When it comes to Democratic lawmakers who aren’t helping their party pass key legislation, Kyrsten Sinema tends to get most of the hate, even from Joe Biden. But Joe Manchin seems to be trying to eclipse her. On Sunday an op-ed by the West Virignia senator was published in the Charleston Gazette-Mail. Entitled “Why I’m Voting Against the For the People Act,” it laid out his case for why he won’t support a far-reaching bill intended to combat voter suppression. And, at least for now, Manchin found himself more infamous than Sinema.
According to The New York Times, the bill, which now seems poised for defeat, would roll back dozens of laws passed by Republican state legislatures that curb voting laws, such as limiting early and mail-in voting. It would also end partisan gerrymandering — the tool that has helped people like Dan Crenshaw assume power — tighten controls on campaign spending, and restore many of the ethical norms Trump shattered.
But Manchin wasn’t having it. In his piece, he said the debate over voting has “become overtly politicized.” He seemed to argue that the bill, which seeks to reverse policies that target potential Democrat voters, should be bi-partisan. “Today’s debate about how to best protect our right to vote and to hold elections, however, is not about finding common ground, but seeking partisan advantage.”
He added, “I believe that partisan voting legislation will destroy the already weakening binds of our democracy, and for that reason, I will vote against the For the People Act.”
Manchin also doubled down on his opposition to ending the filibuster, the tool Republicans have long used to thwart Democratic bills from passing. Sinema has also stated she opposes its removal.
And so Manchin, who’s usually only discussed when people are calling out Sinema, found himself getting scorched solo.
We can’t foster bipartisanship without a properly functioning democracy. The filibuster is preventing both.
— Julián Castro (@JulianCastro) June 6, 2021
Joe Manchin is a 73 year old multimillionaire who can risk losing the Senate seat by choosing to save democracy. You saw how he chose. This shouldn't surprise anyone who's a student of US history. This story will repeat itself.
— Wajahat Ali (@WajahatAli) June 6, 2021
When Senator Joe Manchin insists we must give Republicans more time, I’m reminded of James Baldwin’s brilliant wisdom.
“It’s taken my father’s time, my mother’s time, my brother’s and my sister’s time. How much time do you want, for your progress?”
Justice Can’t Wait. pic.twitter.com/7ErAuzGocM
— Qasim Rashid, Esq. (@QasimRashid) June 6, 2021
These arguments are completely disingenuous and I suspect Joe Manchin (@Sen_JoeManchin) knows that. His op-ed would have been shorter had he just said he favors the voting restrictions Republicans are imposing across the country. Hiding behind John Lewis’ legacy is just gross. https://t.co/bd6A9NZWlJ
— Joy-Ann (Pro-Democracy) Reid 😷 (@JoyAnnReid) June 6, 2021
Joe Manchin, please turn in your "Democrat" card. You suck.
Sincerely, A Real Democrat.
— Plastic Martyr (@plasticmartyr) June 6, 2021
Joe Manchin consistently demonstrates that white supremacy is alive and well within the Democratic Party too.
— Raquel Willis (@RaquelWillis_) June 6, 2021
Some implied he was a Democrat in Name Only.
holy fucking shit, Joe Manchin is the most powerful Republican in government
— Jeff Tiedrich (@itsJeffTiedrich) June 6, 2021
Joe Manchin is a Democrat in the way that Donald Trump is a Christian.
We need to overcome both of them now.
— John Pavlovitz (@johnpavlovitz) June 6, 2021
Others dismantled his logic.
What Joe Manchin fails to acknowledge is that the voting rights legislation is being characterized as partisan only because partisans are opposing it. It's like blaming hostages for not negotiating with their kidnappers. Voting rights are not partisan. Voter suppression is.
— Walter Shaub (@waltshaub) June 6, 2021
Never been this disappointed in a politician before. Joe Manchin is voting against the right to vote. His real reason can only be if we elect more Dems he will lose personal power and leverage he has now. Like so many before him, power has stolen his heart.
— Joe Lockhart (@joelockhart) June 6, 2021
— Sarah Lerner (@SarahLerner) June 6, 2021
And some, wrestling with the idea that the future of democracy is in the hands of a 73-year-old millionaire who thinks Republicans in the Trump era can be reasonable, treated the news with gallows humor.
I'm seeing some twitter lefties going after Joe Manchin, but you ~need~ someone in your coalition that can arbitrarily veto your entire agenda and help the opposition party dismantle whatever semblances of democracy that still remain. the adults in the room understand this
— Rob (@robrousseau) June 6, 2021
Happy Sunday, Joe Manchin just announced the upcoming end of democracy in a poorly written op-ed!
— Amanda Litman (@amandalitman) June 6, 2021
“How I learned to stop worrying about Jim Crow and love the filibuster” by Joe Manchin
— Walter Shaub (@waltshaub) June 6, 2021
(Via The New York Times)