West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin’s loyalty to the Democratic Party has been questioned since he stopped President Joe Biden’s massive $1.5 trillion “Build Back Better” spending plan.
Manchin has also refused to abolish the Senate filibuster to would allow Democrats to push through Biden’s wishlist in the narrowly divided 50-50 Senate.
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While speculation has grown that Manchin will switch parties and join his Republican colleagues, Democrats aren’t waiting for the formal news.
They’re on the offensive — and in close primaries, Manchin is the target of a growing number of Democratic Party attacks.
Progressive Democrats are linking their opponents with Manchin, hoping to win over liberal voters.
“There’s so many key issues where he’s always siding with Republicans, and he could become the Joe Manchin of the House,” Texas House candidate Jessica Cisneros said Thursday on MSNBC about her more conservative opponent in the Democratic primaries. “We don’t want Henry Cuellar to be the deciding vote on the future of our fundamental freedoms and rights in this country.”
“We can’t risk that,” she said.
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“He’s like the Joe Manchin of the House,” Jamie McLeod-Skinner said about his opponent, Rep. Kurt Schrader, D-Ore.
“Just like Joe Manchin right now is blocking our country moving forward on some really important recovery legislation and agenda, Kurt has blocked and stripped things out and watered things down in the House.”
In the Pennsylvania Democratic primary, Rep. Conor Lamb was compared to Manchin during a debate by his far-Left opponent.
“Say what you will about Bernie Sanders — at least he supported and voted for Joe Biden’s agenda, as opposed to Joe Manchin, your mentor and someone that’s endorsed you in this 2022 race,” John Fetterman, the race frontrunner, told Lamb.
It remains unclear how effective the tactic will be in these competitive races — or if the attacks will push Manchin closer to joining the Republican Party.
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The far-Left has seen mixed results in recent primaries, most recently with Ohio’s Nina Turner — a Bernie Sanders insider and Democratic socialist — having just been soundly defeated in yet another Democratic primary.
And other Democrats have rushed to defend Manchin.
“Joe Manchin is a friend of mine,” Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., said recently. “A good friend of mine. Just went out with him the other night.”