Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia has found himself in the crosshairs of New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez amid the party’s reported infighting.
That infighting began during a conference call on Nov. 5 among House Democrats who, despite holding the lower chamber and claiming victory for their party’s candidate in the presidential race, reportedly turned on one another — and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
The New York Times summed up the nature of the call and how 2020 victors felt about the Nov. 3 election.
“Democrats wept, cursed and traded blame on Thursday during an extraordinary party confab to dissect the disappointing results of this week’s elections, agreeing on little except that they needed a ‘deep dive’ into how they had ended up with painful losses that weakened their House majority instead of the big gains they had boldly predicted,” The Times reported.
The explanation for losing ground in the House, according to some of the more moderate Democrats on the call, was that the party’s tacit support of defunding the police and embracing socialism hurt it on Election Day.
It’s hard to argue against that, but it’s nice to hear that Democrats were in a panic as they went after one another.
When Democrats are fighting among themselves, it’s best to sit back and enjoy it.
That infighting hasn’t yet ended with a big family hug, either, as now Manchin, a red-state Democrat, is being targeted by AOC.
Manchin is a deeply flawed candidate, if for no other reason than his record on abortion, which belies his claims to be “pro-life.”
But in 2018, West Virginians were inclined to keep him in the Senate, and you’d expect it could stay that way so long as he doesn’t veer too far to the left.
Manchin doesn’t seem ready to embrace Ocasio-Cortez’s radical leftist politics, lest he find himself shown the door by Mountain State voters.
The senator felt compelled to make that clear Wednesday on Twitter.
Manchin tweeted, “Defund the police? Defund, my butt. I’m a proud West Virginia Democrat. We are the party of working men and women. We want to protect Americans’ jobs & healthcare. We do not have some crazy socialist agenda, and we do not believe in defunding the police.”
Defund the police? Defund, my butt. I’m a proud West Virginia Democrat. We are the party of working men and women. We want to protect Americans’ jobs & healthcare. We do not have some crazy socialist agenda, and we do not believe in defunding the police. https://t.co/EIFHX5OQ37
— Senator Joe Manchin (@Sen_JoeManchin) November 11, 2020
You have to think that if Manchin truly believed that, and if he thought others did too, he wouldn’t have had to send the tweet — or tried to portray himself in such a folksy manner by playing the Democrat game of pretending one isn’t out of touch with voters.
Apparently “my butt” is a colloquial term Manchin thought would endear him to coal miners and others who wish to preserve law and order — and their livelihoods.
Manchin also shared his interview with the Washington Examiner in which he explained that he would not support his party’s extremist ideas in the event he was the deciding vote on some issues.
“Under no circumstances would I support packing the court or ending the filibuster if there is a 50-50 tie,” the senator told the Examiner.
Manchin’s statement made headlines, but it also grabbed the attention of Ocasio-Cortez, who went on Twitter to signal that he had apparently made one of her lists.
In a rather dramatic photo post, she responded with no caption:
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) November 12, 2020
AOC, who was re-elected last week by New York voters, then went on a tweet storm attacking other members of her own party.
Pretty astounding that some Dems don’t believe it’s possible to govern, be politically popular, and command formidable bully pulpits at the same time, but it actually explains a lot about how we got here. https://t.co/mP2tXgr40I
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) November 11, 2020
For the Dems who think I’m just being a selfish, divisive bombthrower from a deep blue seat, maybe you’ll listen to Doug Jones in Alabama when he says the same thing ⬇️ https://t.co/nSa3GhpeeR
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) November 10, 2020
One thing I’ll say: for the last two years, I and progressive candidates have been unseating powerful Dem incumbents supported by DCCC.
Not *once* has anyone in the party asked me what weaknesses I’ve found in their operation.
If they stop blaming progressives, we can help.
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) November 7, 2020
The leftist congresswoman eventually zeroed in on former Sen. Claire McCaskill, a one-time, long-serving red-state Democrat, like Manchin.
Ocasio-Cortez tweeted, “Why do we listen to people who lost elections as if they are experts in winning elections?
“McCaskill tried her approach. She ran as a caravan-hysteria Dem& lost while grassroots organizers won progressive measures in MO.
“Her language here shows how she took her base for granted.”
Why do we listen to people who lost elections as if they are experts in winning elections?
McCaskill tried her approach. She ran as a caravan-hysteria Dem& lost while grassroots organizers won progressive measures in MO. Her language here shows how she took her base for granted. https://t.co/ZnTXI59MW9
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) November 5, 2020
It’s been a good trade for the country and for Missourians.
It’s likely Manchin could face the same fate as McCaskill in West Virginia in 2024, as this year’s congressional elections thus far have been a referendum against radical Democrats and those who have enabled them.
Manchin might be a Democrat, but he’s at least smart enough to know that, so a move further to the middle seems a reasonable response.
AOC is well-versed in the politics of the Bronx, but voters in her district don’t have a lot in common with voters in West Virginia — or in Missouri.
You’d kind of like for someone to set the New Yorker straight, but when Democrats are fighting, it’s best to not intervene.
No ifs, ands or “butts” about it, Manchin knows his constituents better than Ocasio-Cortez does, and they overwhelmingly don’t think socialism is cool.
Likely concerned about re-election, the West Virginia Democrat seems to be pivoting to the middle in a move that could prove costly for Senate Democrats, who will have a tough time enacting radical policies without his vote.
And what’s bad for Democrats generally tends to be good for America.
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