Yves here. While this post reflects the “Ding, dong, the witch is dead” school of thought regarding Manchin choosing to pack it in for good as a Senator (although lousy poll numbers no doubt helped), his departure does pose problems for corporate Democrats. However, Manchin was an anomaly. Republicans have rock solid control of state government. From Balletopedia:
West Virginia has a Republican trifecta and a Republican triplex. The Republican Party controls the offices of governor, secretary of state, attorney general, and both chambers of the state legislature.
And in Congress, Manchin is the lone Democrat from West Virginia. West Virginia Senator Shelley Moore Capito is a Republican, as are the state’s three Representatives. So it is hardly a surprise that Manchin often acted like a Republican. It would be a condition of political survival. That isn’t to say he didn’t actually lean that way.
Having said that, Team Dem did much better than expected yesterday. I attribute that significantly to the Republicans refusing them to distance themselves from an hard-core anti abortion stance. That is not going to change between now and November 2024.
A few observations from the Twitterverse:
Progressives were bullied and threatened by the Biden administration as bills were being debated in the first two years, but Biden never laid a glove on Joe Manchin. Never criticized him, even though he killed the majority of his agenda. Let’s be honest, Biden always agreed with…
— Cenk Uygur (@cenkuygur) November 9, 2023
Joe Manchin’s legacy should forever be that he proudly sold his policies, statements and votes off to the highest bidder.
He’s a mercenary, not a public servant.
This video of an Exxon lobbyist bragging about paying him to kill climate action should be what he’s remembered for. pic.twitter.com/J2tWDBWyBf
— Melanie D’Arrigo (@DarrigoMelanie) November 10, 2023
With Manchin taking a knee, Dems really need Bob Casey to win PA. There’s no path to holding the Senate majority without him. As the only state without a GOP primary, this will be a key race to watch and support. Geaux. Give. Support! https://t.co/yMnc7beBen
— James Carville (@JamesCarville) November 9, 2023
By Julia Conley, staff writer at Common Dreams. Originally published at Common Dreams
Progressives on Thursday were unsurprised to hear that right-wing Democratic U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin has decided not to seek reelection next year, following recent polling that showed him 13 points behind Republican Gov. Jim Justice—but expressed frustration over the conservative senator’s legacy of tanking the Democratic Party’s agenda as leaders insisted he was the only Democrat who could possibly win the approval of voters in his home state of West Virginia.
After Manchin released a video announcing he will retire from the Senate seat he’s held since 2010, former Ohio state Sen. Nina Turner (D) noted that economic justice and rights advocates have long been told they “had to sacrifice every progressive reform so we could hold on to a blue seat in West Virginia.”
“Now, he’s vacating the seat,” said Turner.
I’m old enough to remember when neoliberals said we had to sacrifice every progressive reform so we could hold on to a blue seat in West Virginia.
Now, he’s vacating the seat. https://t.co/x3Cs736xVJ
— Nina Turner (@ninaturner) November 9, 2023
The senator has outraged progressives in recent years by refusing to join his party in backing broadly popular reforms. He made numerous demands to reduce the anti-poverty and climate provisions in President Joe Biden’s signature Build Back Better Act in 2021 before finally killing the bill over its inclusion of the expanded child tax credit—a program that more than 300,000 children in his own state benefited from before it expired but that Manchin falsely claimedwould be used by parents to buy drugs.
He also joined Republicans in 2022 to block legislation codifying abortion rights months before the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and helped the GOP push to include language in a debt limit deal this year that would expedite the construction of the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) in his state. Local advocates have denounced the project, which could lead to fossil fuel emissions equivalent to dozens of coal-fired power plants.
The state, said Denali Nalamalapu, communications director of the Protect Our Water, Heritage, Rights Coalition, is now witnessing “firsthand the repercussions of Sen. Joe Manchin’s insatiable greed.”
Nalamalapu expressed hope that West Virginians may ultimately be represented by “a climate champion who will serve their interests in the broader global shift towards a renewable future, not a robber baron who scurries away once he has maxed out his political fossil fuel profits.”
Manchin suggested his political career may not be over as he said he will be “traveling the country and speaking out to see if there is an interest in creating a movement to mobilize the middle and bring Americans together”—which former U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro translated as: “Stay tuned. I want to run for president.”
Progressive strategist Sawyer Hackett noted that Manchin’s objection to the expanded child tax credit was a significant factor when the child poverty rate shot up last year, following an historic reduction that was attributed to the initiative.
“Not a great legacy to kickstart a long-shot bid for president,” said Hackett.
Joe Manchin is almost single-handedly to blame for 5 million children falling back into poverty last year.
Not a great legacy to kickstart a long shot bid for President.
— Sawyer Hackett (@SawyerHackett) November 9, 2023
Daniel Nichanian, editor-in-chief of Bolts, said that without Manchin, Democrats must now ensure they hold onto Senate seats in a number of states in order to maintain their slim majority.
This is as narrow a path to a Senate majority as it gets, but it exists, & Dems did defy trends in 2022:
Hold onto all Biden states (certainly not a stretch based on the 2022/2023 cycles), & get 2 longtime incumbents to survive (tricky, but neither is a given at all for GOP).
— Taniel (@Taniel) November 9, 2023
But with Manchin likely to lose to Justice if he had sought reelection, Nichanian added, “it’s a stretch to describe Manchin’s retirement as a huge change to the Senate math for 2024.”