Excuse me? “Absolutely no pressure”? Not only has Manchin been under constant pressure from progressives in both the House and Senate, he’s been the target of so much abuse from them and their allies that at one point they finally realized it wasn’t doing them any good. That was after House Democrat Cori Bush attacked Manchin for being “racist” over his opposition to BBB.
Manchin wasn’t the only senator targeted over BBB. Kyrsten Sinema got repeatedly harassed in public by activists, including in public restrooms. It got so bad for both Senate Democrats that the White House’s blame-shifting last week to Manchin finally pushed him over the edge in part because Manchin knew that would set off another round of harassment.
I have long suspected that Manchin will stick with his party, especially if he has no plans to run for political office after his Senate term ends in early 2025, when he’ll be 77 years old. But with national polls indicating a Republican sweep in the offing in the November 2022 congressional midterm elections, does Manchin want to be ensconced in the minority party to complete his term of office?
All these calculations, and more, are probably swirling in Manchin’s head. He was never a fan of Donald Trump, but he’s no longer president now, and it’s Manchin’s party making his life miserable.
The Senate’s party conferences meet at least once a week while they’re in session. It’s not hard to imagine at which conference Manchin would be more welcome. For once, the switch to at least a GOP-caucusing independent looks increasingly likely. The stage is almost set for him to cross the aisle. He should.
h/t Stephen Green