A former Democrat party legislator has a suggestion for how Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) can handle criticism and attacks from his own party amid a refusal to vote according to their wishes on key legislative priorities.
Rep. Jeff Van Drew (R-NJ) used an appearance on Fox News’ “America’s Newsroom” to invite the embattled congressman to follow in his footsteps and join the Republican party after Manchin cited incivility by Democrats over his refusal to vote for the Build Back Better Act or support action to get rid of the Senate filibuster.
“I surely invite [Manchin] to come into our party. I really believe he would be happier in the Republican Party,” Van Drew said, likening what is happening to Manchin to what happened to him when he refused to support the impeachment of former President Donald Trump by Democrats in 2019.
Van Drew said he was happy that he switched parties, and credited the GOP with “caring about America,” even though he admits the party is not perfect.
“The party has changed”
“The party has changed in so many ways,” Van Drew said of Democrats. “It was impeachment, but it was many other things. It was the constant berating of the president, the lack of any bipartisanship, not giving us any information on the Republican side, which bothered me a lot because I don’t think that’s the way government should run.”
“I belong in the Republican Party. It’s a party that… No party is perfect, but does care about America, cares about our future and does not want to make us a socialist, Marxist state,” he went on.
Van Drew said he was threatened over impeachment and that party leaders tried to force him to go along with it, in much the same way Manchin has been pressured to vote with Democrats.
“The last thing that was said to me, I’ll never forget it, was ‘You will obey.’ I was threatened [over impeachment],” he said.
Will Manchin defect?
Manchin has not said he would switch parties, in fact, he has previously refused to do so when asked, but that doesn’t stop the press from speculating about his next steps as he faces attacks from the White House and others in his current party.
Sen. Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said he would welcome Manchin into the party on “The Guy Benson Podcast” this week, which is not surprising since a switch now would make him once again the majority leader and give Republicans 51 votes in the chamber.
It seems unlikely, though, that Manchin would make a switch to the Republican side now, given the amount of power he has as a lone detractor (or sometimes with Sen. Krysten Sinema of Arizona) from parts of the Democrat agenda he doesn’t like.
It’s probably more likely that he could switch after the midterms if Republicans once again take the majority of the upper chamber, in order to remain with the majority. If this happens, it’s likely he could have the same type of maverick role within the Republican Party as he has now with the Democrats.
GOP leaders should probably be careful what they wish for when it comes to Manchin.