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From everything I've read Manchin would get replaced by a Republican if he lost an election, but if he does and you're saying that will still make the representative unpredictable I say that's still better because you'd have to assume the rep is Trumpy and anything they do outside that predictability would be a positive for the left. With Manchin currently you can assume the worst for the left and that's exactly what you are going to get.
Saw a clip last night of McConnell saying point blank that the era of bipartisanship is over. That's probably been over for McConnell for at least the past decade, but even with him saying that directly now I'm sure Manchin is going to cling even more to his dream (or whatever evil motive he has) of bipartisanship because he's a self serving asshole who, like Trump, wants to abuse his position to the fullest and put himself above all other interests.
tbh I don't know what Manchin has in mind past trying to walk the fence and keep his Senate seat with the help of pro-Trump voters. I just don't get how he figures to do best by his own state in the competition for deployment of federal funds when he's in Biden's face on the filibuster. Unless the Dems don't mean to pull the trigger on the filibuster anyway... which is possible.
After all, when power swings the other way again the Dems will not be happy to see assorted right-wing legislation make it to law on a simple majority in the Senate... even for all their current talk of the filibuster being antidemocratic.. Not so long ago, Democrats argued that the filibuster protects the rights of minority opinion. Accusations of a "tyranny of the majority" tend to get put about in a very partisan era only when a vote is very close, rather than when a party manages to round up 60 votes to get something across the line.
Below is my column on the ongoing Democratic effort to get rid of the Senate filibuster. There are good-faith arguments against filibusters but there is a new campaign to declare the rule as racist…
Of course one may argue that NEITHER party can erase the history or hypocrisy of how the filibuster has been used from time to time. But in my mind it's not outrageous for the Senate to have a rule that for certain categories of legislation, of significant potential impact on the entire nation, for 60 votes to be the bar that must be met for the bill to become law. It only guarantees that dissent will be heard.
Nothing guarantees that a minority party won't abuse the privilege, and over our history both parties have done that and turned filibusters into assorted circuses or just blatant obstruction. Not sure that's worse than asking the Senate to round up a larger plurality of votes on major legislation. It may only seem so to partisans when they're on the upside of a very close majoritarian vote but 60 votes looks like too high a mountain to climb.
Bottom line in the case of Biden's proposed legislation, it behooves the Dems to sell in the plan itself to the citizens, get them to consider the proposals rather than just the Republicans' knee-jerk objections to it. Sixty votes is not out of the question on his budget plan, if you believe the public polling about Biden and his administration so far.... and if you believe that Senators on the R side of the aisle actually do answer to all the voters in their respective states.
I think that's the sticking point nowadays for the Dems... it's not clear that more than a handful of Republican Senators (not even 10 of them?) are responsive to the will of the people in their states, rather than to the RNC's decision to ignore policy issues and make allegiance to Donald Trump its sole platform.
The question then becomes whether the voters in those states will signal to Senators that they want the policy issues debated on merit else the Senate seats become more vulnerable. The question of a 60-vote rule and filibuster's existence or nonexistence are not going to resolve that.