of limp clay but it’s far less likely that a democrat, even one who some might consider a Dino, will go along with drastic measures in senate procedure once their mind is made up. We shouldn’t even bother noticing him if he is not our district senator. There isn’t even a point launching a primary against him as a solution for the For the People Act. He isn’t even up for re-election until 2024. Powering on and taking home the gold in 2022 is probably going to be the fastest way to pass any voting rights legislation. Now’s the time to turn our sights forward. With Donald Trump stuck in his delusional stupor about the 2020 Election, the future is one thing that the GOP has some trouble focusing on now. Right now, the best they can do is pass laws to make it harder for anyone else to win. Why don’t we focus on picking up more senate seats and not getting bogged down with a few recalcitrant senators?