Manchin Wants a Voting Rights Bill the GOP Can Support. Really?

The Senator from West Virginia is not acting in good faith.

Alex Wong/Getty Images

Joe Manchin has been the face of corporate Democrat obstruction since Biden took office and arguably well before, and he’s certainly been proud to hold that position. As many who follow politics already know, he’s expressed public disapproval for virtually all of the recent Democratic Party’s proposals, whether they come from the House or the Biden administration itself. Aside from his refusal to even consider reforming the filibuster, perhaps the most consequential supposed priority of the Democratic Party that Manchin has taken it upon himself to squander is the voting rights bill that passed the House of Representatives.

Recently, Manchin decided to offer voters a bit of insight into his rationale for standing against the voting rights legislation, and it was exactly as one would expect.

Manchin expressed his supposed support for a voting rights bill more narrow in scope, one that he believes could get bipartisan support, stating:

“I believe Democrats and Republicans feel very strongly about protecting the ballot boxes allowing people to protect the right to vote, making it accessible, making it fair and making it secure, and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, if we apply that to all 50 states and territories, it’s something that can be done — it should be done…It could be done bipartisan to start getting confidence back in our system…”

Joe Manchin certainly isn’t unintelligent, but he seems to think the voters are.

Manchin knows that the Republican Party is not interested in protecting voting rights. In fact, a leader of a right wing dark money group was caught on tape bragging about how her organization had drafted much of the prominent voter suppression legislation that’s been coming out of states like Georgia and Texas, and proudly reminded her audience that they were able to get it into the hands of GOP lawmakers to be put into law “quickly and quietly.”

Are we really expected to believe Joe Manchin is unaware of this, and feels as though his Republican friends act on good faith and principle? Are we expected to believe he thinks these lawmakers who readily and willingly restrict access to voting at every turn want to protect our right to vote?

It’s insulting, honestly, how Manchin thinks we’ll overlook the behavior happening right in front of our eyes and just take his word for it that he can get Republicans on board. He is a paper tiger. A dog that’s all bark and no bite, who knows that even the Democrats who oppose his stances wouldn’t dare challenge him effectively. He’s a narcissist, who finds pleasure not in legislating for the good of the people, but in his own relevance.

Manchin’s donors don’t want the voting rights bill passed because less voter turnout and access means more Washington gridlock, and his role is to prevent this legislation from coming to fruition. It’s as simple as that. Manchin values his relationships with his Republican colleagues more than the state of the country’s already fragile and neglected democratic process, and it’s time we stopped pretending otherwise.

Manchin enjoys less Democrats in office, because it means he has more power. This has nothing to do with a supposed belief that Republicans will see the light if Democrats just scale the bill back a little. It just works out for him personally in a number of different ways if things just stay exactly as they are.

Lauren is a writer & leftist with analysis on topics related to politics & policy. She can be reached at LaurenMartinchek@gmail.com or Twitter @xlauren_mx

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