Is Democrat Joe Manchin really a “Jim Crow” loving, “white supremacist” and closet Republican? Or is he just someone who “doesn’t give a fuck about progressive backlash or caucus politics,” as a source familiar with Manchin’s thinking put it, “Just West Virginia.” Screaming about him may make Democrats feel good, but it’s not getting them anywhere, since the party’s problem is not that Manchin needs to confront reality, but that they do.
After all, we’re talking about a senator representing a state that Trump won by 40 points—a state that is literally giving away guns to entice people to get vaccinated (and all I got was a lousy sticker!). As Democrats react to Manchin’s announcement that he won’t support a party-line passage of a “sweeping” election reform bill (and his reiteration that he would not nuke the filibuster), I feel the need to restate the obvious: Joe Biden didn’t win a progressive mandate, and America didn’t elect 50 Bernie Sanders clones to the U.S. Senate, let alone a filibuster-proof 60.
Biden’s only real mandate was to not be Donald Trump. This talk about him being the next FDR or LBJ was a post hoc invention after Trump sabotaged the Georgia Senate elections, making it suddenly possible for Dems to dream big. What is more, there’s a way of looking at the election (we elect presidents via the Electoral College, not by the popular vote), in which Biden only narrowly prevailed, winning Arizona, Georgia, and Wisconsin by something like 45,000 votes.