Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) angered Democrats Sunday when he revealed opposition to the "For The People Act," a sweeping federal election reform bill being pushed by Democrats.
What is the background?
The "For The People Act" passed the House in March with zero Republican support; even one Democrat voted against the bill.
The legislation would force states to allow mail-in voting and establish an independent commission to redraw congressional districts to, in theory, prevent partisan gerrymandering. The bill would also greatly increase voter registration efforts, and seeks to implement campaign finance reforms, among other measures.
The White House has said the bill "is urgently needed to protect the right to vote and the integrity of our elections, and to repair and strengthen American democracy," while House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said the bill "would weaken the security of our elections and make it harder to protect against voter fraud."
What did Manchin say?
Manchin published an essay in the Charleston Gazette-Mail explaining he will vote against the "For The People Act" because the bill has been advanced through partisan channels.
Unfortunately, we now are witnessing that the fundamental right to vote has itself become overtly politicized. Today's debate about how to best protect our right to vote and to hold elections, however, is not about finding common ground, but seeking partisan advantage. Whether it is state laws that seek to needlessly restrict voting or politicians who ignore the need to secure our elections, partisan policymaking won't instill confidence in our democracy — it will destroy it.
As such, congressional action on federal voting rights legislation must be the result of both Democrats and Republicans coming together to find a pathway forward or we risk further dividing and destroying the republic we swore to protect and defend as elected officials.
Not only did Manchin say that he will oppose the "For The People Act," but the moderate Democrat reaffirmed his opposition to ending the filibuster, which Democrats have pushed in order to more easily enact their agenda.
"I believe that partisan voting legislation will destroy the already weakening binds of our democracy, and for that reason, I will vote against the For the People Act," Manchin said. "Furthermore, I will not vote to weaken or eliminate the filibuster. For as long as I have the privilege of being your U.S. senator, I will fight to represent the people of West Virginia, to seek bipartisan compromise no matter how difficult and to develop the political bonds that end divisions and help unite the country we love."
What was the reaction?
Angered liberals lashed out at Manchin over his continued refusal to support the Democratic Party's partisan agenda.
- "Why did we elect Joe Biden president if we're gonna let Joe Manchin run the f***** country?" one critic cried.
- "Within the limits of the law, Manchin should never have a day of rest by the American people. He needs to be held accountable for his traitorous cowardice," another critic said.
- "Manchin's op-ed might as well be titled, 'Why I'll vote to preserve Jim Crow,'" Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-N.Y.) smeared.
- "Joe Manchin... he's a Republican. That's why we have to win more seats in 2022 so we don't have to deal with his sorry ass," another critic cried.
- "White supremacy is Joe Manchin choosing to help voter suppression efforts because he'd lose his power in West Virginia if he chooses the side of black and brown voters who have all been showing up to the polls to help save our democracy," another person said.
- "This has nothing to do with being a moderate from a conservative state... this is just evil and bad," one person said.
- "Manchin is handing Republicans the House for at least a decade. It doesn't get more partisan than that," the official People 4 Bernie account claimed.
- "Tried to be patient w him, I get what state he's from. But if we lose our democracy bc he won't do the most basic thing to save it, he goes down w Quisling, Petain, Von Hindenburg--the worst fascist enablers in history. Enough carrots, whatev sticks they have, it's time," another person said.
- "All of that work to flip Georgia blue and Manchin just s**** all over it," another critic cried.
By voting against the "For The People Act," Manchin will effectively kill the bill.