If you read Manchin’s last op ed, you learned that he actually believed legislation he opposed — HR1/S1, The For the People Act — contained some very good provisions, but claimed other provisions had nothing to do with voting rights. Manchin was actually a co-sponsor of a form of S1 back in 2019.
Democrats repeatedly complained that Manchin had not provided any substantive information as to why he opposed S1, pushing him to provide details. Sen. Tim Kaine shared, “a bunch of us have been meeting and talking” with Manchin. Last Tuesday, Senate majority whip Dick Durbin said Manchin had agreed to provide “a list of things that were acceptable and objectionable in S1.”
This significant turn of events has not been widely reported, which I can only assume was due to the crazy news week. Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer said, “We’re open to changes and modifications [to S1] as long as it does the job.”
West Virginia voters are overwhelmingly in favor of passing S1, wealth taxes, and Biden’s American Jobs Plan. But a representative of West Virginia Can’t Wait, appearing on MSNBC recently, declared that what West Virginia wants and needs does not get politicians elected there — your name and money do. According to wvcantwait.com, “For too long, the wealthy Good Old Boys Club — of both parties — has rigged the system against us. We know our fight isn’t left vs. right — it’s up vs. down.”
Manchin is a former quarterback, so we can safely assume he likes being the hero. Right now, he’s the Republicans’ hero, but that is only temporary and transactional. We should remind him who the winners are, that fighting for Democracy and West Virginia will make him a hero for the ages, and that with political power comes great responsibility. Manchin could do so much for his poor state without the filibuster in the way. This could be his last term due to his age alone.
If Manchin helps us rewrite S1, it will also give him a stake in wanting it to pass. Protecting voting rights doesn’t require 800+ pages, all of which few have even read or know what all it contains.