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Rethinking Joe Manchin – The New York Times


Manchin’s libertarian critics sometimes imagine that they know more about winning a West Virginia election than he does – and that he can continue to win even while behaving like most Democrats. As Ruy Teixeira, another political scientist, Written“If only he wasn’t the real Joe Manchin from the real, conservative state of West Virginia, but instead another Joe Manchin from another, much more liberal state, West Virginia!”

It is true that Manchin has helped defeat a number of Democratic priorities over the past two years. He waived an extension of the extended child tax credit, which could reduce child poverty. He denied relinquished the record to pass changes to voting rights (though he is not the only Senate Democrat to oppose this). He helped block two highly qualified Biden candidates, Sarah Bloom Raskin as top Federal Reserve official and Neera Tanden as budget director.

But these Democrats’ disappointments are not shocking. Manchin has survived by being a staunch Democrat on a number of issues – such as health care, labor issues, taxes on the rich and largely climate policy – and the challenge party in high-profile ways in other matters. His criticism of Biden’s proposals over the past year has boosted his approval rating in West Virginia, Polls show.

“Democrats can have two thoughts about West Virginia politicians,” like Noel explained on The Washington Post. First, Manchin is more conservative than most Democrats and sometimes derails the party agenda. Second, he can anyway Most Valuable Democrat in Washington today. (If you believe Biden is the only logical candidate in 2020, who has beaten Trump, Manchin is probably in second place.)

With all that said, I understand somewhat the intensity of the liberal criticisms of recent months. If Manchin blocks the climate bill, as he appears to be preparing to do, it will represent a break with his party more than anything he has done before. It will become a matter of signature importance for the country and the world.

The obvious question is whether it was the criticism that helped change Manchin’s mind. I think many of the harshest attacks probably don’t matter: After all, he’s heard similar criticisms about his stance on voting rights and voting rights, and he hasn’t. move. But the specific argument that he alone could be responsible for climate damage may have helped him wobble. That, at least, is impressive by many observers on Capitol Hill.



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