Pressure: This Red State Democrat's Re-Election Is All But Assured If He Votes For Trump's SCOTUS Nominee

Posted: Jul 19, 2018 2:10 PM
Pressure: This Red State Democrat's Re-Election Is All But Assured If He Votes For Trump's SCOTUS Nominee

The pressure placed on red state Democrats is going to be brutal. With a timeline to confirm Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court set at 70 days, this group of Senate Democrats will have to navigate through constituents, the news media, and their own colleagues during that timeframe, while also trying to raise money and campaign. More than a few are in the fight for their political lives. In West Virginia, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) could seal the deal if he voted for Kavanaugh. Based on a poll by Trafalgar Group has Manchin with a healthy 10-point lead over Republican Joe Morrissey, but that drops to a near dead heat if he votes against Kavanaugh 46/45. Yet, in the scenario where Manchin votes for Kavanaugh, he slaughters Morrissey 58/30 (via Trafalgar):

49.9% Joe Manchin (D)

39.5% Patrick Morrisey (R)

2.3%   Rusty Hollen (L)

8.3%    Undecided


If Joe Manchin votes for Kavanaugh:

58.7% Joe Manchin (D)

30.1% Patrick Morrisey (R)

2.2%   Rusty Hollen (L)

8.1%   Undecided

If Joe Manchin votes against Kavanaugh:

46.5% Joe Manchin (D)

44.6% Patrick Morrisey (R)

2.3%   Rusty Hollen (L)

6.7%   Undecided


Robert Cahaly, Senior Strategist and Pollster at The Trafalgar Group, said,”This survey demonstrates that support for the President and his agenda is by no means inextricably linked to support for the Republican party as a whole. Some have mistaken the 2016 Trump margin in WV as a more of a rejection of the Democratic party and less of a rejection of a specific Democratic nominee (Hillary Clinton), who, more than coincidentally, declared war on coal.”

Cahaly continued, “West Virginians, in my experience, base their voting choices less on partisanship and issues, but instead gravitate toward leaders with large personalities who speak in terms of what they will do for the people.  In this way, loyal support of Trump and Manchin are not dissimilar to the previous support enjoyed by Byrd and Rockefeller.

Cahaly also stated, “Manchin’s support for Gorsuch and more cordial relationship with President Trump than most Senate democrats have served him well. Roughly 30% of all those who “approve” or “strongly approve” of Trump also support Manchin. At the same time, Manchin is supported by over 85% of those of those who “disapprove” and ‘strongly disapprove” of Trump. A vote in favor of Kavanaugh would likely solidify those numbers among Trump supporters, leaving those who oppose the pick no where to go and making Manchin a lock for reelection.”

The poll was taken from 1,158 likely 2018 voters in West Virginia. Manchin has so far staved off attempts from his more liberal colleagues to vote against the nomination, telling Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer(D-NY) to ‘kiss his you know what’ on Judge Kavanaugh. It’s very possible that Manchin votes for Trump’s nominee. He told MetroNews’ Hoppy Kercheval that Kavanaugh had “all the right qualities.”

HOPPY KERCHEVAL: “Do you have a lean today?” 

JOE MANCHIN: “Pardon me?” 

KERCHEVAL: “Do you have a lean today?” 

MANCHIN: “No I don’t have a lean. I think he seems to be a very fine person of high moral standards. A family person who’s very involved in his community. Has all the right qualities. He’s well-educated. And with that, you know, we have to just look at making sure that the rule of law and the Constitution is going to be followed, and that’s going to basically preempt anything else he does. Most importantly, Hop, I intend to hear from West Virginians. And during that period of time, I just announced, I’ll be hearing from West Virginians and their opinion. And I think they have, also, a right. And that’s who I work for. They’re my boss. And we want to hear from them, too, during this process.”

Well, 59 percent of West Virginians want Kavanaugh confirmed. Manchin’s lead has mostly hovered around eight to ten points—and it’s stayed there. In May, Global Strategy Group had Manchin up eight points over Morrissey. So, by all means, Manchin was in solid shape win re-election, until Justice Anthony Kennedy gave his ‘I’m out’ notice to the Trump White House. Kennedy will officially retire from the Court by the end of July. Manchin is not a person who likes to ingratiate and entrench himself with one group. Despite being in solid position for re-election, it’s not the most important thing to him. He’d happily pack up and go home if voters gave him the boot. If he votes for Kavanaugh and boosts his vote share to 58 percent, why would he need the Democrats’ money or grassroots support? Why would he care if some progressive group from the bowels of Hillary’s America, coastal, snobby, urban-based, and abjectly insufferable, run ads against him. Barring some major scandal, he would probably win big if he votes ‘aye’ on Kavanaugh. If he votes ‘no,’ it’s a right race—and one in which his more liberal colleagues won’t give him any credit for in resisting the Trump White House. They don’t care. So, one could see his position as one of isolation from the national party, though he does look like he’s in a position to make deals, vote for the right thing without any drama attached, and be truly independent. There’s something enviable about Manchin, if you’re a Democrat, but this vote on SCOTUS does appear the one that decides whether he’ll remain in public life or not.