It's Too Late To Contribute To Paula Jean Now, But...
The last time he faced the voters, November 2018, Joe Manchin has a rough time and was reelected by the skin of his teeth, and without a majority. Many Democratic voters held their noses and decided he was the lesser of two evils. Manchin beat the state’s Attorney General, Patrick Morrisey, who had been endorsed by Trump, 290,510 (49.6%) to 271,113 (46.3%). 6 months earlier, Manchin had faced progressive primary challenger Paula Jean Swearengin, who he dispatched with alacrity, 112,658 (69.86%) to 48,594 (30.14%).
In her endorsement of Manchin— and request that her campaign contributors also give to his campaign— Elizabeth Warren wrote that “Last year, when the fate of health care for millions of Americans hung in the balance, Joe stepped up to the plate and voted to protect the Affordable Care Act. And he stood strong when Republicans jammed their tax scam through Congress. We may not agree on everything, but Joe fights from the heart for the working people he represents.” He was also endorsed by the AFL-CIO, the American Federation of Teachers, the United Mine Workers and the United Automobile Workers… and the virulently anti-Choice Democrats for Life.
In the primary, Swearengin managed to raise $210,047. By the time he managed to win reelection, Manchin raided $9,375,411 to Morrisey’s $5,633,541. On top of that, Schumer’s Senate Majority PAC spent $12.7 million attacking Morrisey and bolstering Manchin— adding to $2.5 million from the Blue Dog Majority Forward PAC and the $2.3 spent by the DSCC.
Money well spent? Not everyone would agree. Along with corrupt Arizona sociopath Kyrsten Sinema, Manchin has wrecked the Democratic Party’s agenda— and thereby, the party’s chances to retain congressional power after the midterms (and its brand). Yesterday he even tanked his own Build Back Manchin! Or, at least, shrunk it again. Who could imagine a bribe-taking coal magnate putting the kibosh on Climate Change provisions and a tiny tax increase on the very wealthy?
Emily Cochrane yesterday: “Call it the incredible shrinking domestic policy initiative… What was once a transformational cradle-to-grave social safety net plan that some liberals said they envisioned would spend as much as $6 trillion— with free preschool, affordable child care, national paid leave and major new programs to curb climate change— is now emerging as a far smaller proposal with none of those components. The package was dealt yet another blow on Thursday when Senator Joe Manchin, Democrat of West Virginia, told Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York and the majority leader, that he was unwilling to support legislation that went beyond a plan to lower the cost of prescription drugs and extend [for 2 years only] Affordable Care Act subsidies.”
Politico reported this morning that, through a spokesman, Manchin said that he “has little concern for how his rejection might affect his party’s overall political prospects, should Democrats ultimately fail to accept the narrow terms he’s outlined.” Responding, California Rep Jared Huffman whined that “It’s important that every young person, every activist, the majorities of this country who are demanding climate action understand very clearly this is not the Democrats. This is one man named Joe Manchin. When it comes to the most important existential issue of our time, this man is a wrecking ball.” I went back through my Blue America records to see how much Huffman had contributed to Paula Jean Swearengin’s 2018 campaign against Manchin, when DWT was warning continually that this would happen. Huffman contributed exactly nothing. Instead of whining, Huffman can contribute to climate activist Sergio’s Alcubilla’s campaign to replace Ed Case, who is commonly referred to as the Joe Manchin of the House. Rep. Huffman, just click here please.
The NY Times didn’t endorse Swearengin’s campaign in 2018 but this morning it reported that “First, he killed a plan that would have forced power plants to clean up their climate-warming pollution. Then, he shattered an effort to help consumers pay for electric vehicles. And, finally, he said he could not support government incentives for solar and wind companies or any of the other provisions that the rest of his party and his president say are vital to ensure a livable planet. Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, who took more campaign cash from the oil and gas industry than any other senator, and who became a millionaire from his family coal business, independently blew up the Democratic Party’s legislative plans to fight climate change. The swing Democratic vote in an evenly divided Senate, Manchin led his party through months of tortured negotiations that collapsed on Thursday night, a yearlong wild goose chase that produced nothing as the Earth warms to dangerous levels.”
Neoliberal lobbyist John Podesta, who certainly never spent a nano-second considering backing Paula Jean’s campaign, said “It seems odd that Manchin would chose as his legacy to be the one man who single-handedly doomed humanity.” Hey John, contribute a couple grand to Lucas Kunce’s Senate campaign and Manchin won’t matter any more.
Privately, Senate Democratic staff members seethed and sobbed on Thursday night, after more than a year of working nights and weekends to scale back, water down, trim and tailor the climate legislation to Mr. Manchin’s exact specifications, only to have it rejected inches from the finish line.
“Rage keeps me from tears,” Senator Edward Markey, Democrat of Massachusetts and a longtime advocate for climate legislation, wrote on Twitter late Thursday.
Manchin’s refusal to support the climate legislation, along with steadfast Republican opposition, effectively dooms the chances that Congress will pass any new law to tackle global warming for the foreseeable future— at a moment when scientists say the planet is nearly out of time to prevent average global temperatures from rising 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels.
That is the threshold beyond which the likelihood of catastrophic droughts, floods, fires and heat waves increases significantly. The planet has already warmed an average of about 1.1 degrees Celsius.
A poll conducted in early May by the Pew Research Center found a majority of Americans, 58 percent, think the federal government is doing too little to reduce the effects of global warming while 22 percent said it is doing the right amount and 18 percent said it is doing too much. In the same survey, 71 percent said their community had been hit by extreme weather in the past year and a majority linked it to climate change.
President Biden has pledged to the rest of the world that the United States, the country that has historically pumped the most greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, would cut its emissions in half by 2030. Without legislation, it will be impossible to meet Biden’s climate goals.
…Over the past weeks, Democrats thought they were finally nearing an agreement on the climate package with Manchin. But he still had demands: He wanted to eliminate billions of dollars in electric vehicle tax credits. He wanted to rework the clean energy tax package that he had fashioned with Wyden, gutting a plan to give developers of clean energy direct payments upfront instead of tax credits they could recoup after their investment.
Schumer conceded to every request and more, staffers said. Up until Thursday evening, the majority leader thought a deal was possible, according to climate activists who spoke with Schumer later that night.
The White House made concessions to Manchin, as well.
This month, the Interior Department offered the possibility of 11 new offshore oil and gas lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska— despite Biden’s campaign promise to end new drilling in federal waters— which two administration officials described as an effort to appease Manchin. The White House also was weighing whether to allow a path for other fossil fuel projects, like a gas pipeline in West Virginia, in order to gain Manchin’s vote.
The administration delayed federal rules to address methane, mercury and other pollutants from oil and gas facilities so as not to anger Manchin during delicate negotiations, according to several administration officials. That’s two years lost time in a regulatory process that can be lengthy.
Activists said they felt suckered.
“He has pretended to be a fair arbiter,” Jamal Raad, executive director of the climate advocacy group Evergreen Action, said of Manchin. “He talked about his grandchildren. It turns out that’s all bullshit. He cares about profits for his coal company and his own political future over the future of our planet.”
Maybe the Biden administration should consider a new strategy for dealing with Manchin— instead of concessions that don’t work, how about giving the incredibly shrinking West Virginia back to Virginia… if they would take it?