Manchin was reelected in 2018 by 3 points. He did so in a year in which no other West Virginia Democrat running for Congress came within 10 points of winning, and the Democrats running for the House in West Virginia lost by a combined 18 points to the Republicans.
If anything, Manchin’s case has become even stronger over the last two years. Without him, there would be no Democratic majority. The elections since then prove how monumental his victory was. Manchin’s an invaluable member of the Democratic coalition, whether progressives like it or not.
In 2020, West Virginia’s Republican Sen. Shelly Moore Capito beat progressive Democrat Paula Jean Swearengin by 43 points. This occurred as the remaining elected Democratic statewide office holders in West Virginia, besides Manchin, were not elected to another term.
Manchin, unlike these other Democrats, managed to survive in a state that is the second most Republican in the nation by presidential vote. Donald Trump won it by 39 points in 2020 and by 42 points in 2016.