It has become popular among many Democrats to take jabs at Senator Joe Manchin from West Virginia. From, “He is not a real Democrat” to “He sells out to corporate interests and does not care about his state” we have heard it all.
The news cycles have picked up on what can be called the “Manchin cycle.” He’s in, he’s out, there’s stipulations, he votes.
The constant discourse against him is something that has become exhausting for those who follow closely. I would like to point out why Senator Manchin is a key factor in the future of the Democratic Party.
Having served as state house representative, state senator, secretary of state, governor, and senator, Joe Manchin has dedicated his public life to his state. This is important to remember.
To readers today, we think of West Virginia as one of the most conservative states in the country, but that has only been so in the last 20 years.
Democrats have a deep history in the state due to coal miners and unions. The West Virginia Democrats held control of the state legislature for 80 years, until 2014. Between 1932 and 1996, West Virginia voted Republican three times: 1956, 1972, 1984.
Since 2000, the state has voted Republican at the top of the ticket every time. Flash to now, there is only one Democrat that is elected at the state level in West Virginia. That man is Joe Manchin III.
Even in 2018, he won against Trump backed candidate, Patrick Morrisey. In 2016, Donald Trump won the state by 42% with 68.5 % of the vote with Hillary getting 26.43% of the vote. In 2018, Joe Manchin won by 3.3% with 49.6% of the vote to Morrisey’s 46.3%.
Maybe an even better representation is in 2012 when Mitt Romney beat Obama in West Virginia, garnering 62.3% of the vote against Obama’s 35.5%. That year, Manchin won his first full term as Senator, taking the seat of Robert Byrd, who was the longest serving senator in the history of the United States.
Manchin won with an eyepopping 60.7% of the vote. He not only outperformed Obama, but outperformed him by over 25%. To put it in words, no other Democrat in the state can likely win statewide, but him.
As we get into the budget reconciliation process, Manchin has made a few demands, including cutting the $3.5 trillion down to around $1.5 trillion, as he states that he will not do away with the filibuster just to pass policies like Medicare for All and the Green New Deal.
He is not just doing so because he represents a conservative state nor is he doing so because he accepts money from donors that also rail against those causes. He is doing so because he believes in what he is standing for.
Remember, without Manchin caucusing with the Democrats, Mitch McConnell would oversee the Senate. Democrats would lose all their chairmanships, would not be able to push through nominations to the federal bench, and we would be in a divided congress.
So, what good does it do to rail against him and try to accuse a lifelong Democrat that he does not belong in the party?
There is another aspect though. Some Democrats from safe blue states are in denial that there can be more conservative members of the caucus.
They do not understand how hard it makes it to win competitive races in red and purple states when they promote pipedream progressive policies. The lines of attack are effective and turn people off from voting Democratic.
That is where Joe Manchin comes in as an essential factor in the future of the Democratic Party. His politics and pragmatism are needed to start winning back some of these areas Democrats have lost.
His stance on the filibuster is something that is saving the party and the future of the United States. Say Democrats do it and pass a whole slew of bills. What happens when Republicans eventually win again? What stops them from reversing those and passing their own wish list of ideas?
Manchin sees this. His politics keep the crazy in his party at bay, while also keeping Republicans in check in the future. We need more like him to revive the party and to save the Democratic Party from itself.