After you looked at the title of today’s article your first thought was probably, “Why the hell is a progressive site endorsing Joe Manchin?” Read on and I’ll explain.
Joe Manchin is not a progressive. He is a conservative Democrat. Please note that I know that conservative and crazy are not synonymous; the problem is the word (much like the Republican Party) has been hijacked by un-American naïve (at best) or crazy (at worst) people in an attempt to make themselves look acceptable. I often disagree with Senator Manchin on issues but have no doubt he is part of the solution, not the problem in Washington. The bottom line is that you are not going to elect a progressive Democrat in West Virginia in 2018.
The main reason I am endorsing Joe Manchin is actually one of his failures – Manchin-Toomey. Manchin-Toomey was a bi-partisan effort between Manchin and Pennsylvania Republican Pat Toomey to enact some very watered down, (not their fault) common sense and widely popular with the public gun regulation. The legislation contained nothing that endangered Second Amendment rights; it just protected the American people. That took political courage and was simply the right thing to do.
Joe voted for Obamacare even though he had some reservations with the legislation.
Manchin is more fairly described as a friend of coal miners than a friend of Big Coal. That is an important and often lost distinction.
The practical political operative comes out in me in my next reason. Simply put Manchin is one of the few Democrats in West Virginia that can and has won statewide. He served as Secretary of State from 2001 to 2005 (admittedly not the highest profile statewide office), then he served as Governor (now that’s high profile) from 2005 to 2010 when he won the special election to replace Robert Byrd in the Senate. I may not pass some people’s purity test but I was taught and firmly believe that the first obligation of a politician is to get elected (or reelected). Unless you do that you cannot do yourself, your Party or your causes any good.
Now for the put it all in perspective and look at the alternative scenario: The Republican nominee is current West Virginia Attorney General, Patrick Morrisey and there is a possible wild card, Don Blankenship. Blankenship, a convicted felon and no friend of coal miners, has no chance of winning but he could siphon off some votes (fortunately almost exclusively from Morrisey).
Morrisey in the Senate would be a disaster for progressives, West Virginia, America and the world. He spent most of his career as a lobbyist for Big Pharma. West Virginia is one of the hardest hit states in the opioid crisis.
As West Virginia AG he sued the DEA, the EPA and Obamacare. He is anti-regulation. He very publically and enthusiastically supported the Supreme Court nomination of Neil Gorsuch. He has been vocally anti-DACA. You can think of Morrisey as Scott Pruitt without the personal scandals.
I very much care about America and there is absolutely no question America is better off with Joe Manchin remaining in the Senate.
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