But he will, he will — no matter what Joe Manchin says or does at this point. And that matters, because Manchin signaled this morning that he might follow Kyrsten Sinema’s example and give his party a lecture on rules changes if Chuck Schumer forces a vote on the doomed elections bill:
Manchin: “It is such an important issue that all of us have grave concerns about, and it's worthy of the time we spend. I would like to see us stay on the bill. There's no use to try to bring this to finality by having a vote that’s going to fail tonight. Let's just stay on it.“
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) January 19, 2022
What else can Manchin say? I suppose there’s a slight chance he’ll relent, but only on the Dumb & Dumber scale. He’s made it clear for months that he won’t support any nuclear-option rules changes and won’t do “carve-outs” either. For that matter, neither will Kyrsten Sinema, even if her Arizona colleague has caved to it (which Allahpundit will cover later). If anything, Manchin’s grown less gracious to his colleagues after they began discussing setting up a primary challenger in 2024 to force Manchin out of the Senate.
“Bring it on” is not exactly a signal of capitulation.
Of course, that means nothing Manchin says will deflect Schumer from his course either. Schumer apparently wants to go down like Wotan in Valhalla and wants to take the rest of his caucus with him. There’s only one way for Manchin to stop that from happening, and that would be to force a change in leadership before Schumer calls the vote on the floor. Manchin probably won’t do that, although he certainly can — by crossing the aisle and caucusing with the Republicans. By doing that, the GOP would take control of the floor and Schumer would be left with nothing, especially the ability to shepherd Biden’s appointments to confirmation.
Would Manchin go that far? He doesn’t really need to do so, since the rules change would fail anyway. But Manchin really has to ask himself whether he has any reason to stick with a caucus and party that not only doesn’t consult him on their policy strategy and instead bullies him privately and publicly, but also now has made it clear they want him gone. With West Virginia as deeply red as it is, Manchin’s fortunes are no longer tied at all to his current party. Other than pride, what other reason is there for him to stay?
I’d doubt that Manchin would flip even so, but that context would suuuuuure make a floor speech very interesting to anticipate.