Even if the Democratic Party’s wildest dream of retaking control of the U.S. Senate shakes out after run-off elections in January, progressives’ dreams of transforming the nation’s institutions have received a preemptive veto from one pivotal member of the party.
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) poured cold water on far-left policy proposals including expanding the size of the U.S. Supreme Court during a recent interview with the Washington Examiner.
“Under no circumstances”
A red-state Democrat, Manchin has long been known for his moderate views and bipartisan actions — including as the only member of his party to vote in favor of confirming Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.
He firmly stood in contrast to fellow Democrats, however, in his most recent remarks, reassuring those voters concerned about a radical agenda if his party gains a governing majority in the chamber during its upcoming session.
“Under no circumstances would I support packing the court or ending the filibuster if there is a 50-50 tie,” he told the Examiner.
Reacting to the underperformance of Democratic candidates in comparison to the party’s high hopes for this year’s election, Manchin took pains to distinguish himself as a “West Virginia Democrat” as opposed to those in the progressive wing.
“We are the party of the working men and women, and we forget how to talk about that in a meaningful way,” he said, as the Examiner reported.
“A pretty special place”
In making his case, the senator defended the filibuster as a necessary tool in maintaining the deliberative nature of the Senate even as several Democratic leaders have signaled a desire to end it.
“I really think that when you break the filibuster, you break the Senate,” he asserted. “And I’m not going to be part of breaking the Senate, I can tell you that.”
Going on to praise the Senate as “a pretty special place because the Founding Fathers intended it to be that way,” Manchin noted that those founders “also intended us to work in a bipartisan way and to where the minority always had input.”
To that end, he declared: “You break the rules of the filibuster, the minority has nothing. There’s no purpose whatsoever. You’re no different than a glorified House.”
For their part, progressive Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Ilhan Omar (D-MN) have reacted with social media taunts, with the latter declaring on Twitter: “Stop worrying about progressives, this might be the reason we don’t win the Senate races in Georgia. Good grief.”