Joe Manchin is being attacked by fellow Democrats for his being consistent on the filibuster. In 2017, Senate Democrats were desperate to stop Donald Trump’s agenda. Sen. Manchin, along with 33 other Dems, signed a bipartisan letter backing the filibuster in ringing terms.
Manchin’s role as a senatorial brake on Biden’s left-wing ambitions has made him more popular in his home state of WV, observes Rich Lowry in NRO, predicting that progressive slanders against Manchin will only boost the Senator’s political standing.
As Jason Riley writes in the WSJ, Sen. Manchin is taking it on the chin from his party’s left flank right now, which is not fair, because Manchin is “not the Democrats’ problem. He’s more like their scapegoat.”
Most likely Senator Joe Manchin’s motives are aimed at self-preservation, in that his West Virginia constituents have “little patience, if not disdain, for left-wing attacks on fossil fuels, law enforcement, private health insurance and the like,” continues Mr. Riley.
Backing a federal takeover of state election law, or supporting the elimination of a filibuster rule that is the only thing preventing left-wing domination on Capitol Hill, could mean the end of his political career.
Mr. Manchin isn’t being obstructionist so much as practical, and he’s forcing Democrats to confront tensions within their ranks that they can’t ignore forever. As more college-educated whites have joined the Democratic Party, it has lurched further left, causing discomfort among the more moderate black, Hispanic, Asian and working-class white Democrats who outnumber them. Unlike these progressive white elites, polling shows that minorities in the main tend to support things like voter-ID laws, school choice, race-blind college admissions and the presence of more police officers in high-crime neighborhoods.
Democratic Strategist David Shor Worried
David Shor, a data scientist, and Democratic strategist has his own concerns. In an interview with New York Magazine earlier this year, Mr. Shor expressed his worries about the tendency of Democrats to treat racial and ethnic minorities as more progressive than they are. A mistake, observed Shor.
“Roughly the same proportion of African-American, Hispanic, and white voters identify as conservative. What happened in 2020 is that nonwhite conservatives voted for conservatives at higher rates; they started voting more like white conservatives.”
Citing the left’s attacks on law enforcement after the death of George Floyd as an example, Shor explains:
“In the summer, following the emergence of “defund the police,” as a nationally salient issue, support for [Joe] Biden among Hispanic voters declined, We raised the salience of an ideologically charged issue that millions of nonwhite voters disagreed with us on.”
In the real world, however, “Republicans have an opportunity to take advantage of the Democrats’ own internal disarray,” encourages Mr. Riley.
In 2020, Mr. Trump’s support rose by 4 points among Hispanics and by 6 points among black men. He won a higher percentage of the Asian vote than any Republican presidential candidate since George W. Bush in 2000. None of this means that the GOP is on the cusp of winning a majority of racial and ethnic minorities, but the trend lines are real, and Democrats have taken notice.
Mr. Riley cautions the GOP to not forget that a free-market conservative message can appeal to nonwhites, even when “delivered via a candidate as impolitic as Mr. Trump.”
Despite references over the years to Mexican immigrant “rapists,” “s—hole countries” in Africa and “the China virus,” his support among minority voters grew. His policies mattered more than his crude language. The question is whether Republican candidates going forward will try to build on these gains by taking the time to court these voters in a manner they deserve.
Rare is the Republican politician who knocks on doors in black neighborhoods or airs ads on black radio and social media. Perhaps that will change.
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