Joe Manchin’s growing peril
Joe Manchin is facing his toughest election in decades, and he’s really not taking it well. With Manchin facing an ethics complaint, fierce opposition from the Trump-Pence administration and a Democratic Party in Washington seemingly hellbent on making it impossible for their red state incumbents to win reelection, National Journal took a look at what’s shaping up to be one of the top Senate races in 2018.
“Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, one of the most battle-tested politicians in Washington, is starting to look like one of those panicked incumbents as his battle for a second term draws closer. Running in the most Trump-friendly state in the country, he’s beginning to behave in ways that suggest he’s a lot more vulnerable than the public polls suggest.”
“Caught between the demands of Democratic leadership to stick with the party on big votes and the culturally conservative nature of his constituents, he’s in an increasingly awkward position. Republicans gleefully circulated footage of him unsure of when to stand and applaud President Trump’s State of the Union address. Another popular anti-Manchin meme shows a split photo of the senator showcasing his support for Planned Parenthood at one event, while posing with antiabortion activists at another—both from 2017.”
“Already, the White House is telegraphing an aggressive campaign designed to puncture Manchin’s well-crafted image as a bipartisan operator. Pence campaigned in West Virginia last month and sharply criticized the senator for voting against the administration’s tax legislation. The vice president’s official Twitter handle contained snippets of his attacks against Manchin, with the tagline #JoeVotedNo. A subsequent Politico story details how Pence felt blindsided by Manchin’s opposition to tax reform despite earlier pledges to work with the White House on the issue.”
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