Dear Democrats: Joe Manchin Is Not Your Friend

Marc Ash / Reader Supported News
Dear Democrats: Joe Manchin Is Not Your Friend Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia at war with his own party. (illustration: LA Progressive)

Let’s start with an overarching premise and a harsh reality: Joe Manchin is a McConnell stooge in Democrat’s clothing. He is also deeply financially conflicted, presiding directly over the legislative affairs of his largest donors. His objective is not to hold out from the Democratic agenda, but rather to shred it. Not only is he corrupt, he wants the entire Democratic Party to be corrupt with him.

So far the Democrats are approaching their negotiations with Manchin on bended knee. The strategy is to appease, mollify and persuade. But Joe Manchin will not be persuaded. His objective is to derail what he sees as a Progressive agenda on the rise and he has launched a one-man vendetta to do just that. He’s not just holding out for concessions, he’s plotting a campaign of destruction.

The numbers don’t lie, there are 270 Democrats on Capitol Hill and 268 are ready to move ahead with badly needed Progressive legislation. That leaves Joe Manchin vying to be the greatest lone-wolf obstructionist in Senate history. The time has come for Democrats to confront Joe Manchin and his backers in the fossil fuel industry in more direct terms, speaking a language that they will be sure to understand.

The great fear for Democrats is that Joe Manchin will walk across the aisle and hand the majority to Mitch McConnell and the Republicans. The reality is that Manchin has become the most effective tool of obstructing Biden’s agenda McConnell has. He has already rendered the Democratic majority moot. That’s bad because the Democratic agenda is thwarted, but it is good because the Democrats have, or should have nothing left to fear by using much harsher negotiating tactics on Joe Manchin.

Manchin’s Prized Chairmanship

The fact that the Democrats allow Joe Manchin from the last bastion of coal state of West Virginia to Chair the Senate Energy Committee speaks volumes about the Democratic Party’s lack of commitment to fighting climate change. Joe Manchin is Coal’s Senator, he’s fossil fuel through and through. There will be no legislative progress on climate change or green energy as long as he chairs the very committee climate legislation must pass through.

The Democrats need to stop worrying about Manchin handing McConnell a majority and go to work on what Manchin values most, his precious chairmanship. Let him know in no uncertain terms he will not remain as the chair of the Energy Committee if he continues to obstruct the Democratic agenda. He can walk, but it’s not clear that McConnell would even give him the same chairmanship in a Republican controlled Senate.

The People Joe Manchin Really Works For

Joe Manchin is quick to say he represents the hard working people of West Virginia. But his campaign finance records and his voting record on Capitol Hill tell a different story. He is as one Exxon-Mobile lobbyist put it, “The king maker” for the fossil fuel industry. He’s their go to guy and it is his job to make sure the get what they want.

If Joe Manchin’s benefactors are the ones actually calling the shots the Biden Administration can and probably should circumvent Manchin and negotiate directly with them. From a regulatory standpoint the Biden administration has a wide array of carrots and sticks it can use to negotiate effectively with the fossil fuel executives. Manchin is merely a lobbyist in Senator’s clothing. Take the negotiation directly to the decision makers, and let them know you mean business, thier business.

The time has come to negotiate with Joe Manchin and those he works for in direct terms, using the full power of the Democratic majority on Capitol Hill and Executive Branch to move Biden’s still very Progressive agenda forward.

Joe Manchin does not help the Democrats at the polls he and his policies do not inspire Democratic voters. He’s a liability not an asset electorally. If the democrats loose the Senate Majority for a year to rid themselves of Joe Manchin’s bad baggage the Democrats might actually fair better in 2022.

Take off the kid gloves with Joe Manchin and the fossil fuel industry and use all the levers of power the Democrats have to force the issue. The risk of inaction far outweighs the risk of a potential Manchin defection. Put everything in play. Now.



Marc Ash is the founder and former Executive Director of Truthout, and is now founder and Editor of Reader Supported News.

Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News.

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