Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) just shut down Chuck Schumer and the Dems chances of passing their dream voter bill. After the contentious 2020 elections and heading into the key redistricting process, many states have passed new laws to tighten up their voting rules.
The Democrats want to pass their own voting bill but rather than do so at the state level where these changes should be made they want to go national. They want to pass a landmark federal voting law but they cannot unless they get one key man on board – Joe Manchin.
Manchin has been a common sense thorn in Pelosi and Schumer’s sides so far by standing up for the lost art of bipartisanship. He came out the other day against making Washington D.C. a state ending one of Pelosi’s dreams and now he is ending Schumer’s dream of passing a new voter bill.
“Every vote should be accessible, it should be secure, and it should be fair. That’s the responsibility we have, and if the states are subverting that, then we should put guard rails on it,” he said.
“How in the world could you, with the tension we have right now, allow a voting bill to restructure the voting of America on a partisan line?
“I just believe with all my heart and soul that’s what would happen, and I’m not going to be part of it,” he said April 27.
Manchin has also said in a statement on March 25:
“A healthy democracy depends on a voting system that is accessible, free, fair, and secure. There are some legitimate concerns about the implementation of the For the People Act, especially in rural areas.
“As a former Secretary of State, I know, firsthand, the importance of local decision-making around voter accessibility and election security.
“With that in mind, there are bipartisan proposals embedded in this bill that can strike the right balance and make great strides on each of these issues.
“Instead of arguing about the election reforms on which we disagree, Congress should be working together to enact those on which we can agree.”
This month, Manchin put his foot down again. Spurning calls among progressives for changes to the Senate’s rules that could allow Democrats to pass all bills with a simple majority, he wrote in a Washington Post op-ed:
“There is no circumstance in which I will vote to eliminate or weaken the filibuster.”
If he holds firm on this, Democrats will be drastically limited in what they can achieve legislatively, effectively dooming the party’s bills on immigration reform, gun background checks, union protections, policing reform, and voting rights in anything like their current forms.
“The op-ed was as clear as it could be,” Manchin told Vox in an interview last week. “If you want to argue about it for two years, then you’re going to waste a lot of your energy and your time.”
Manchin represents a more conservative state than any other Democrat in the US Senate; he identifies as pro-life, pro-gun, and pro-business. He has frequently voted with Republicans, and when asked about “defund the police,” he once responded, “Defund, my butt.”
But so far this year he has backed nearly all of Biden’s nominees, and his vote has had a tendency to materialize when Democrats really need it.
Yet Manchin says the nation’s political ills come from too much extremism and unwillingness to compromise on, yes, both sides. In his view, this explains everything from congressional dysfunction to the storming of the Capitol to the electoral collapse of the Democratic Party in his state.
He says the national party has gone too “far on the extremes” and fallen out of touch with “how most people live their lives.”
Democrats are increasingly concluding that the Senate, and the political system, is broken. But Manchin thinks he’s saving the country from an even worse fate: “violent swings” from one party’s total control over the law to the other’s.
“I truly believe in my heart of hearts, if we get rid of the filibuster, we would lose the purpose of this democracy, of this republic, which is for the people,” he said. “Not on my watch is that gonna happen.”
“It might happen on somebody else’s watch,” he added. “God help us as a country if it does.”