West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin has loudly complaining about how much he "sucks" serving in the structurally broken chamber. For the past few months, Manchin-who just started a new six-year term in January-had an escape plan to mull over: challenging West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice-who won the governor's mansion in 2016 as a Democrat before switching to the GOP the following year-for the governorship in 2020. Manchin served as governor prior to his Senate election in 2010, and he has called it "the best job in the world. "
On Tuesday morning, though, Manchin announced that he had decided against life-affirming professional satisfaction, and he would stay in the Senate. "[W] I could not focus just on which job I enjoyed the most, but on where I could be most effective for the Mountain State," he said in a statement. "Ultimately, I believe my role as U.S.. Senator allows me to position our state for success for the rest of this century. "
Joe Manchin was one of the most powerful person in it.
How it would be for the rest of the party. With a narrow Republican majority in the Senate, Manchin, the most conservative Senate Democrat, has been a necessary nuisance for his party caucus, someone who has constantly been struggling with the democrats to persuade a few Republicans to defect their way on one issue or another. But if Democrats win the White House in 2020 while scratching out 50 Senate seats, the senior senator from West Virginia wants to hold a determinative vote, paired with a powerful committee chairmanship-putting him in a position to ensure all the legislative roads run through the party's rightward margin.
In light of this, it's a little silly that the presidential primary campaign spends so much time weighing the merits of Kamala Harris 'health care plan versus Bernie Sanders, or Sanders' approach to climate change versus Joe Biden's. A much more efficient approach to gaming out hypothetical Democratic legislation in 2021 would be to ask.
On climate change, especially, Manchin's sway would go far beyond his individual vote. He currently serves as a ranking member on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, which has partial jurisdiction over climate change policy. He would be in line to serve as chairman Democrats win a majority. Manchin is not a climate change denier, but he is the guy who shot a copy-and-trade case during his initial Senate run in 2010. In his statement declining to run for governor, Manchin said that he would "push the Senate to adopt and pass energy technology that invest in all-of-the-above energy that will keep our country as the world economic leader" and that he seeks to "build an energy base that." The Democrats in Washington could either take or leave.
Democrats were justifiably thankful Tuesday morning that Manchin chose to stay. Manchin run for governor and won (19459032) between Manchin, Justice and an ocean of lawyers. A Democratic Senate vote from West Virginia is better than no Democratic Senate vote from West Virginia. But should Democrats unify control of Congress and the White House in 2020, the leverage that convinces Manchin to stay will be the source of apoplexy to those Democrats sighing relief today.