-by Eric Zuesse
Maybe West Virginia U.S. Senator Joe Mansion misspells “Manchin” so as to hide his reality, but according to Wikipedia’s article on him, “The name ‘Manchin’ was derived from the Italian name ‘Mancini’.” Though that information might have been provided by himself, it’s an odd way for anyone to spell “Mancini.” (Why not “Mancin,” then? If the goal was to sound nondescript, wouldn’t that have been better? But maybe instead the objective was to live in a mansion.) Wikipedia says that his father was Italian-American, and his mother was Czech-American, but that the Senator “is a member of the Friends of Wales Caucus,” which Wikipedia says “is a congressional caucus consisting of Welsh and Welsh heritage congresspeople,” and it mentions only two U.S. Senators who are members of that caucus: Mansion, and Montana’s John Boozman. Perhaps the senior West Virginia U.S. Senator will have yet another mansion built in Wales. However, “Manchin” isn’t one of the common Welch surnames. Nor is “Mansion.” (Nor is “Mancini.”) (Nor is Boozman, for that matter.)
Anyway, Senator Mansion said on September 30th that in the present crisis with covid-19 and rising crime, etc., he’ll “support a $1.5 trillion social safety net bill, $2 trillion less than Biden’s sweeping plan.” Consequently, the Senate’s leading progressive, Bernie Sanders of Vermont, responded on October 3rd to Senator Mansion’s demand, and ABC News headlined, “Bernie Sanders says spending bill’s $3.5 trillion price tag likely to be lowered: But $2 trillion is ‘not enough’ for the social policy package, he added.” Addressing Mansion’s demand (which Senator Mansion had now grudgingly allowed to be a $2T maximum), Sanders said, “If Manchin wants to pay for it, I’m there, let's do it, and by the way, you could pay for it at $3.5 trillion, you can pay for it at $6 trillion. … We have massive income and wealth inequality in this country.” He stated: “Three and a half trillion should be a minimum, but I accept that there’s gonna have to be a give and take,” and “This really is a test on whether democracy can work.” He explained: “We’re not just taking on or dealing with Sen. Manchin and Sen. Sinema, we’re taking on the entire ruling class of the country. Right now the drug companies, the health insurance companies, the fossil fuel industry are spending hundreds and hundreds of billions of dollars to prevent us from doing what the American people want.”
Mansion’s top investors (donors) come from the fields of “Securities & Investment” or Wall Street and private equity, etc., the main field that America’s billionaires dominate. Second from the top are “Lawyers/Law Firms,” which includes lobbyists for virtually all Fortune 500 corporations. He is one of the U.S. Senate’s most valuable properties, because, as a Democrat he can (unlike any Republican politician) fool voters to think that he cares about the poor people who live in his state and not only about his investors; and, this way, he has become, along with his virtual political twin, Senator Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, the ‘moderate’ Democrat who, more than any other Democrat except perhaps their mutual enemy Sanders, who heads the Senate Budget Committee, one of the three most powerful Democrats in the U.S. Senate. The most powerful Republican in the U.S. Senate is Kentucky’s Mitch McConnell, who is the Senate’s Minority Leader; and he and Senators Manchin and Sinema are owned by basically the same group of people, when any really important legislation comes up for consideration in Congress. Therefore, these three effectively work together in order to make sure that the billionaires and centi-millionaires, and not the American public, will be the main beneficiaries of any major legislation that finally passes in Congress.
By far the top owners (investors, donors) who control Senator McConnell are “Retired.” In his case, those are mainly very wealthy individuals who are retired from Fortune 500 firms and from their lobbyists. So, those are the people whom he represents. Those people are very similar to the groups that own Senators Mansion and Sinema, but are older. (Class is a bigger determinant than age is.)
As regards Senator Sinema, the profile of her top owners is (with numbers 1, 2, and 3, respectively): “Retired,” “Securities & Investment,” and “Lawyers/Law Firms.” So, that’s like the profile of Mansion’s owners, except that it has more people who are “Retired.”
As regards Senator Sanders, 53.7% of his funds raised come from “Small Individual Contributors (< $200),” but 40.7% is “Large Contributions”; and the top fields accounting for his donations are: 1. “Education.” 2. “Retired.” 3. “Civil Servants/Public Officials.” 4. “Electronic Mfg. & Equip.” And 5. is: “Health Professionals.” Very few if any donors to his campaigns think that they are buying him. Virtually all who donate to his campaigns care about the American public, not about any “special interest,” such as the corporations that they own or are retired from.
So: clearly, the war between Senator Sanders versus those others is a basic ideological conflict, which is, as Sanders claims it to be, a war between, on the one side, the American people, versus, on the other side, “the entire ruling class of the country.” That is the reality-- no mere claim by him. Sanders did not lie. (And, of course, he won’t buy Mansion’s mansion, nor anything like it. They are far more enemies than colleagues.)