The media and elected Democrats, from President Biden on down, are really pushing as hard as they can on Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema. They seem to have redoubled their efforts this week after Manchin announced he would not vote for the Dems’ voting rights bill. This morning Ed wrote about Rep. Jamaal Bowman comparing Manchin to Mitch McConnell, though as Ed noted Bowman couldn’t explain who besides Manchin could win the Senate seat for Democrats in conservative West Virginia.
The Washington Post published two opinion pieces today about Manchin. Greg Sargent’s is headlined, “How Joe Manchin’s awful new stance could blow up in his face.” Jennifer Rubin has a similar piece titled, “Time to call Manchin’s bluff.” Rubin has a three part plan to force Manchin into line:
First, Democrats should compel Republicans to filibuster again and again the bills Manchin himself thinks are entirely reasonable. Bring up H.R. 4. Put the Jan. 6 commission back on the floor. After 5 or 6 of these rounds, Manchin’s bipartisan fetish may subside.
Second, Manchin’s Democratic colleagues have a right to demand he present compromise legislation that has 10 Republicans. What magic formula is he aware of that has evaded others? Where are four more Republicans in addition to the six who would support the Jan. 6 commission?
And finally, voters and voting rights activists need to confront Manchin civilly and peacefully, but with unrelenting demands for him to justify his position. An array of interest groups hurt by Republican obstruction and assaults on voting rights — e.g., organized labor, seniors, the disabled community — must turn up the heat.
Turn up the heat “civilly and peacefully” she says. I wonder what Democrats think they’ve been doing for the past two weeks? If pressuring Manchin to answer the same question about the filibuster nearly every day isn’t bringing the heat, what would it look like? Frankly, I think this is a call to launch the next phase of protest, maybe the kind of thing we saw used against Judge Kavanaugh a few years ago. Remember what that looked like?
The eventually wound up pounding on the doors of the Supreme Court. I don’t know if Manchin is going to generate this level of outrage but they could try.
Protesting right outside the front doors of the Supreme Court while Kavanaugh is being sworn-in. He can hear us, and I hope our voices today haunt his legacy.#BelieveSurvivors pic.twitter.com/Wjy8PgAamz
— Charlotte Clymer 🏳️🌈 (@cmclymer) October 6, 2018
In lieu of large crowds of angry people, Democrats might just resort to calling Manchin a racist. That’s really the far left’s go-to these days:
Manchin’s op-ed might as well be titled, “Why I’ll vote to preserve Jim Crow.” https://t.co/pS1xEvkwEz
— Mondaire Jones (@MondaireJones) June 6, 2021
But there’s a fundamental problem with the anti-Manchin effort, one that is obvious to a lot of people. Manchin may be taking all the heat at the moment but if you magically replaced him with someone more progressive, other moderates would just step up to take his place opposing some of these big Democratic bills.
If Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema weren't blocking all the lovely and wonderful things the Democratic Party pretends it wants to do, they would just have other Senators doing it instead. Anyone who doesn't know this understands nothing about how that party functions: https://t.co/sHaQPy9Kie
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) June 7, 2021
The Washington Post, in a story published yesterday, pointed out that Democratic aides know Manchin isn’t the only Democrat who opposes these bills, he’s just the one willing to take the heat.
Some Democratic aides have said Manchin is not the only problem facing the Biden agenda, but because he is the most vocal, he draws the most attention. He also represents a state that overwhelmingly supported former president Donald Trump, so there is little political cost for him in publicly opposing Democratic priorities. Other Democrats who oppose getting rid of the filibuster or specific bills often remain quiet while Manchin remains in the eye of the storm.
Maybe Democrats really think that if they just bully Manchin (and Sinema) into compliance then that will be the end of the moderate opposition. Or maybe they think they can just continue to bully whoever steps up next.
What I think is really happening here is the same problem progressives have continued to showcase for several recent elections. They are so convinced of their own righteousness that they never stop to think about practical things like who can actually win elections in conservative states or districts. The far left insists on shouting about socialism and defunding the police and then they act shocked when anyone blames them for losing moderate seats in the House. The same can happen in the Senate. If the far left bullies Manchin and other moderate senators into compliance the likely result is more GOP pickups in the next few elections. Progressives want to act as if they can run the country alone but they just don’t have the numbers. If you strike Manchin down two more moderates will take his place.