Although moderate U.S. Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) have frequently angered their own party’s progressive wing, they have begun to garner significant support on the Republican side of the aisle.
According to the Daily Caller, even some prominent GOP donors are sending campaign cash to the two Democrats after they voted with Republicans to keep the Senate filibuster in place.
“He’s a great American”
Home Depot co-founder Ken Langone, a longtime Republican donor, confirmed that he personally donated the maximum $5,000 to Manchin’s political action committee last year.
“I don’t see any leadership any place in this country,” Lagone said in a CNBC interview at the time. “I’m going to have one of the biggest fundraisers I’ve ever had for him. He’s special. He’s precious. He’s a great American.”
Manchin’s Senate Republican colleagues have also expressed support for his principled stance.
Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has gone so far as to urge him to switch parties, stating: “We would love to have him on our team. I think he’d be more comfortable.”
Naturally, McConnell would welcome any new Republican on his side of the aisle as the chamber is currently split evenly between the party — with Vice President Kamala Harris representing the tie-breaking vote.
Sinema unpopular among Democrats
Sinema is also attracting some Republican support, albeit to a lesser extent. The Arizona Democrat has stood up to her party on a number of recent occasions.
Despite their openness to bipartisanship, it is unlikely that either Manchin or Sinema will take the drastic step of switching parties anytime soon.
In any case, it is clearly tough to withstand the pressure they have been under for much of Biden’s first year in office. Both were elected as Democrats in conservative-leaning states and had been able to keep their constituents largely happy by bucking their party’s far-left wing.
Recent polling shows that Sinema is now slightly more popular among Republicans than she is among Democrats. Of course, her approval rating among those in her own party was just 42%.
If they continue their effort to rein in the Democratic Party’s progressive platform, however, they are likely to continue attracting attention from both parties while wielding a disproportionate amount of influence and power in the Senate.