It never fails to amuse me to see assorted “progressive” Democrat politicians, self-important left-wing blue checks on Twitter and on the CNN/MSNBC fever swamps lay out their case for wanting to “primary” Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) over the fact that he so frequently bucks President Biden’s agenda and refuses to toe the “woke” party line.
Usually, it revolves around some variation of “he’s not doing what the American people want” or “Joe Manchin is ignoring the will of West Virginia voters.” What these arguments ignore are two things.
First, Manchin doesn’t have to do what the American people allegedly “want.” His job is to represent West Virginia in the United States Senate. And to that, which takes us to the second part of this, Manchin is not “ignoring” voters in the state.
Complicating the left’s case against Manchin is the stark (for them) reality that Manchin and his positions on the issues are in line with a majority of people in West Virginia if you look at recent polling. Further, when it comes to approval ratings, Manchin’s are typically well above Biden’s in the state even among Democrats (many of who are moderate/conservative Democrats), which ultimately would make primarying him an exercise in futility.
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But new statewide polling numbers for Joe Biden across all 50 states show how deeply he is underwater in most of them, with West Virginia being the state where Biden’s approval rating is the lowest:
Side note: What the hell is wrong with Vermont, Hawaii, Massachusetts, and Maryland? I have a pretty good idea, but will leave it to the commenters to debate/discuss.
But back to Manchin, the numbers reaffirm why it’s him and not Biden who holds all the cards when it comes to the various stalemates between the two on issues like the filibuster, Build Back Better, and so-called “voting rights” legislation. Manchin is pretty close to “King of the Hill” territory in his state while Biden is floundering and flopping no matter what he does.
They also point to the reason that Manchin has publicly stated that he doesn’t care if Democrats try to primary him. Manchin knows that won’t go well.
All of that said, though an attempt at ousting Manchin through the primary process likely would be unsuccessful for his most vocal Democrat critics, Manchin is likely to face another strong general election fight should he run for re-election in 2024 as a Democrat. Because not only is the state getting redder by the day, but Manchin narrowly won in 2018 over his Republican opponent by 19,000 votes in an election where the Libertarian candidate got 24,000 votes.
Though Manchin is wildly popular, a potential 2024 match-up with popular Republican Gov. Jim Justice could prove to be just as tough as Manchin’s 2018 re-election battle.