Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Stop Beating on Joe Manchin

I know everybody enjoys their Two Minutes Hate on Joe Manchin. But it's pointless and very possibly counterproductive. You have no leverage and you desperately need his vote for anything good to happen. It makes no sense to demonize him. From Politico Playbook:
"Liberals have been unleashing their growing frustration at Sen. JOE MANCHIN over his opposition to their party’s signature voting rights package ahead of an expected Senate vote next week. But for now at least, top Democrats are urging their members to hold their fire.
As Manchin remains a holdout on S. 1, Senate Majority Leader CHUCK SCHUMER is telling outside groups not to try to bully Manchin, but to instead focus on the historical and factual arguments related to the legislation, according to sources familiar with his remarks.
In a private meeting Monday night, Speaker NANCY PELOSI also advised lawmakers not to vilify individual senators on the issue, according to several people who attended. While she did not single out Manchin by name, multiple Democrats said they believed she was referring to Manchin, the only Senate Democrat to publicly announce his opposition to S. 1.
The call to back off comes amid fierce criticism of Manchin from progressive groups and fellow Democrats in Congress. They’re also upset with the West Virginian for defending the filibuster and insisting on a bipartisan infrastructure deal. Rep. JAMAAL BOWMAN (D-N.Y.) recently called the West Virginia senator the “new MITCH MCCONNELL.” Earlier this week, Rep. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D-N.Y.) said she doesn’t “buy” Manchin’s calls for bipartisanship on voting matters and speculated that his opposition is more likely tied to his wariness of Democrats’ effort to rein in dark money.
Manchin remains unmoved by all of this. His resistance to the elections bill came into focus again Tuesday: He skipped a Senate Democratic lunch where a group of Texas state lawmakers urged passage of S. 1 and warned of the GOP’s efforts to restrict voting access. (Manchin’s staff did meet with the group, though a source familiar said the Texas group did not request a meeting with the senator until the day of their visit.)
OUR TAKEAWAY: Schumer needs Manchin to pass Biden’s agenda, and there’s a lot of eye-rolling from senior Democrats across Washington about the way the left has attacked the senator. We’re told he privately scoffs at the notion that progressive activists understand West Virginia politics better than he does.
At best the in-your-face tactics might simply strengthen Manchin’s position back home. At worst it could eventually push him to switch parties, something there’s increasing chatter about among top Dems. Manchin did not hit 50% in his last reelection, and Trump won the state by almost 40 points. Politics is nationalized now, and there are few remaining states that vote for different parties for the Senate and presidency, making Manchin an extreme outlier. Democrats whose memory of politics stretches beyond the rise of Trump have been reminding us that in 2001, Sen. JIM JEFFORDS (R-Vt.), who was relentlessly attacked by conservatives, left the Republican Party and threw the 50-50 Republican-controlled Senate to the Democrats.
A quieter effort to influence Manchin has been undertaken by some labor leaders. We hear that RANDI WEINGARTEN, president of the American Federation of Teachers, has been talking to him about beefing up the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, and that MARY KAY HENRY, president of SEIU, is working on a town hall event with Manchin in his home state.
The message from Manchin whisperers is more honey, less vinegar. We’ve heard a version of this line all month: “Calling Joe a racist is not going to work.”
Unfortunately this seems like a lesson the left has a hard time learning. And not just with Manchin.

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