There’s no use in trying to shame Manchin — he has none

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and his staff return from the Capitol Rotunda on Thursday, December 9, 2021 to pay their respects to the late Sen. Bob Dole (R-Kan.) lying in state in the Capitol Rotunda.
Greg Nash

Democrats shouldn’t waste their time trying to shame Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.).

I get the frustration but just stating the obvious; he doesn’t care what you think.

He also, in my opinion, despite his repeated comments that his opposition to the Build Back Better Act is rooted in the concern about passing debt down to his grandchildren, really doesn’t care about what kind of country they grow up in. If he did, he might consider the consequences to them and the rest of America of another Trump presidency. We don’t have to imagine what that would look like. We lived through Jan. 6.

The best way to deal with Manchin is to make him irrelevant. You do that by electing more Democrats to the U.S. Senate and increasing the majority, thereby making Manchin’s vote less critical.  

This isn’t politics as usual. We are at perhaps the most perilous time in our nation’s history.

 A recent report by International IDEA labeled the U.S. a “backsliding democracy.” Let that sink in for a moment. The study notes Congress’ inability to legislate effectively, combined with the rise in authoritarianism worldwide and former President Donald Trump’s success at getting many of his followers to believe the “Big Lie” that the 2020 election was stolen.

This is why it’s so important for Democrats to prove to an increasingly cynical country that democracy does work, and our form of government can address the needs of people.

That’s what Manchin doesn’t get. There’s more at stake and greater responsibility at hand. I’m all for fiscal responsibility. But, I’m also for preserving and protecting the nation.

We know time is running out when, according to a Monmouth University Poll, almost half of Republicans say the Jan. 6 insurrection, where Capitol Police were beaten with the American flag, was a “legitimate protest.”

If Americans no longer believe in shared sets of facts and that our elections are fair, if an alarming number of people eschew science because not taking a lifesaving vaccine has somehow become a badge of honor, if too many of us have lost faith that our form of government can address crises — whether political, economic, caused by a pandemic or climate change — then we open the door to the kind of authoritarian dictator who can convince a gullible population their problems are caused by neighbors who pledge allegiance to the same flag but look different, speak differently, love differently or just belong to another political party.

We’ve witnessed the world go down this road before.

If Manchin doesn’t get that, then those of us who do need to make sure his vote in the U.S. Senate isn’t the deciding vote on the nation’s future. 

To do that, we need to work harder to elect leaders who will address the needs of those who couldn’t care less about the Republican Party or the Democratic Party. Instead, those citizens are concerned about their checkbook, their children’s educations and their futures. They long for leaders who will actually do something and they’re losing faith that there are any left. 

I’m not giving up because my wife and I have two beautiful children, and we want them to have a future in a country where words like liberty and freedom haven’t been perverted into punchlines by those who have no clue what they really mean. 

I believe there are leaders out there who understand exactly what’s at stake.  But, we need to get more of them elected because, as I said, time is running out.

Alan Cohn is a senior advisor at GSR Public Affairs and Omni Public. He is a former Peabody Award-winning journalist and was the 2020 Democratic nominee for Congress in Florida’s 15th Congressional District.

Tags Build Back Better Act Democracy Democrats United States) Donald Trump Joe Manchin Joe Manchin

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