Congress may be ripe for a bold political maneuver, if radicals in the Senate get too frisky in the weeks to come. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia) has an extraordinary opportunity to pursue a run for the presidency. As part of this process, he is also in a position to alter the power of Democrats in the Upper House.
Manchin has been acting like a centrist and a peacemaker between warring factions for many months. He has even voted with Republicans in certain important issues such as the first Trump impeachment.
In a veiled threat during a TV interview, Manchin indicated that he would vote against the elimination of the filibuster should Democrats decide to change the rules of the Senate.
Enacting laws can be impeded by a filibuster. To end a filibuster, the party supporting legislation, must find 60 votes to end debate. As you know, the Senate is split 50/50 so Democrats have a deciding vote via Kamala Harris.
The only way Democrats can dominate new legislation in the Senate is if they can eliminate the supermajority requirement to end filibusters for laws. Note: confirmation of judges and Supreme Court justices occurs with a simple majority. The rules were changed in recent years.
Manchin believes that the filibuster is an important aspect of the lawmaking process. It protects the minority party and the Americas from frivolous lawmaking. But suppose Democrats moved to change the filibuster rule? And suppose Democrats work to defund the police, enact an unwise and expensive Obamacare law, move forward in an effort to impeach and indict Trump, while diverting attention from curing Covid?
These are all pet issues for Manchin. This could possibly give him pause to continue to be a Democrat. Maybe he should consider negotiating a deal with Sen. McConnell to jump over the fence and become a Republican. What would the terms be for such a bold political gambit?
Perhaps Manchin would vote with Republicans if he was given choice committee leadership positions in the new Republican majority. With this power he could prove to Americans that he should be considered for higher office. Like, maybe a run for the president in 2024 as a Republican.
I’m sure you’re scratching your head upon hearing this suggestion. But if you really want a centrist to be your president, a man with moderate perspectives, Manchin may be the right choice for you. I guess it will depend upon how persuasive Manchin would be with McConnell and other powerful Republicans.
If Manchin became a Republican, Republicans would have 51 seats in the Senate, and Democrats would have 49.