West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin, a Democrat, has turned against the rest of his party over their attempted “voting rights” bill and challenges to the filibuster. Manchin, who has consistently attempted to find a moderate path in Congress, argues that the so called For the People Act is too partisan and that eliminating the filibuster would create future headaches for Democrats.
The last moderate Democrat
Senator Manchin has remained popular among voters in West Virginia for the same reason that he has become a reviled figure among many Democrats nationally.
Manchin has survived the transition of West Virginia into a solidly Republican state by refusing to follow the rest of his party on their race to the left; instead, he has continued to primarily focus on the interests of his constituents in West Virginia.
As a moderate Democrat in the United States Senate, Manchin has become a political dinosaur in 2021, but as much as his party would love to be rid of him, other leading Democrats know that they cannot take the risk.
If Joe Manchin could be defeated in a primary challenge with the support of the party, the general election would almost certainly see Republicans gain another seat.
Manchin has made good use of the fact that Democrats need him far more than he needs them, frequently using his position to influence legislation which requires his support.
With such an evenly divided Senate, Manchin can almost singlehandedly decide the fate of controversial legislation like the For the People Act.
Manchin shuts down leftist legislation
This bill, which is otherwise unanimously supported by Senate Democrats and opposed by Republicans, would force sweeping changes on state election laws.
States would be required to automatically register eligible voters and offer 15 days of early voting, along with no-excuse absentee voting.
All of these prospective changes would strongly favor Democrats, which is why every other Senate Democrat has signed on to the bill as a cosponsor. Independent Maine Senator Angus King has also expressed his support.
While Senator King has stated that he is willing to abandon his support for the filibuster in order to pass the For the People Act, Senator Manchin remains firmly against the move.
Such a change would effectively be the end for Joe Manchin, who would lose much of his power and influence and would see his bipartisan principles become even more outdated.
For now, the Manchin vote remains more crucial than ever for Senate Democrats, who have been frustrated again by the obstinate West Virginian.