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Journalists' Lobbying Fails: Manchin Digs in on Protecting Filibuster

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

As Landon noted yesterday, Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia officially slammed the door on his party's egregious elections takeover bill, commonly known as H.R. 1. This is excellent news for the country, as the legislation represented a dreadful dog's breakfast of proposals that would consolidate far too much power in Washington, force taxpayers to fund the campaigns of politicians they oppose, reduce and eliminate state-level voter integrity efforts, and make permanent a number of questionable "emergency" balloting provisions, among many flaws. For all the attention paid to the filibuster – which we'll address further in a moment – it's now clear that Senate Democrats lack even a simple majority in support of their partisan push. In an op/ed, Manchin explained why he's a hard no: 

Democrats in Congress have proposed a sweeping election reform bill called the For the People Act. This more than 800-page bill has garnered zero Republican and election reform that is done in a partisan manner will all but ensure partisan divisions continue to deepen. With that in mind, some Democrats have again proposed eliminating the Senate filibuster rule in order to pass the For the People Act with only Democratic support. They’ve attempted to demonize the filibuster and conveniently ignore how it has been critical to protecting the rights of Democrats in the past. As a reminder, just four short years ago, in 2017 when Republicans held control of the White House and Congress, President Donald Trump was publicly urging Senate Republicans to eliminate the filibuster. Then, it was Senate Democrats who were proudly defending the filibuster. Thirty-three Senate Democrats penned a letter to Sens. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. and Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., warning of the perils of eliminating the filibuster...I believe that partisan voting legislation will destroy the already weakening binds of our democracy, and for that reason, I will vote against the For the People Act. Furthermore, I will not vote to weaken or eliminate the filibuster. For as long as I have the privilege of being your U.S. senator, I will fight to represent the people of West Virginia, to seek bipartisan compromise no matter how difficult and to develop the political bonds that end divisions and help unite the country we love.

As Allahpundit points out, Manchin is also ruling out moving the bar for any other version of "election reform" legislation. We've mentioned that 2017 letter on multiple occasions to illustrate Democrats' breathtaking hypocrisy and shamelessness on the issue of the filibuster. Manchin is right

Manchin is one of the few who's been consistent on this, and that consistency is dashing his party's designs on a brazen power grab. H.R. 1 is dead. And so, it would seem, are any radical bills that would require the elimination of the filibuster for party-line passage. Democrats have a handful of "reconciliation" opportunities available to them (though a more limited number than they'd hoped) through which they could pass certain budget-related measures. But many of their extreme and ambitious agenda items do not qualify as eligible. "Journalist" activists and their leftist brethren who have been relentlessly lobbying Manchin and Krysten Sinema to reverse their positions on the filibuster in order to facilitate the passage of "progressive" priorities are taking this development hard

That is an absolutely preposterous framing of H.R. 1, which could have been churned out by a left-wing agitation group. It's certainly not journalism. The reality here is that Manchin has been telegraphing this outcome for quite some time, and these observations are correct: 

Manchin is helping his own brand back home by sticking to his guns, but he's also doing a solid on behalf of other Democrats who are actually uncomfortable with the bill, but do not feel free to make their concerns public, fearing a furious backlash from the base. The backlash will now be aimed squarely at one or two Senators who actually benefit from it. I'll leave you with this, which may emerge as an interesting dynamic in a key Senate contest that could be very competitive next year: 

Will Sununu run? His approval rating as governor is 72 percent among New Hampshire voters. 

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