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The Tragedy of Joe Manchin in Three Acts

Jamie Stiehm on

WASHINGTON -- Sen. Joe Manchin gives new meaning to the old saying, "One man, one vote."

The West Virginia Democrat is in the center of three major bills his president and party desperately need to pass for a big story to tell voters in 2022. Or any story at all.

Tall, dark and outgoing, Manchin has displaced Majority Leader Chuck Schumer as the Democratic big man on campus. Where he walks, reporters follow. He loves that.

Never have the stakes been so high for so many, in the hands of so few: Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., the few who fail to come to the aid of their party.

I'm talking about American democracy and the planet in peril, running out of time.

Here's the shared vision for President Joe Biden's maiden voyage with Congress: restoring voting rights, shapeshifting climate legislation and redefining infrastructure to help women, children and seniors.

 

All are at serious risk. One may be dead by today (Wednesday).

This was seen as a new New Deal, a fountain after the Trump presidency's vale of tears. But here's the thing.

Democrats need each and every one of their 50 senators if they are going to prevail on any front. By vocally standing apart from his caucus since summer, the centrist Manchin plays a starring part, outsized compared to West Virginia's place in the country.

That's the Senate for you.

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