Joe Manchin Won't Back Bernie if he's the Nominee
Guess it's only a problem when progressives are "divisive"
West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin has revealed his true divisive nature. His radical centrism is dividing the party and helping Donald Trump. Is he a Russian asset??? Allow me to explain. So earlier this week I wrote about Bernie Sanders’ uptick in the polls which I attribute to drawing a greater contrast with Warren and more successfully making the case on his particular theory of change. Here in particular is the clip I pointed you towards dear reader, in which he explains how he will get a corporatist like Joe Manchin to vote for his priorities by literally bringing his working class movement to Manchin’s back door. As we say on Rising, let’s take a listen.
Now this threat actually carries some weight in West Virginia since Sanders won literally every county in the state in the 2016 primary against Hillary Clinton. Weird that her corporate neoliberalism, which we are always told is the way to win back places like West Virginia, was apparently thoroughly and completely rejected.
Well today, Manchin responded. In an interview with Fox News, he said that if Sanders is the nominee, he will not back him.
Pushed by Cavuto, Manchin wouldn’t say whether he would choose Trump but he made it clear he would absolutely NOT support Sanders.
Now, I want you to imagine for one moment how many Neera Tanden heads would automatically detonate if Bernie Sanders said he would refuse to back the Democratic nominee and hold out the possibility of choosing Trump instead. The MSM would even cut into all Ukraine all the time coverage to go into spasms of rage at the mere possibility that Sanders could possibly support Trump in this unfathomable way. Divisive! Angry! Makes my skin crawl! I don’t doubt that some pundit or another would actually propose he was traitor to the nation for giving aid and comfort to Trump. HRC would likely emerge to accuse him of being a Russian asset and spokesperson Nick Merrill would wittily snark: “well if the nesting doll fits.”
Manchin’s refusal to back Bernie is particularly galling since he did support Hillary Clinton in 2016, a woman who was despised in the state, lost every county in the primary, and who’s model of politics was an integral part of selling Manchin’s people down the river. The utter gutting of small towns and small cities, commodification of everything, devastation of unions, walmart-ization of everything, and coziness to the big Pharma companies that have utterly devastated a generation of Southern West Virginians, these were the Clinton politics that Manchin was comfortable with. But getting everyone health care and ending the environmental degradation that has literally poisoned the water his people drink and allowed outsiders to come in and suck his state dry of all of their natural resources, that is apparently in Manchin’s words “not practical.”
Here’s the thing. For so long we have been told that in a place like West Virginia, you can’t do better than Joe Manchin. I’ve got roots in the state and I’ve worked in the state so I’ve got a little bit of an understanding. And it’s true that Joe is one of the few Dems who still wins there statewide. But at the same time, the corrupt, old school, corporate Democrats like Manchin are a main part of the reason that the state has lost all trust in Democrats. You combine that with a national party filled with Hillary Clintons who look at the state with contempt and you’ve got the makings of a massive political realignment.
But I’ll tell you, I was there at the Capitol Building when thousands upon thousands of teachers rushed the halls, singing, dancing and demanding a basic standard of living with the chant “We are worthy.” Think about this, these workers, many with families and all with bills to pay, were told they could be arrested for striking and that their actions were illegal and they fucking did it anyway. That is more radical militancy then any #resistance Twitter storm or women’s march. And it shows that a different kind of politics is possible in Appalachia, the South and across the Heartland.